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Alameda PGA Club Pro Brad Marek Earns Spot in 2024 PGA Championship

Local PGA of America Golf Professional Brad Marek is headed to the 2024 PGA Championship May 16-19 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Marek, a Berkeley resident, has been teaching at Alameda’s Corica Park for five years. The PGA pro told the Alameda Post how he is preparing for the tournament and how he came to compete on the international stage at the highest level in the sport—again.

Alameda Post - Brad Marek after swinging
Brad Marek hits his shot during the final round of the PGA Professional Championship at PGA Frisco on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Photo by Ryan Lochhead / PGA of America.

Marek got into golf because it seemed like an enjoyable way to hang out with friends outdoors. Quickly, he became hooked on the challenge and precision of the sport.

“I played high-level junior golf in high school, and then I played collegiately at Indiana University, and then played professionally nine years after that before getting into teaching,” he told the Post. Today, he teaches primarily junior golfers, along with some adults, at Corica Park.



“Most of the juniors I work with are trying to play at the next level, trying to play golf in college,” he said. “I went through that whole process myself in high school, so I know what it’s like.” Marek also has his own company, Athlos College Coaching, that helps kids and parents navigate the college golf recruiting process.

Though he’s busy with coaching, Marek gets the chance to play in about a dozen tournaments a year. “I put a lot of time into my game,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in that I’m still able to play at a pretty high level.”

Alameda Post - Brad Marek
Brad Marek. Photo PGA of America.

The golf pro says his relationship with the sport has changed through the years.

“I grew up really loving golf and have loved the game my whole life,” he said. “But I think when you’re doing it full-time, at times it does feel more like a job than anything. And certainly when you’re not playing that great it’s easy to get a little bit down on the game.”

Thankfully, teaching brought him back to what he loves about the sport. “Since I started working in the industry and teaching golf, that love for the game is higher than it was maybe 10-12 years ago,” he said. “It’s a really important part of playing well—you have to be passionate about it. The more you’re into it, it just makes the preparation and practice so much easier, for myself and my students. You really want to be out there. It’s a lot easier to put the time in to be great.”

Marek’s first PGA Championship appearance came in 2021. “I went in with the attitude that I was just gonna do everything that I could to prepare as best I could,” he said. “I think that really helped me in 2021 because the prep I did on short game really showed.” His chipping and putting were very good, which enabled him to make the cut that year and beat some of the best players in the world that week, he noted.

“I ended up getting quite a bit of attention for that week, which has helped me as a teacher, getting a little bit of notoriety,” he continued. “Even though it was pretty far away [in South Carolina], I still had a number of family and friends who came out to support me. It was a week that I’ll never forget.”

Alameda Post - Brad Marek gets ready to swing
Brad Marek reads his next shot during the final round of the PGA Professional Championship at PGA Frisco on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 in Frisco, Texas. Photo by Ryan Lochhead / PGA of America.

Marek is utilizing the same strategy of “over-preparing” for this year’s tournament. He prepared diligently for the qualifier, which ended six days prior to the time of this interview. “It’s a really quick turnaround from that event to the actual PGA championship,” he said. “So that prep will definitely be beneficial. Also, I’m going to get to Valhalla a week early, so I’ll get in a week’s worth of practice rounds and prepping out there.”

Marek will be playing alongside such players as Masters Champion Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, and Rory McIlroy, to name a few. He says he’s looking forward to getting a front-row seat to witnessing how the top players prepare and play. “As a teacher, I feel like I’m able to learn a lot by watching those players go about their business and see their practice and preparation for the event,” he said.

Along with playing with the best of the best, Marek is also excited to be cheered on by his support system. “It’s been very cool to see the amount of support I’ve gotten since qualifying,” he said. “There’s gonna be a good amount of people out there supporting me next week so I’m looking forward to that. 2021 had some COVID restrictions so crowds were a little bit smaller. So this should be a very fun, exciting week and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Kelsey Goeres is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Kelsey-Goeres.

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