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Tiny course in Canada produces big duo at Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor grew up at 6,200-yard Ledgeview Golf Club

    Written by Adam Stanley @Adam_Stanley

    Ledgeview Golf Course is only about 6,200 yards long, but don’t be fooled – sloping greens and tight lines off the tees make up for its lack of length. The course also demands solid ball-striking and sound thinking.

    When Nick Taylor made the bending 10-footer to get into a playoff at last year’s RBC Canadian Open, Brady Stead, the director of instruction at the small but challenging course, was not surprised.

    “I mean, you can hit that putt on our practice green,” Stead said.

    Ledgeview is in Abbotsford, British Columbia – about an hour from Vancouver. Stead jokingly says people sometimes say it’s “out in the sticks.” But one look at the course and you’ll understand why it has produced two of Canada’s top-ranked golfers in Taylor and Adam Hadwin.

    And with the Canadian duo reuniting for this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans – where they finished runner-up to Nick Hardy and Davis Riley last year – there’s another whole generation ready to follow in their footsteps.

    Taylor/Hadwin make sixth-straight birdie at Zurich Classic

    “It really is random until you see why it isn’t,” Stead said of the little course having produced two PGA TOUR winners. “You see the golf course and you understand why it happens. It’s great for us – the kids show up at the golf course and work hard and really believe they can do it.

    “It goes back to Mike Weir winning the Masters for all of us growing up. A lot of Canadians believe they can do it, too.”

    The most indelible moment in Canadian golf last year was no doubt Taylor winning the RBC Canadian Open in a playoff over Tommy Fleetwood. (PGA TOUR Radio called it thusly: “For the eagle… for the win… to the cup… Yes! Yes! The drought is over! The drought is over! History!”) But before that, Taylor and Hadwin teamed up in New Orleans, a nod to their old junior golf days. Their final-round 9-under 63 was a new alternate-shot scoring record even if it wasn’t enough to catch Hardy and Riley.

    Nick Taylor’s winning putt at RBC Canadian Open as called by PGA TOUR Radio

    “Our alternate shot was actually better than our best ball this week, which is pretty interesting,” Taylor said with a laugh last year.

    Hadwin said there are plenty of reasons why things clicked so well last year. How close the guys are certainly helped, he said, but their games also complement each other well. Hadwin said Taylor is “probably a little better” with his irons, but he, Hadwin, hits it a little farther.

    Taylor is indeed 13th in Strokes Gained: Approach to Green this season (to Hadwin’s 106th), while Taylor averages just over 288 yards off the tee to Hadwin at 296 yards. They are both deadly with the putter, with Taylor at 19th in SG: Putting and Hadwin 59th.

    A year ago, the scoring formula on the Sunday was Hadwin hit fairways, Taylor hit greens and Hadwin made the putts.

    “Hopefully we can replicate some of that magic,” Hadwin said.

    Their success is due not just to complementary skill sets but also familiarity. The duo went to different high schools, but they’ve known each other since they were about 12. Hadwin, whose father Gerry worked at Ledgeview, is one year older than Taylor. They have homes about 15 minutes away from each other in Scottsdale. (Taylor spends a lot of time back in Abbotsford with wife Andie and their two kids – Charlie and Harper – while Hadwin and wife Jessica and daughter Maddox have another home in Jessica’s hometown of Wichita, Kansas.)

    Hadwin and Taylor have spent the last decade or so climbing golf’s ladder together, including a run on the Korn Ferry Tour. They earned PGA TOUR cards together in 2014 and paired up once before – at the 2018 World Cup, where they tied for fourth. They’re hoping to make Weir’s International team for the Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal this fall, and would be the two Canadian representatives if the Olympics started today.

    “It’s pretty wild,” Hadwin said of their parallel golfing journey. “I don’t think it happens very often. You think, 170 or 180 guys have PGA TOUR cards every single year – and we have two from literally 10 minutes apart. Not only that, but two guys in the (top 60) in the world. We probably never thought we’d be at this point.”

    Added Taylor: “It’s surreal to reflect on the journey, for sure. Starting out together at Ledgeview at the junior level, our time as amateurs to now both competing on TOUR. It’s very humbling. I know I speak for both Adam and I in saying we are so grateful for all the support from our families, friends, and our community that have helped us reach this point.”

    Brady Stead watches Nick Taylor's win at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open with the kids at Ledgeview Golf Club. (Courtesy of Ledgeview Golf Club)

    Brady Stead watches Nick Taylor's win at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open with the kids at Ledgeview Golf Club. (Courtesy of Ledgeview Golf Club)

    Back at Ledgeview, Stead – the director of instruction who has been at the course for almost a half-decade – said since 2021 the total number of junior-golf rounds has risen by 23 percent, with junior membership numbers having increased by 28 percent. The junior development program at the club has increased from six kids to 30 this year.

    Nick Taylor hits golf balls in front of kids at Ledgeview Golf Club. (Courtesy of Ledgeview Golf Club)

    Nick Taylor hits golf balls in front of kids at Ledgeview Golf Club. (Courtesy of Ledgeview Golf Club)

    The happiest and biggest surprise, he said, was that on junior nights the non-member green fee total (which reflects kids looking to give golf a try) went up 84 percent between 2022 and 2023.

    “We had to change our booking policy because of the demand,” Stead said. “It’s definitely a huge attraction to Ledgeview because of what those guys have done. It really does bring a lot of kids to the facility to think, maybe one day, they could be just like them.”

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