Professional Golfer Profile:
Name: Matthew Bond
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Current Golf Tour: Vancouver Golf Tour
Matthew Bond is a man on a mission, or as he would say, if you want it, you can get it. That mission is his pursuit of one day playing in the Masters, and becoming a full-time PGA Tour player. To many, this dream would sound rather impossible due to Matt first picking up a golf club at the age of 21 while recovering from tearing ligaments in his knee. He doesn’t see it that way. To him, “you can’t measure how much somebody wants something. That statistic does not exist. There are no statistics on how bad you want it.” This attitude of pure tenacity is apparently working out for him. After just a mere four years of playing the game, Matthew has recently seen some nice success on the Vancouver Golf Tour and is gearing up for Web.com Q-School.
I had the pleasure of meeting Matt during a golf tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I first started G&E Magazine, I knew he was going to be a perfect fit as a feature in one or our first articles. Matthew’s story with golf is fascinating. Originally coming from Australia, Matthew grew up as a young talent in Aussie Rules Football. Due to injuries and life events, he had to give up the game and found himself as a plumber in Canada at the age of 21. One day while working in the winter, he was clearing off a snow-covered roof. He slipped and fell to the ground tearing a few ligaments in his knee. In a way, this accident was a blessing in disguise as it introduced him to his true passion, golf. With his job being labor intensive, his doctor required him to take a few months off to let his knee recover properly. During this time, Matt discovered out of boredom that he could swing a golf club and fell in love with the game as his health improved. As he puts it, “golf found me in a way.” Once he was healthy and back at his job, he played every day after work. He started with a 22.4 handicap index but was able to become rather good in a short amount of time. In just a few months, he shot a 75 in a local golf tournament. Feeling the rush of competition, Matt was hooked on tournament golf and from there his professional career blossomed.
Since then, Matt has pursued professional golf with an inspiring ambition. In just four years of playing, and working with his coach and great friend, Ian Triggs, he has been able to achieve great results. During this time, he has also found himself growing a young family with his wife, Kayla. They have two boys, and just welcomed a baby girl into the world named Georgia. When he is not spending time with his family, and working towards developing his game, Matt has started a separate career in trading Forex and is currently in the process of creating his website and brand. With his brand, Matt’s goal is to help others who’s dream is to be a professional golfer, and show them how to turn it into a reality. In every essence of the term, Matt has become a true Golf Entrepreneur in his journey with the game.
G&E: Matt! It’s great to have you on G&E. Thanks for doing this. I am excited to hear about what’s going on in your career since we last spoke.
Matthew Bond: Yea mate thanks for having me. The website is looking great, and I am loving the concept of what you are trying to do.
G&E: I appreciate the kind words. Let’s dive into your story with golf. I know you were playing Aussie Rules Football in Australia when you were younger and just picked up the game late in life. How did golf come into your life?
Matthew Bond: I was going back and forth between Australia and Canada, where I met my now fiancé, trying to do whatever I could to kind of keep it together. I hadn’t been a golfer at all. I played AFL footie, which is Aussie Rules football, growing up and had never been into golf.
I’ll go back to the very start. Originally, I came over here (Canada) in 2007 for a ski holiday. I met my fiancé there at the time. Having her in Canada created a back and forth from there and Australia. At this time of my life, I wasn’t playing golf at all. I hadn’t even thought about it. Let me skip forward a little bit over the boring stuff and get right to where I started playing golf.
I was 21 and working as a plumber for a guy in Canada. I absolutely hated my life you know. I was depressed, feeling like crap; things weren’t right for me. I was working on a roof towards the end of winter, and there was still snow on the roof. I had to clear it off, and I slipped and fell, and I did some ligaments in my left knee. I didn’t have to have surgery, but it was going to take some major time to recover.
I was off work and depressed. When it was time to go back to work, I went and saw my doctor, and they said they were not going to send me back yet. They kept saying I needed more rest for my knee to get back to 100 percent. I got restless in Canada and just started hitting golf balls out of boredom. I was telling the doctor at the time; look I can hit golf balls why can’t I go back to work. At my job, there was too much labor-intensive activity and lifting. The doctor was afraid of the injury getting worse if I went back to soon.
So I started playing golf in my time off while I was injured and I began to hit the ball okay for a guy who had never played. I decided to get my index. I put in my five cards, and my handicap came back as a 22.4. I went back to work and started playing golf every day after I got off. I fell in love with the game. Things weren’t great for me in my life, I wasn’t playing Aussie Rules anymore, so I didn’t have anything competitive and golf filled that hole for me.
G&E: Why did you transition out of Aussie Rules?
Matthew Bond: When I was 16, I was selected to play for NSW, which is like playing for your state. That is the pinnacle where you decide if you’re going to play professional or not. I decided I was going to take a year off and then come back and play. When I took my year off at 17, I went to Canada. When I came back to Australia after that year, the opportunity to play professional was gone. I had a couple of ongoing injuries, and it just wasn’t going to work out anymore.
For me, it was a disappointment at the time being a competitive person by nature, but I decided that I was going move to Canada and make an effort with my girlfriend and be a plumber. Settling for a career I did not want was just killing me. Falling off the roof and injuring my knee is what brought golf to me. I had so much time on my hands while waiting to recover. By the time summer rolled around, I had my handicap at 22.4. In Canada, the sun was up until 10:30. I was able to go to work and get two rounds of golf in afterward. During that summer I got my handicap down to around a 14.5. Towards the end of that summer, I entered into a net tournament. I shot a 75 off the stick.
G&E: Wow that’s like a net 60!
Matthew Bond: Yea everyone was pretty pissed at me (laughs). Even though it was just a small tournament, feeling the competition again and the thrill to compete got me hooked on tournament golf. I remember sitting there afterward and thinking to myself that I could really do this. In just one summer I was able to start playing quite well. I wanted to see how far I could go.
And that’s it, golf found me in a way. I went home and spoke to my fiancé, Kayla and said hey this sounds kind of crazy but I think I want to be a professional golfer. Obviously, it did not go down that great (laughs). The first thing she asked, was well how are you going to support your family and your kids and how are you going to get this started? Luckily for me, that month, my dad was flying over to San Francisco from Australia. I decided I should run the whole thing by him and get his view. I remember the day like it was yesterday.
I flew down to San Francisco to meet with my father, and we were sitting there on the pier eating some clam chowder. I said to him that “I think I’m going to try and be a professional golfer.” He just simply asked me “what will it take?”
My father is a very successful man in his own right. Anyone that comes to him has to know what it’s going to take and have a plan. I knew the path that I wanted to go and set out a plan on how I wanted to get there. I laid it out. It was along the lines of me moving back to Australia and working with who I believe is the best coach in the world, Ian Triggs. I went over the plan with him, and it was probably one of the best days of my life because he turned to me and said: “go get it, make it happen.”
Having his support was huge and what I was able to do then was move my whole family back to Australia. The reason we moved back was that in Canada, for six months of the year, you can’t play because it gets dark very early. So we moved back, and I emailed Ian Triggs who coaches John Senden, Karrie Webb and has won multiple majors with his players. I sent him an email stating my plan. He wasn’t really for it at the time because he’s a very busy guy and I was a 12 handicap (laughs).
G&E: That’s awesome. You’re taking a big risk by putting yourself out there, stating your plan and shooting for your goals even though most would say the odds are against you.
Matthew Bond: Yeah, exactly I would say I was around a 12 to 15 handicap when I started with Triggs. That year I just turned 22. I’ve been playing for about 8 to 10 months. I had moved the family back to Australia, and he finally says he will have a look at me and see what I’ve got. I get on the range, and I’m nervous as hell because I’m hitting balls in front of who I consider the best coach of all time.
I couldn’t hit a ball to save my life (laughs). He laughed and told me to relax and said look, I know what you want to do, but I’m going to have to change everything you have been doing, start again, and then we will go from there. It was daunting because I just took ten strokes off my game and now I had to start over again. We did that, and in that year I was able to go from a 12 handicap down to about a 2.
G&E: That’s incredible that you were able to achieve that in just one year of working with him.
Matthew Bond: Yeah, just one year of working with him and we were doing three days a week when I was in Australia. I was hitting ball seven days a week. That continued for a while. Three times a week I would see him mixed in with a lot of talking about the mental game.
Two or three times he came to me and said I don’t know if you can do it, it’s hard. After that year I’m 23 going on 24. I knew that I had come so far in what was a short time. I was around a lot of professionals, and they were saying you can’t catch that gap, these guys have too much experience.
My biggest thing is that you can’t measure how much somebody wants something. That statistic does not exist. There are no statistics on how bad you want it. I said that to Ian at the time when he was a little bit doubtful, and I could see that he knew that was a thing.
When I took this commitment, I considered to myself that anything less than the ultimate goal was a fail. Even though it can be regarded as a success to get to any form of pro.
From there I was able to get to a plus one handicap in Australia and was playing Australian amateur events. I was looking at the Australian and Asian tours, but my dream, my goal and what I picture every day is playing in the Masters and on the PGA Tour. The only way I could see that happening is being in the US.
I just had my second son, and I turn to my wife again (laughs) to say, look I know you have supported me this far, but now I think we have to move to the US. So we move our entire family, and I get a house in Greenville, South Carolina. I do it all on the Internet, I’ve never been to the place (laughs). At this point, I was fighting a couple of injuries. My knee and my wrist again.
From there I started playing on the mini tours, just trying to play in everything I can. Another twist and another turn and I was not able to get the visa I needed to stay in the US. Once again, I turn to my wife, who at the time wanted to go back to Australia because she loved the country and wanted to live there. I knew being closer to the US was necessary for my golf career, so I had to do some convincing.
I was able to convince her to move back to where she was from, Canada. From there I can fly in and out of the US to play the events I needed and at the same time it will give me an opportunity to play on the Canadian Tour and breakthrough there hopefully. Nowadays, the Canadian tour leads to the Web.com Tour and eventually the PGA. So we moved to Canada and unfortunately I was not able to get onto the Canadian Tour as I hoped.
I continued to work towards my passion in Canada, playing on mini tours and pay to plays. I started playing full-time on the Vancouver Golf Tour. It is a great tour, really well set up towards developing players. It has been a fantastic tour for me because every week that the Canadian tour isn’t playing, you’re playing against all the Canadian tour players, some of the Web.com guys, and you get an excellent feel of what those players have and what you need to work on to get better.
While playing, I was recently able to discover what was wrong with my wrist and why it has been a ruthless injury for me. I couldn’t get rid of it, and it turns out at 27 I have arthritis. Now every two months I get Cortizone shots into my wrist to freeze it up and help me play with it.
G&E: I like the pivot you made to further your golf career. Even though not getting your visa got in the way, you were able to make the best of the situation. It sounds like Canada is a perfect place for mini tour players.
Matthew Bond: It really is. The last month, to put it in perspective, I have played four events and have put 7 ½ thousand kilometers on my car driving from event to event, and I have had my daughter come into the world. It has been one hell of a ride and along the way people have told me to give up, that it is an unrealistic dream. Fortunately for me, though, I have had an incredible support system. My wife, my father, my mother, my friends and a lot of sponsors out there who have helped me along the way.
G&E: Has your wife’s support been a keystone of your pursuit?
Matthew Bond: Yes, she has been incredible! You can not pursue a dream like this without your wife. She’s been amazing helping me watch the kids and support what I’m doing. For example, when it is the day before an event, and I am getting ready spending a late night at the range, she has been amazing taking care of the kids in those types of situations.
Or I think this is the hardest thing; you’re not guaranteed a check every week. I believe it is always hard for a spouse at home because how do you rely on anything. It is really the only job in the world where you go put in more hours than most people, and you might not even get paid. She has been incredible, and I am very thankful for everything my wife and family have done for me.
G&E: Exactly like Ethan said in my last interview. He talked about how his pursuit of professional golf has helped him grow so much as a person because everything in golf you have to earn, especially checks. It’s all about the amount of work put into it.
Matthew Bond: I couldn’t agree with that more. You become so independent as a golfer because everything is on you. The biggest thing is discipline and patience. If you’re not disciplined enough to get yourself to the range on days that you don’t want to or play those practice rounds on days when you are not up for it, then you’re not going to get very far.
The support of my wife, and my family back home to say go get it, has been amazing. I have a superb friend and number one sponsor, named Steve Fierro, who has been my sounding board during this journey. Sometimes, when you’re on the road, you can go through bouts of depression where it might feel like you can’t break 80 and you feel like it’s never coming back. You question what you’re doing, should I be doing something else, and Steve, my wife, and everyone else who I have supporting me have been great for helping me stay positive in those negative moments.
G&E: That seems to be a common trend with not only professional golfers but with all entrepreneurs trying to build their dream. There are times when it feels like you can not do it anymore and you do need people to talk to as motivation.
What are your goals for the near and far future?
Matthew Bond: For me, my goal for this year, because I am feeling fully healthy, is to go to Web.com Q-school in September. After that, I am going to give PGA Tour Canada Q-school a go, followed by Australian Q-school. I have a busy end of the year and upcoming schedule. Obviously, my ultimate goal is to get out there on the PGA tour and eventually win the Masters. That has always been my ultimate dream.
G&E: I love that, you have your aspirations as high as possible.
Matthew Bond: That’s exactly it, as on the golf course, you always make your target specific. If you aim small, you miss small.
G&E: On the business side of things, you were talking about sponsorships. Have you had some luck getting sponsorships to help support your career?
Matthew Bond: From that aspect, I have been very of lucky. My father has been a huge help with his company. Also, as I mentioned before, Steve has been a good friend of mine for the past 12 years; he saw what I was trying to do, and he had a great understanding of the business side of it. He understood that you couldn’t chase this dream unless you have people supporting you. Steve has been a great sponsor towards helping out with the pursuit.
I have always traded as well to keep another stream of income. I trade forex, foreign exchange, so I’ve always held a significant interest in that line of work.
G&E: That’s cool, and I agree with that. I have learned that adding another stream of income, while pursuing professional golf, is big because it takes a lot of pressure off your game. For me, I have been working for a start-up company, called GCA, and it has been amazing.
Matthew Bond: 100 percent. The other thing it does is you’re not thinking about golf 24/7. You need to think about something else.
G&E: I couldn’t agree more. Having something to focus on, besides golf has helped my game as I am sure it has for you too. I am certain having a family takes you mind off golf a little bit and puts things in perspective too.
Matthew Bond: It does (laughs). I have been lucky with my children and my wife. My number one thing in the world is being able to spend time with them and being at home. Being on the road is what makes that so special. There are times when you’re out there grinding, and you walked in the door after shooting 85, and they still love you. That’s the biggest thing.
Golf is exactly like life as you know. They both have so many ups-and-downs that you experience along the way. To have a stable rock is key. Whether it’s a sponsor like Steve, a father, and mother like mine, or my amazing family at home, I have been blessed with the support that I have.
Also, my coach has become one of my best friends throughout this process. He has been able to get me to do things that I would’ve never been able to do. For example, he got me out to the Masters for a week last year with John Senden and his family as he played. It was incredible. I was able to smell the grass and get a feel for the tournament. I love being able to walk the grounds and picture myself out there one day.
G&E: Visualization, it is key to not only golf but also your ultimate success. You have to dream big to live big.
Matthew Bond: Absolutely. Visualization is essential to a golf shot or a goal in life. I am a big believer in visualizing what you want and moving towards that goal. I like to look at it as a signpost in the distance. For me, it’s the PGA Tour. As long as you can keep that sign post in your mind, your path may vary throughout, it may take some time, but as long as that signpost is in your mind I sincerely believe you will get there.
G&E: That’s awesome, and it seems like you have been able to build a great mindset towards your goals. I Remember talking to you once, and you mentioned how you were able to caddy for a few pros on bigger tours.
Matthew Bond: Yup, I was able to caddy for a few girls on the LPGA Tour and a few guys on the Austrailian tour. As a player, I was able to gain so much insight into how hard these guys and girls work. When you’re walking with them, you start to feel a lot of similarities. Watching them up close and seeing guys miss shots humanized them for me. A lot of people watch it on TV, and they show mainly the good shots. When you go to a tour event and follow one group, you’re going to see misses.
The greatest lesson I learned though from my caddying experiences is their ability to move on from a miss. To realize that it doesn’t matter, its gone. That has been a huge improvement in my game. To accept the outcome before, I pull the trigger. Behind the ball now I accept what is going to happen no matter what.
That has been a breakthrough for me in life as well. We had a child that we were not expecting at first. You have to accept the outcome and then go from there. That has been a huge thing for me playing. Being able to accept the outcome. If I hit a bad shot now, whatever, let’s go hit a great one. I learned to apply this same mindset in life. If something happens here, that’s ok, let’s just turn it into a great situation.
G&E: Wow that’s incredible. It sounds like through golf and other situations in your life have helped you grow as a person.
Matthew Bond: It has, and building mental toughness during this pursuit has been very satisfying. I love going out there and proving the fact that if you want it, you can get it. From here I would say its a two to three-year plan to get where I want to be. I feel like the Web.com Tour is attainable in two years. I don’t know if I will get through this year but as I was saying I already accept that outcome no matter what.
G&E: That is one thing I have noticed talking and reading about successful people. They accept the process of it and the fact that nothing great comes easy. It seems you have learned that quicker than most and are in it for the long haul.
When is your next event?
Matthew Bond: I am in Whistler right now. I am heading out to the Whistler Open for the Vancouver Golf Tour. I am sitting on my back deck here looking at some beautiful views, and as you know, one of the perks of playing professional is to travel to some of the unique spots in the world. I appreciate it; when you get older and have kids, you soak it in a little more. It is pretty amazing what we get to do no matter what level it is. We are doing what we love and meet like minded guys who are on the same path.
I am in the process of creating my website to talk about what I have done. I want to bring to life the process that I have gone through on and off the course. One thing I want to put on my website is a step by step process on how to approach sponsors. For example, I was talking to a young guy out here the other day, and he was saying he was trying to raise 60,000 dollars but was struggling to find one or two guys to help out. I asked him if he knew anyone that would possibly do 5,000. He said he probably knew some people like that. That was a big thing I found is that a lot of guys try and approach one or two people for funding when it’s much easier to contact certain people for less.
G&E: I love that, building your brand. That’s a great idea for a website. Especially from you where you already have considerable experience in starting a professional golf career from scratch.
Matthew Bond: Yeah, so that’s what I want to do. It will eventually become where I will coach. I will make playing professionally as my primary focus, but will coach for extra income. I have a lot of guys that have approached me and say, look you have a good swing and built it from nothing, can you show me the steps on how to get there.
G&E: Beyond that, you can teach the mental game incorporating everything you have learned on your journey with golf.
Matthew Bond: That’s it. The last four or five tournaments I have been taking out a GoPro, and I have a little drone that follows me around.
G&E: That’s awesome. I want to get a drone for the similar purpose. I feel like you can do a lot of cool stuff, especially with golf.
Matthew Bond: They are great. It follows me around. I have been talking out loud to the camera and saying this is what I do in a situation and explaining why I do that. That’s ultimately my end goal for the sight. I will start by releasing a certain amount of content and eventually guys can sign up and get a membership. That way they can have full access to me. It can be for guys who are up and coming, guys who are just starting and it will allow me to build a brand for some extra income and help people out along the way. Telling people that it is possible and showing how I did it and how they can do the same is one of the most fun experiences for me. I love when I play in a Pro-Am with guys, and I tell them I was them four years ago.
G&E: That is awesome and one of the big reasons why I want to do this. Most golf publications tell the stories of people who are superstars right now or are massive rising stars. You don’t get a look into the people who are grinding chasing an opportunity to turn their dream into their reality. Guys like you and Ethan.
Matthew Bond: Thanks for telling our stories! My hope is for guys who are in a similar position as I was, having picked up the game late, can look at my step by step plan on how best to approach their dream. I will be able to let them know that it is hard, but with discipline and patience, you can achieve what you want.
I think patience is the most underrated thing. As humans, we all keep thinking were on this clock that is running out. As a result, we are always rushing, but if you can be disciplined and have patience in a golf round or life, things tend to turn around. You might be scrambling to make pars all day, and you finish up with four straight birdies. It has been that kind of way in my life. Things didn’t get out of the box great, and now it’s working out perfect.
G&E: That’s awesome man. I am glad to hear it. It sounds like everything is going amazing for you.
Matt thanks again for doing this interview and best of luck in Q-School. I am looking forward to seeing where you take the game.
Matthew Bond: No problem mate, it was my pleasure. Best of luck to you too!