June 2019,

Brad Read wins award

Brad Read in action for the Black Sticks

Congratulations to New Zealand hockey player Brad Read who has been awarded 2019 Trainee of the Year by the Auckland Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Brad now feels more confident than ever that he made the right decision to discontinue University and take up an apprenticeship in green keeping. He first reviewed his career plans a few years ago when he felt like he was stuck on a treadmill. “The constant grind of uni and training got me thinking about whether there was something I’d enjoy more.”

A chance opportunity to earn some part-time money at the local golf course opened a window into the world of green keeping. Brad quickly discovered he was passionate about it, but took some time considering whether to take on a three and half year apprenticeship, discussing it with his Athlete Life Advisor, Chris Arthur.

“We talked through the pros and cons,” Brad says. “Chris helped me figure out whether it was the right thing for me.”

Aware of societal expectations that he should finish his university degree, Brad says, “I had to make the sacrifice to go against social norms in order to do what I enjoy.” And he never looked back. “I love it. You have to do what’s right for you,” he says, going on to explain the hidden complexities of the job. “We have to know about fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and insecticides, considering how the turf reacts to each. There are diseases to recognize and eradicate.”

Brad is grateful to his boss and hockey club coach for making such a big difference to his life. “Stephen Dowd has been incredibly supportive,” Brad says. “He even put me up at his place when I had hip surgery.”

Former Olympic hockey player Chris Arthur sees a bright future for Brad. “He’s been rehabbing from injury and is in the frame for Tokyo 2020. Having a life that he loves outside of sport will only serve to help his hockey career.” Brad agrees and has his sights set on making the 2020 Olympic team.

Brad playing for the Black Sticks against Australia in 2016.