In golf, Brendan McGrath definitely would be considered a late starter, having not become serious about playing the sport until his senior year in college at age 23.
Now, at 50, the Centreville resident and 1984 Annandale High School graduate will achieve the high-water mark of his career so far when he participates in the KitchenAid Senior PGA championship May 25-28 at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls.
McGrath, the PGA director of instruction at Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston, qualified for the senior major through sectional qualifying in Florida. It will be his first major and senior Champions Tour event. McGrath is one of 34 club professionals in the field.
“It’s pretty awesome,” McGrath said. “I was on cloud nine after qualifying, and that made it a pretty easy but still long drive home afterward. Yes, this is my biggest accomplishment in golf so far. It’s a dream, goal, fantasy, any of those words and an accomplishment all of its own. Qualifying for this tournament is hard to do.”
Now that he’s in the field, McGrath said he won’t play scared and won’t be disappointed no matter his results. He hasn’t changed his routine or practice schedule.
“I’m not going to limit myself,” said McGrath, a Fairfax County resident since 1974.
He said it will help to have friend and fellow golfer John O’Leary as his caddie.
McGrath plays in a lot of various golf tournaments throughout the year, as well as working his job at Hidden Creek.
“I am an all-in golfer now,” he said.
In high school at Annandale, McGrath played one year of football and later was a top tennis player for the Atoms. In college at the University of Mary Washington, he played baseball one season. He didn’t play golf at either school.
As McGrath’s interest in golf expanded, his first golf job was as a PGA apprentice and assistant pro at River Bend Golf & Country Club.
“Essentially, we ran the bag room,” McGrath said.
One job led to another at various Northern Virginia courses, with McGrath turning professional in 1991. He received his PGA membership in 1994, and McGrath has been a teaching pro for seven years while he continues to play.
On the course, he has accomplished a lot. McGrath has won some 44 tournaments; is the course-record holder with a 62 at Fauquier Springs Country Club; was the 2014 Central Chapter Player of the Year; last September he finished third, two shots off the lead, at Virginia Senior Open after being the first-round leader with a 67; has been nominated four times as a Middle Atlantic PGA Teacher of the Year; and in 2011 played in a professional mini-tour Nationwide Tour event in Maryland.