Technique matters in golf, to be sure.
But for Adam Hadwin, sorting out an early-season slump was more about regaining a feel for the game – a less technical but more mysterious pursuit.
After missing the cut at five of the first 11 tournaments of the year on the Web.com Tour, the 25-year-old Abbotsford golfer was awash in frustration when he made a stop in Louisville, Kentucky on June 24 to visit Ted Schulz.
Hadwin had played his NCAA golf at the University of Louisville, where Schulz – who has won on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour – serves as an assistant coach with the team and is the director of golf instruction at The Cardinal Club golf course.
"He's someone who knows the game of golf in general, and I'd say he's the epitome of a feel player," Hadwin said. "He just hits it around, and he may not know how he's getting it around or where his swing is or anything like that, but he feels it and he gets it in the hole.
"I think that's kind of the person that I needed to see at that time – not necessarily go technical or anything like that. Because my swing was good, it was just out of rhythm."
Hadwin had been hitting a lot of erratic over-the-top pull hook type shots, but a quick 15-minute session with Schulz ignited a hot streak which has seen him register back-to-back top-10 finishes on the Web.com.
He finished in solo fifth place at the United Leasing Championship in Indiana, then tied for seventh at the Utah Championship the following week. Those results rocketed him from 99th on the Web.com money list to his current position in 53rd, with earnings of just shy of $65,000.
"In the end, I was just trying to hit a lot of cuts – move the ball position up, trying to get the ball moving from left to right, and it worked," Hadwin explained. "I got a cut back into my game, the over-the-top pull hook left, and I started hitting it really well.
"I feel much more comfortable with my game right now. I actually know where the golf ball is going, which is nice. Everything kind of seems to be firing on all cylinders."
Beyond the powwow with Schulz, Hadwin said he's coming into events with "a little bit better demeanor."
"Before, I was extremely frustrated with the way things were going," he said. "I think that I kind of carried that tournament to tournament, and I wasn't in my sharpest frame of mind to play my best golf. I think that's changed quite a bit."
All of this is to say that Hadwin is riding a wave of confidence heading into the RBC Canadian Open this week. He's been granted an exemption to the PGA Tour event, which runs Thursday through Sunday at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont.
The Canadian Open has become a special event for Hadwin, who is making his fourth appearance. He won the Rivermead Cup as the low Canadian in both 2010 and 2011, and thrilled local golf fans by contending for the title in 2011 at Vancouver's Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, ultimately finishing fourth.
Walking up the 18th fairway during the final round two years ago, Hadwin received an amazing ovation from the Shaughnessy gallery – an experience that he rates as one of the highlights not only of his golf career, but of his life.
"It was an unbelievable feeling to have that support, and to play like I did," he said. "I look forward to getting up there (to Glen Abbey) and hopefully recreating what I did in 2011.
"The RBC Canadian Open is an event that's circled on the calendar every year, being our national championship. I really want to go up there and play well, and I really like the way my game is taking shape right now."