Aaron Schoonmaker

Raleigh's Hadley writes his way up golf's pro ranks

Posted April 20, 2013

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Going into Sunday, the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage was a Triangle-area reunion. Broughton and Wake Forest graduate Webb Simpson, Duke’s Kevin Streelman, NC State’s Tim Clark and Greenville/Charlotte/Wake Forest’s Bill Haas were all among the Top 6 at the PGA event heading to the final round.

Not in Hilton Head, S.C., but found on the driving range in Raleigh, was Web.com Tour golfer Chesson Hadley who was honing his swing during the tour’s natural weekend off. The 25-year-old, who attended North Raleigh Christian Academy, has been working his way to the Tour, finding breaks and making his voice heard along the way. PGA Triangle golfers PGA golfers with Triangle ties

“I have been working really hard on all parts of the game,” Hadley wrote on his blog, HadsCorner.com Thursday. “I have been going through my entire bag hitting a lot of balls with every club. Full shots, knock down shots, and I have really been working on fading the ball as well.”

Hadley earned his card last year via a self-disqualification by Blayne Barber. The admission to a violation came six days after a tournament while in Q-School (Seriously, that is Karma at its best since Barber made his PGA Tour debut this year at the Northern Trust Open), and Hadley isn’t taking the improbable fortune for granted.

He is an expecting father, an impromptu comedian, a frequent blogger and a full-time golfer. The 6-foot-4 lefty who plays golf righty is happy to tell you all about it, too. Through his blog, Hadley takes you on an adventure of a trying golfer.

“Basically it’s just an opportunity for me to share with the world what it’s like to be a professional golfer behind the scenes,” Hadley said in a phone interview. “It’s kind of therapeutic.”

The blog is written reality show. It’s no Tin Cup; it is a painting of true trials and tribulations. It’s people and places. It’s successes and failures. It’s a man’s diary of sorts.

Hadley, a three-time All-American at Georgia Tech, spent The Masters weekend in Midland, Texas, where he said he tried “to watch as much as I can”. His two-day partner was none other than two-time US Open winner Lee Jansen. While both missed the cut, the experience was shared on the blog – and so too was the fact that he’d rather be punched by Mike Tyson than miss a cut.

Other items to be seen are the weekly Foto Friday segment, accounts of his travels and a revealing image of his impending fatherhood.

“I’ve got the easy job. I have to be supportive and wait,” Hadley said. “I’m ready for it to be out.”

He’ll have to keep waiting. The baby isn’t due until November.

While Hadley and wife Amanda are planning to “be surprised” as to the baby’s gender, they are also patiently waiting for the next step up in the career of the golfer that has never had a hole-in-one and likes talk radio.

“I know I’ve got to this level because of my talents,” Hadley said during a serious moment. “It’s just golf. It’s always you against the course and all you can do is try and make birdie.”

Hadley, while knocking on the door of the big tour, has seen the hardships that come along with the professional road. He has made three of five cuts this season on the Web.com Tour but only finished in the top 40 once.

“Winning isn’t a verb, it’s not something you just do,” he said. “Winning is a process. It’s about playing well and putting together four good rounds.

“Things are going well in the sense that I have made a few cuts, but things aren’t going as well as I’d like in the sense that I haven’t been able to break through.”

After missing the cut in Midland, Hadley offered to his followers a bit of information that showed his competitive frustration in a simple game.

“After reflecting on this year so far, I have sincerely not had much fun out on the golf course,” he wrote. “Not so much because I have been playing so-so, but because I have not allowed myself to enjoy this experience.”

When fun and talent can come together, expect to see Hadley’s name amidst Simpson, Streelman, Clark and Haas. And when that happens, rest assured he will tell you about it.

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