Senior PGA Golfer Bill Breen

When did you first discover a love for golf? I was 7 years old when we were on a family vacation at the beach and my dad put a club in my hands. That’s how it started. We lived close to McCabe so I would watch my dad play and as I grew, I would walk over there by myself and chip and putt. Dad built a 30x50-foot putting green in our side yard with the help of the maintenance crew at McCabe, and that’s what I did with my time.

What’s your favorite thing about your job? I split my time 50/50 between playing competitively and teaching golf lessons. I think it’s important for golf instructors to also play competitively so they can stay connected to the wonderful aspects of the game and also feel the pain their students feel when they don’t perform well. Teaching and playing professionally work well together for me. Teaching helps keep me grounded. Competing brings personal satisfaction and also keeps students interested in me as an instructor.

What’s the hardest part of your job? Balancing my schedule

What is your proudest professional achievement?Playing well in tournaments is a big thrill. I’ve played in three senior majors: the U.S. Senior Open in 2014 and 2018 and the British Senior Open in 2018. Last year, I qualified for the 2020 Senior PGA Championship, but it was canceled due to COVID-19. But this summer, I have won four straight tournaments — all we’ve had so far this year — in the Tennessee Section PGA, including the big three: the Senior State Open (for the third time), the YAMAHA Players Championship and the Tennessee Senior PGA Professional Championship. My goal is to make it to two senior majors next year.

What annual fundraising event do you look forward to the most? The YWCA Spring Breakfast. My wife has chaired the event for seven years. Through her, I’ve gotten to know the issues of domestic violence and how great the need is.

What local nonprofit is dearest to your heart? Room In The Inn. Homelessness is another systemic problem that our city needs to address.

What’s your best piece of golfing advice? One of my mentors told me, “You want your students to have gas so they don’t play like an ass. Grip. Aim. Setup.” So that’s what we focus on.