Hey everyone, I am Brayden Robinson, and this is Be Rad Golf Club. I wanted to formally introduce myself and my story so you can get some context on why I started Be Rad Golf Club. I am 28, a full-time employee of a mental health and substance abuse treatment program, and a full-time social work student at Weber State University. I was born and raised in Northern Utah and have always lived here, with a relatively safe and sheltered life.
Growing up, my older brothers, Brock and Brody, called me B-Rad. This is short for B-Raddle because, from their perspective, I cried all the time and always got my way. They are wrong, I was truly picked on and a true victim of their constant bullying (insert sarcastic undertone here). We were raised by a saint, Jana, a single mother that worked her ass off to provide for us while we raised hell and took years off her life and added a few gray hairs for good measure, I imagine. My father was never full-time in my childhood home, but we had the stereotypical, every-other-weekend arrangement where I would stay with him and sometimes during the summer. This is where I was introduced to golf, with plastic clubs in my hand before I could walk.
I spent many hours chasing this little white ball around with my dad, and, in my eyes, training for my future battles with Tiger on the PGA Tour. He taught me some golf/life lessons along the way, like never step in another player's putting line, yell fore when you cold shank a drive, replace your divots and fix your ball marks on the green. I was an awkward, overweight kid and felt like I didn’t fit in with other kids, so golf was a great outlet for me, though I excelled in other sports too. I was insanely competitive and had a vicious temper as a kid, and as most of you know, a bad temper is like oil to golf’s water, they simply don’t mix. But that is the beauty of golf, it took one of my worst character traits and helped me to grow through the struggles. For every thrown club and F-bomb dropped, I learned how to manage that emotion the next time. It taught me to stay calm(er) when facing adversity or struggles. This is a lesson that would serve me well later in life, but quite honestly, I don't think I'll ever master it.
A dark day cut short my learning opportunities, however, when a disagreement between my dad leaving. He traded the weekend visits for the occasional birthday card until those eventually stopped too. I believe I was about 12 when this happened, and it was about a decade before I realized the impact of this. I stopped playing golf for a long time, save for the occasional social round with friends. I became depressed and anxious as a teenager, quickly becoming uncomfortable with life and my place in it. I needed to cope with this, and I found alcohol. The race was on, I finally found something that helped me feel okay like golf had as a kid. It helped me socialize, to find peace in the middle of the storm of life, and for the next decade, give or take, I battled my addictions tooth and nail.
I graduated high school along the way and decided I would become a chef. I had a passion for cooking and decided to forego college in the hopes of chasing after Gordon Ramsay. I showed a knack and quickly built a career for myself, moving up the ranks of every kitchen I entered. I worked hard and dedicated every ounce of my soul to the craft, leaving nothing left for myself or my personal life. See, I am an addict through and through, and it manifested here before the drinking got really bad. It served me well, keeping me out of trouble mostly. Until it didn't. I eventually ended up with many underage drinking tickets and 2 DUI’s.
In 2013, an aunt on my dad’s side of the family tracked my mother down to pass me a message, in a miraculous fashion. Dad was sick and didn’t have long to live. And he wanted to see me. Talk about mind-blowing experiences. My perception of self and my views of the world around me shattered. In a moment, all the pent up rage, all the frustration, flooded to the surface. It was one of the most intense feelings I had ever had, and over the next week or two, I was reintroduced to my Dad, who had left all those years ago, and attempted to grasp at some form of closure. I didn’t get what I expected, the grand sweeping apology, or the full explanation for what happened way back when, when young me was left without a father. But today, I’m so grateful for that experience because it helped me see that he was just another human being, doing his best and making mistakes along the way. Just like me. It taught me forgiveness, for him and myself.
What does this have to do with golf? Hang tight, almost there. After he passed, my drinking spiraled and my story quickly pivots to one of severe alcoholism, depression, suicidal thoughts, and ever-worsening mental, emotional, and physical health. Within a few years, I went from up-and-coming young Sous Chef of a top 100 hotel in the world, to almost broke and homeless due to my drinking. By the grace of God, and the wonderful woman I was dating at the time, my family kicked my door down and dragged me to detox, and started me on the path to recovery. Without my entire family, and my mother and brothers especially, I wouldn't be here today and I'm eternally grateful to them for that. I’ll spare you the gory details, and maybe a story for another time, but I got sober on March 31st, 2018, and never looked back thanks to an incredible 12-step program and the newfound support of a fellowship of recovery I could have never dreamed of.
(For anyone wanting any more details, or looking to find support, email me and I'd love to help. Or call 1-800-662-HELP(4357) or go to samhsa.gov)
Early in my recovery, sports were a great way to distract myself from cravings. The Utah Jazz was my new addiction and that got me through a lot of hard nights along with meetings and new friendships. I changed careers, hanging up my chef’s apron and knives in favor of an office and therapy groups, and I started my life as a social work student. Cue the big, bad, scary monster, COVID-19, and the end of "normal" life as we all knew it.
COVID shook up the world as we knew it and shut down all forms of support that I had built for 2 years of being sober. All structure, all routine, gone overnight. Meetings were stripped away, activities, and groups that I came to depend on were gone, and I have to say I had my struggles staying sober. I was fighting off desires to say f*** it, and go back to drinking. But I was fortunate, and the work I'd done in recovery up to this point prepared me. I was able to stay sober and a huge part of that was golf. My brother Brock and I dove HARD into golf as it was the last activity allowed it seemed like to get out of the house and have some semblance of normalcy. It seems dramatic, it seems hyperbolic, but it’s the truth when I say golf played a part in saving my life this year, by helping to save my sobriety. So Be Rad Golf Club was born as an extension of that feeling, that feeling of relief, that reminder that I can still do this. I’m not here to tell you that golf is the cure to addiction or any other of the world’s ailments, it’s a silly game that is equal parts frustrating and infuriating as it is transcendent and glorious. It will show you the best and worst parts of yourself, often on the same hole. If you ever want to get anywhere in life, you have to find ways to overcome your emotional responses. To think before you act. It taught me what is at the core of Be Rad Golf Club. Presence, mindfulness, awareness: Be Here, Be Now, Be Rad.
Tiger Woods is an idol of mine, whom I revered growing up, and it blows my mind that he’s had a fall and subsequent comeback not unlike mine. No, I haven’t won any Master’s in my comeback (stay posted), and no, I’ve absolutely no clue how he managed to under the scrutiny that he faces. But I love his story because it is mine. He fell and he fell hard, but he took accountability and got back up. He won a freaking major, THE freaking major, after everything he went through. And I like to think I've won a few majors I've my own so far. To be fair, a lot of his struggles were self-inflicted and so were mine. This is not to excuse his or my past transgressions but to highlight the accountability and the bounce back. But he was quoted as saying, “One of the things that my parents have taught me is to never listen to other people's expectations. You should live your own life and live up to your own expectations, and those are the only things I really care about it." And that, ultimately, has become one of my biggest mantras. To live my life how I see fit, as long as I do no harm to others.
Photo credit: Golf Digest
Golf is just a silly game that’s far too expensive and has a laundry list of issues of its own, but for this recovering alcoholic, it was the lighthouse in the storm. It’s helped me find confidence, and shatter that confidence, and find it again. It’s taught me to get back up when I get knocked down. It’s taught me to try to find all things Rad in life, to live up to my namesake gifted to me by my brothers. It helps me feel closer to a father I thought I’d lost almost two decades ago, and did lose seven years ago. So I created Be Rad Golf Club on a whim, this is my first crack at written content for the club. I hope this gives you some insight into why I started this journey, and I hope it inspires you to stick around for what is yet to come. Videos, blogs, and everything in between. I’m excited to see what golf, and subsequently the world, has in store for me.
Till next time; Be Here, Be Now, Be Rad.
Cheers, and much love from B-Rad and Be Rad Golf Club.