Little did Brad Ullman realize that picking up range balls and cleaning golf balls at the age of 11 would serve as a prelude to his current position with the West Virginia Golf Association.
Last week, Ullman became the successor to Ken Tackett as the WVGA's executive director. Ullman, who graduated from Williamstown High School in 2002, is considered one of the youngest to hold that title in the United States.
"It's a very important move professionally," Ullman said. "It's something I've always wanted to do. Ken had kept me involved in day-to-day operations and helped with the transition. It's a position I know I can handle."
Golf is Ullman's career. Although, at one time that wasn't necessarily the case. As a youth, he enjoyed playing basketball and baseball. Golf was just another avenue.
Yet, one individual in particular made an everlasting impact on Ullman. And that person was Larry Martin, who was a PGA professional and founder of the Top Flite Junior Tour.
"Because of Larry, I learned to have a strong work ethic and how to treat people," Ullman said. "I learned how to surround yourself with good people. He is the one who taught me about this business and gave me an opportunity at such a young age to meet people in the golf industry."
In conjunction with his graduation from Fairmont State University, Ullman started his career with the WVGA with a P.J. Boatwright Internship before becoming a full-time employee the following year.
"I didn't plan on golf becoming my career," Ullman said.
Ullman always had a fascination with the rules of golf and competition. That didn't change when he became the Director of Operations. Nor does it diminish now that he has taken on a more prominent role.
"We kind of knew this day was coming," Ullman said. "When it was officially announced that Ken was leaving, I thought it was an exciting opportunity for him and how neat it would be to work at the highest level in the world in terms of the rules of golf."
Ullman's interest as Tackett's replacement needed approval from his family - from both his wife, Shelley, and his stepson, Anthony.
"This new job requires 100-plus nights on the road, and obviously there is a lot of travel," Ullman said. "It takes a special woman to put up with that and I'm lucky enough to have one."
With Tackett immersed as a tournament official for the PGA Tour, Ullman must fill several staff vacancies. Currently, his staff consists of four individuals. Ullman said eight is the target number.
"The first order of business is to make sure we're comfortable as a staff - that we're a team," Ullman said. "During the interview process, I discussed how we can't remain the same and stay at status quo as a golf association. We need to promote member clubs and the different opportunities for men, women, seniors and children have to participate."
Contact Kerry Patrick at email@example.com