Originally from Tulsa, Brad Elder grew up in Plano, Texas, and began showing his amateur prowess by winning the 1994 Texas UIL Class-5A Boys State Golf Tournament individual title. He won the Western Junior Amateur in the same year.
Elder then headed to The University of Texas where, he earned All-America Honors in each of his four years, including twice being named to the first team. Elder also won the prestigious 86th Texas Amateur in 1995.
Elder’s banner year as an amateur came in 1997. He racked up undefeated showings in both the Walker and Palmer Cups and won the 1997 Northeast Amateur.
As a Longhorn that year, he was under par in 18 of 37 competitive rounds played. Elder in 1997 was awarded the Jack Nicklaus Award, given annually by the Golf Coaches Association of America to the golfer who excels throughout the course of the entire season.
He also took home the Fred Haskins Award, presented annually by the Haskins Commission to honor the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the United States. It is college golf's equivalent to college football's Heisman Trophy.
Elder finished his collegiate career as the nation's No. 1 amateur, according to Golfweek/Titleist amateur rankings.
The Younger Elder
Brad Elder was introduced to golf at a young age by his father, Ross, who was a professional at Mohawk Park, a municipal golf course in Tulsa, Okla.
With his dad on the bag at the 1994 Western Junior Amateur, Elder followed in his dad’s footsteps as the tournament’s champion, a fact unknown to Brad until after his triumph. The victories, which came 28 years apart (Ross Elder won the match play tournament’s title in 1966), remain the only father-son titles in Western Junior history.
Elder’s showing continued a remarkable breakout year that also included an individual win at the 1994 UIL Class-5A Boys State Golf Tournament for Plano (Texas) High School, where he had moved in 1991.
Elder attended the University of Texas, where he was named All-America four times, including two first-team selections. As a junior for the Longhorns in 1997, Elder claimed the Jack Nicklaus Award, given annually by the Golf Coaches Association of America to the nation’s top college golfer.
He also won the Fred Haskins Award, presented to the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the U.S.
Elder finished his collegiate career as the nation's No. 1 amateur according to Golfweek/Titleist amateur rankings. He is a member of the Texas Longhorns Athletics Hall of Honor.
A Star In Stripes
One of the most decorated and highly regarded amateur golfers in the world during the 1990s, Elder was selected to represent the United States at both the Walker Cup and Arnold Palmer Cup competitions in 1997.
At the Walker Cup, Elder posted a perfect 4-0 record, as the U.S. easily defeated Europe, 18-6. None of his matches even reached the 18th hole.
Elder collected Singles wins by 5&4 and 2&1 margins. He also notched Four-Ball victories by 4&3 and 3&2 marks. He was undefeated with a 4-0 record for the U.S. Team at the Palmer Cup for the victorious Americans at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Becoming a Hot Name at BraeBurn
Following his sophomore year of college, Elder in 1995 won the 86th Texas Amateur at BraeBurn Country Club in Houston, joining a long list of players who became professionals and Texas Golf Hall of Famers.
Elder later etched his name on the trophy at one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world, the Northeast Amateur, in 1997. Those victories helped set him on a path towards a two-decade professional career that began in 1998 and included more than 400 pro starts.
Elder played on the PGA Tour from 2000-03 and had a runner-up finish at the SEI Pennsylvania Classic as a rookie. He qualified for the U.S. Open three times, making the cut in his final appearance in 2015.
Regardless of how full a golfer's collection of honors might get there is always one keepsake or memento that has a significance above the rest. The most cherished artifact is more often personal and private and not the biggest trophy in the case.
Deep Dive Interview
More in depth stories and anecdotes from the Texas amateur sensation Brad Elder
Brad Elder - Texas Golf Hall of Fame Honor
Deep Dive Video Interview
Brad Elder - Texas Golf Hall of Fame Honor
Brad Elder - Competitive Spirit
Brad Elder - USAM Played
Brad Elder - Future of Texas Golf
Brad Elder - Awards Won
Brad Elder - Fire in the Hall
Brad Elder - Western Junior Championship Trophy
Brad Elder - LEGACY VIDEO
Brad Elder - Mr. Palmer
Brad Elder - Father's Win
Brad Elder - Team Player
Brad Elder - Undefeated
Brad Elder - PGA Tour
Brad Elder - Turning Pro
Brad Elder - Proud of Texas Golf Hall of Fame
Brad Elder - Before College
Brad Elder - Teaching
Brad Elder - Mentors
Brad Elder - Northeast Amatuer Win 1997
Brad Elder - Walker Cup Jacket 1997
Brad Elder - Choosing University of Texas
Brad Elder - Texas Chosen
Brad Elder - Walker Cup
Brad Elder - Good Fit for University of Texas
Brad Elder - Growing Up
Brad Elder - Palmer Cup Win
Brad Elder Artifact Gallery
Brad Elder - 1997 All-American Collegiate Golf Team
Brad Elder - Tommy, Eric, and Brad Elder
Brad Elder - Fred Haskins Award
Brad Elder - Texas State Amatuer Trophy
Brad Elder - The College Golf Foundation Award
Brad Elder 1998 Fred Haskins Award trophy
Brad Elder 1997 Palmer Cup Team List
Brad Elder 1993 Western Junior Championship trophy
Brad Elder with grandparents after winning the Walker Cup
Brad Elder Texas Athletics Hall of Honor Trophy 2020
Brad Elder U.S. Amateur advances to semi-finals
Brad Elder on the 1995 All America Golf Team
Brad Elder Jack Nicklaus College Player of the Year trophy 1997
Brad Elder Fred Haskins Award Winners from The University of Texas