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Whitehall golfer Brady Tate strives to be great, following strong role models

Vikings’ No. 1 player is surrounded by supportive family members, including dad who happens to coach rival Montague.

WHITEHALL – When asked with whom he would like to golf a twosome or foursome, be it any historical figures, athletes, or famous people, Brady Tate’s choice was pretty easy.

“Twosome. Arnold Palmer,” said the Whitehall High School junior, 17-year-old son of Brad and Susan Tate. “Not only do I think it would be cool to play with him for his golf accomplishments, but I’m hoping he could teach me his Half & Half recipe.”

Good thing for Tate, two great role models in his family also love the game of golf and have shared that passion with him.

Tate started playing golf when he first could walk and was given a set of Little Tikes plastic clubs, which he would set up in his grandmother’s house going down hallways. It progressed to going with father to putt on the course. As Brady Tate grew, so did his love of the game.

Tate has been golfing for at least a dozen years, much of that time spent on the course with his dad and grandfather, Jim Tate.

“They have always been there for me when I have needed it, running up a putting competition for a Wesco slushie and making the game fun every time I go out,” Brady Tate said. “There is always something new to learn and when there’s warmer weather, you can go out with a group of friends and just have a good time.”

In this file photo, Montague boys golf coach Brad Tate, left, and son Brady Tate, then a Whitehall sophomore, pose for a portrait at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association boys golf tournament Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at Lincoln Golf Club in Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Make no mistake, Tate is serious on the golf course. He’s very serious about his studies, carrying a 4.067 GPA, but he’s also the No. 1 golfer on Whitehall’s varsity team.

This season, Tate is averaging 41.5 in nine-hole rounds and 82 in 18-hole events. Among his season highlights, he’s earned medalist honors in the Montague Invite at Old Channel Trail with a 74, he tied for second place in the Ludington Invitational at Lincoln Hills Golf Club with a 78, and he shot 76 to tie for sixth in the Reeths-Puffer Rocket Invite at Lincoln Golf Club.

“Brady has a very high work ethic. He puts in the time in the offseason and while in-season,” Whitehall coach Bill Borgman said.

“Brady’s upside is endless. He can take this game as far as he would like – college golfer is definitely a possibility.”

Brad Tate was an accomplished golfer at Montague High School and for Alma College.

To this day, he’s one of the more modest people you’ll meet, but he can still play at a high level. Brady Tate conceded, he still has never beaten his dad in golf, although he got him in a putting competition for an Arnold Palmer drink last summer.

“He is pretty good for someone who doesn’t play golf all winter,” Brady Tate said. “Recently we took a trip to Kentucky on a golf trip and without picking up a club for four months (he) shot somewhere around (1-over) and even on a course he has never played. Even though he doesn’t like to gloat that much, I would say he still has it.”

Father and son are seeing each other on the golf course quite a bit these days, but there is a plot twist: Brad wears blue-and-white as Montague’s boys golf coach and Brady dons red-and-white for Whitehall.

School rivalry aside, Brady said he finds a sense of comfort with his dad’s presence at West Michigan Conference Lakes Division jamborees and other events where father and son are both present. Brady knows that win or lose, his father will still be there for him.

“Brad and Brady are similar in that they want to play golf very well,” Borgman said. “The way they go about it is different.

“(Brady’s) strength is in his preparation for the tournaments. Weaknesses are the mental side and trying to be too perfect.”

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

In Brady Tate’s opinion, the strength of his game is chipping and area that needs work is bunker play.

Without question, he is a true student of the game. Tate also plays tennis, but golf is his No. 1.

In school, he most enjoys physics class.

“Not many people can say they enjoy the subject, but Mr (Tyson) Jasperse being really into golf finds a way to incorporate it into the lesson and will generally let us sidetrack him into playing highlights,” Tate quipped.

Upon graduation from Whitehall next year, Tate is considering playing college golf and pursuing studies in the medical field.

In addition to his father’s influence, Tate has excellent role models in mother Susan Tate, who is an educator at Whitehall Middle School, and older sister Allison Tate, who is a sophomore at the University of Michigan.

Borgman said that Brady Tate is a leader as well, setting the example for younger golfers on his team and willing to help as needed.

Tate’s season goal is to qualify for the state finals, while his career aspiration is to shoot under par. Whitehall’s boys golf team competes in a Division 2 regional today (May 28) at Cedar Chase in Cedar Springs.

While Arnold Palmer is a great player to model one’s game after, Brady Tate has everyday access to somebody who plays the game at a high level and also teaches him about life: His pops.

“I would say he has played a crucial role because he has put a lot of time in so I can succeed. Even if that means sacrificing his own time,” Brady Tate said. “When I was younger, sure, I would go out occasionally with him but even when I didn’t feel like going he always encouraged me to go and created an environment with my grandpa that made me want to excel in the game of golf.”

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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