Chesson Hadley’s Pre-Golf Rituals

Post by Chesson Hadley, winner of the 2013 Rex Hospital Open. After becoming a three-time All-American at Georgia Tech, Chesson became a professional golfer in 2010. He played on the eGolf Tour for 2 years before making it to the Tour during 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School. With his win at the Rex Hospital Open, Chesson earned his card to the 2014 PGA Tour. He lives in Raleigh with his wife Amanda, and they are expecting their first child in Fall 2013.

After winning the Rex Hospital Open last week, people have asked me what my “secret formula” is. Do I eat something special? Do I have a specific stretching routine? Am I superstitious?

The answer to all of these is no. I’m 25 years old and have been blessed genetically with a lightning fast metabolism and the flexibility of a gymnast. While everyone has told me this will change as I get older, for now I eat whatever I want (which is usually fast food) and don’t make the gym a regular routine. However, there are a few things I do to prepare for a tournament round that are key to good performance.

Get plenty of sleep

I don’t stay up late the night before a round. If I have a 7am tee time, I know I’ll be up around 5 so I go to bed pretty early. You can’t expect to perform at your peak if your body doesn’t have time to rest and restore itself. This is especially key for endurance. Tournaments are 4 days long, and each course is about 5 miles to walk. Add in the 95 degree summer heat and trying to mentally stay focused for 5 hours straight and you can easily see why it’s important to get a lot of rest.

Give myself plenty of time

I hate feeling rushed before a round. My pre-round routine is an hour long, so I get to the course 1 hour and 45 min before my tee time. This gives me time to eat at player dining, go hang out in the locker room, and just get myself geared up to go. It’s really hard to start something calmly if everything was chaotic beforehand.

Stay hydrated and nourished

Although I’m certainly not pounding spinach smoothies and eating raw almonds, I know how important staying hydrated and fed is. I drink a ton of water on the course and keep bananas and granola bars in my bag. Golf is such a mental game and I think the first thing you lose when you’re hungry is your mental stamina.

Be prepared

I check the weather and wind conditions before a round so I know what to expect and how to dress. Once I’m out on the course, I’m there until the completion of a round. If I’ve forgotten anything, I’m stuck. Therefore, I make sure to have everything I could POSSIBLY need. If there’s a chance of rain, my golf umbrella is going in the bag. I keep a bunch of extra gloves, towels, granola bars, sunscreen, etc. so that no matter what goes on, I’m prepared for it.

Get in the zone

For the 4-5 hours of my golf round, I can’t afford to think about anything else. I’m not thinking about my plans later in the day, what’s going on at home, paying attention to the crowd, etc. I’ve got to stay as focused on each shot as possible in order to execute.

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While these things have helped me to be successful in golf, I really think they apply to anyone who needs to perform well. Whether it’s a job presentation, a recital, or a big exam, being rested, nourished, prepared and “in the zone” will help you perform at your peak!


Chesson Hadley

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