Brad Sparling, Founder of Play Gold in College

Jack Nicklaus and Brad Sparling of Play Golf in College
Jack Nicklaus with Brad Sparling

Brad Sparling was a golf coach at Duke University and The Ohio State University and has five years experience coaching at the Division 1 level. This includes five trips to the NCAA Men’s Championship and two National Championships while assistant women’s coach at Duke. He also has 14 years experience as a professional golfer and teacher.

He has coached numerous All-America golfers on both the men’s and women’s side and has coached two National Players of the Year, instructed one NCAA Division III Champion and coached the player who holds the all time record score of 60 at the NCAA Men’s Championship Finals.

During his time in the college ranks, Coach Sparling was known as a tireless worker, outstanding recruiter and teacher; someone always focused on helping his players reach their academic and athletic potential. His ability as a teacher, player, leader and mentor helped his players and teams achieve success both in the classroom and on the golf course.

Now, through Play Golf In College, Coach Sparling looks to take his knowledge and life experiences and help his clients navigate the college placement process and prepare for success in college and in life. ‘Making a difference in the lives of others’ is his motto.

While at Ohio State, Coach Sparling helped coach the Buckeye golf program back to national prominence. During his first year in Ohio, the Buckeyes qualified for the NCAA Championship for the first time in four years and two players made the All Big Ten team. His second and final year at Ohio State resulted in two team wins, four individual victories and the Buckeyes qualified for the NCAA Championship finals for the first time in 11 years, where they finished 25th at Inverness. The season was the best in over a decade for the Buckeye golf program. One player was named All-American and the team recorded the best academic performance in the history of the program with nine team members making the Ohio State Honor Roll. Coach Sparling also brought in one of the best recruiting classes in over 10 years to the Columbus, Ohio, campus.

Coach Brad Sparling, Duke University Golf Team
Coach Brad Sparling led the Duke Men’s Golf Team to its first ACC Championship since 1966 and the Women’s Team to two NCAA Championships. The teams also recorded the best academic performance in the history of the program, with eight team members making the ACC Honor Roll.

During Sparling’s time with the Duke Blue Devils, the women’s team won two NCAA championships as well as two Atlantic Coast Conference championships and the men’s team won its first ACC championship since 1966. The men’s team also concluded two of its seasons ranked in the Top 10 nationally and finished tied for eighth at the NCAA championships in 2005 and 12th in 2006.

In Sparling’s three seasons at Duke, the men’s team was one of only three teams in the nation to make the final cut at the national championships those three years. Four men’s golfers earned All-America honors and Ryan Blaum was a two-time ACC Player of the Year. In addition, while leading the Blue Devils in his last year at Duke, the team recorded the best academic performance in the history of the program with 8 team members making the ACC Honor Roll.

While in charge of all recruiting for the Duke men’s team, Sparling signed two of the top classes in the country. In 2006, the class was ranked No. 4 nationally and the incoming 2007 class was No. 2.

He also was deeply involved in the fundraising for Duke’s new golf team building (Karcher-Ingram Golf Center), practice facilities and indoor video training center (Rod Myers Training Center). Sparling helped design the buildings and supervised construction for the team building and indoor training center.

Prior to entering the coaching profession, Sparling was a golf professional at the Duke University Golf Club where he was an accomplished teaching professional. He also had success in numerous professional events. Before turning professional, Sparling worked in private business as an owner, financial consultant and director of finance.

Under Coach Sparling's leadership, the Duke Women's Golf Team won two NCAA Championships and received congratulations from President Bush at the White House.
Under Coach Sparling’s leadership, the Duke Women’s Golf Team won two NCAA Championships and received congratulations from President Bush at the White House.

Sparling played golf at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., where he graduated with a degree in economics. He and his wife, Suzie,live in Dublin, Ohio, with their three children: Jack, Nicholas and Emma.

Read about Coach Mark MacDonald.