Bradlee Jones is the latest golf pro to join the stable at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

Bradlee Jones is the latest golf pro to join the stable at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

Jones juggles golf and hockey time

Bradlee Jones expands sporting acumen with PGA pro card.

When he’s not working as a PGA Canada golf pro or officiating Junior B hockey games, Bradlee Jones is taking business courses at Okanagan College.

At age 20, the likeable Vernon-born multi-sport athlete has several options as his busy life moves forward.

A Vernon Christian School 2011 grad, Jones moved from the Vernon Golf & Country Club back shop to the pro shop last summer by earning his pro card.

Jones was eight or nine when he discovered golf at his folks’ summer home on Kootenay Lake in Nelson. He later worked in the Granite Point Club back shop for several summers.

“Some neighbours gave me a golf mat and I started hitting balls into the lake,” said Jones. “I played the par-3 Eagle View course and Balfour (18-hole), and when I was 12, I played at Vernon.”

He started playing hockey as a tyke, moving into baseball, where he was a pitcher/catcher, soccer, lining up as a midfielder or striker, and lacrosse. He got into hockey officiating as a teenager.

“It (refereeing) was a way to make money. I did a few provincials in Pee Wee Tier 2 and Midget Tier 2 and 3. Now I’m lining (linesman) the KIJHL and refereeing Midget Tier 1. You make friends and the road trips with guys like Lyle Hinds, Jeremy Silzer and Evan Macaulay are a lot of fun. I’ve also made friends with golfers Ward Pateman and Mike Langin, who do the WHL and BCHL. I enjoy it; I don’t find it a challenge.”

Jones tunes out the verbal abuse from coaches and fans, while assuring the players he is in charge, and he knows the game.

“I have a pretty good presence for a smaller guy. I think I have good communication with the coaches and players. I would like to go as far I can, but things like school and work get in the way.”

He finished his minor hockey career in Midget House, while his golf game took off a few years before hockey ended.

“I started playing well in tournaments when I was 15. I was 2-under with four (holes) to play at the B.C. Juvenile in Fort Langley and in the second round, I shot a 72 which made me realize I could play well under pressure rather than just playing with friends.”

Jones made the Canada West juniors at 16 with the team defeating Team East in Ryder Cup matches in Stouffville, Ontario. Jones won his singles match.

He competed in the B.C. Amateur and B.C. Junior in his Grade 12 year. He was fifth in the Okanagan Zones, just missing a team berth. He played in several RCG Future Links tournaments and in 2012, finished 46th at the B.C. Amateur at Swan-E-Set in Richmond. He went 77-71 at the Canadian Amateur in Ottawa, just missing the cut.

By shooting 71, he received an exemption for his pro card, meaning he didn’t have to do the player ability test.

The 5-foot-8, 185-pounder is a scratch handicap who, after receiving his pro card, fit a few members for clubs and sold some equipment.

“I’ll keeping taking business and see where it takes me, see what opportunities are out there. I don’t hit the ball far (averages 270 off the tee), but I definitely keep it in play. My short game is for sure my strength, from inside 150 yards.”

Jones, who has also been a member at Spallumcheen and Predator Ridge, says Vernon pro Brooks Jones convinced him to try for his pro card.

“It was more we pushed him to go for it,” laughed Brooks Jones, no relation to Bradlee. “We needed another guy to help out with the juniors so we told him he could make $40, $50 doing the junior program and maybe get a buck an hour raise.”

Brooks says Bradlee has the makeup and talent to be a quality club pro if he desires.

“He’s a good people person and he’s a good player with good knowledge of the game. He’s also a good teacher.”