LEXINGTON — Life is a series of tradeoffs, of course, and probably none brought about a mix of emotions like 29-year-old Brian May felt earlier this month when he left his post as head golf pro at Frankfort Country Club to coach golf at the University of Kentucky.
May, a 2003 graduate of Franklin County High School, will assist fifth-year head coach Golda Borst in the women’s golf program at UK that appears to be on the rise in the rugged Southeastern Conference.
“I was ecstatic because this was something I have wanted to do for awhile,” said May, who worked with the women’s golf program at UK years ago when Myra Blackwelder was the coach and May was a student at UK. “But, at the same time, I had been at Frankfort Country Club for four and a half years, and so those people are like my extended family.”
May came to FCC in 2009 as an assistant pro to Stacey Shelton. He moved up to head pro in January of 2013 when Shelton was promoted to general manager.
“There was nothing about Frankfort Country Club that made me want to leave,” May said. “I have an ambition to coach young elite athletes who have a drive to be the best they can possibly be. That’s kind of where it started.”
May came to that ambition a few years ago when he was still pursuing his own dreams of playing golf professionally, while attending the Golf Academy of The South in Orlando, Fla.
May graduated from the academy in 2007, returned to UK to take classes in exercise science and started the road to be a teaching pro.
“When I initially went (to the golf academy), it was to play,” said May, who played a year of golf at Morehead State out of FCHS, and then transferred to UK to focus on academics. “Through that academy experience of them teaching me how to teach others, basically, I realized it was something I could pursue.
“I learned a lot about the golf swing through the academy, and I realized I was good at teaching. I played three sports in high school, and as an athlete, you can see things that other people just learning the golf swing don’t see. You can see athletic ability, and you see different ways to teach the swing. There’s no one way to do it.”
May said he enjoyed everything about working at Frankfort Country Club — the teaching side, the public relations side and the business side.
“The more I got into it, the more I realized it was something I was good at,” May said of FCC life. “I got to see the same people, learned what they liked and didn’t like, and it became more than just the teaching part.”
Still, coaching the kind of athlete you find at a major university like Kentucky was still out there.
“Working with elite athletes really intrigued me,” he reiterated. “Having young individuals look to you for guidance, to help them grow, to make them better, and to have the avenue to do that was appealing.”
May said he had kept up with UK golf from a distance, and learned of the women’s opening on the Internet. He contacted Borst, earned an interview, and got the job.
There will be adjustments, to be sure, coaching at the college level versus a country club, though May sounds like a child on Christmas Eve when asked about the challenges.
“It’s an interesting tradeoff,” May said. “After you’ve been at a country club four, five years, the day-to-day operations are easy. This is completely new as far as the day-to-day stuff. At Frankfort Country Club, I had a team of 450 (members). Now I have a team of 10.
“At the end of the day, while we’re recruiting for the future, we’ve got to make sure we take care of the girls we have,” he added. “We’ve got to give 100 percent to help them grow. And, as the new guy, I’ve got to earn their trust and their loyalty, and I have to give it right back to them.”
Borst said she’s excited to have May on board.
“Brian brings a tremendous amount of passion and enthusiasm for UK, and he has a great deal of knowledge of the game, both from a player perspective and from a teacher perspective,” she said. “I believe he will have an immediate impact on our team.”
May said he’s met all the Wildcats, either in person or on the phone.
The first team meeting is Aug. 24, with practice starting the first day of school, three days later.
The Wildcats have a short fall season, starting Sept. 9 in Bryan, Texas.
The brunt of the season is in the spring, including the SEC meet April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala., and the East Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., May 8-10.
UK’s roster includes sophomore-to-be Megan Kinney, who played high school golf at Western Hills, played in four tournaments last season at UK and was named to the SEC’s Community Service Team this spring.
May has been through changes in his personal life as well in recent months.
He married the former Corie Broering on May 29.