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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Short game mindset

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+womens+golf+head+coach+Gerrod+Chadwell+has+made+an+immediate+impact+on+the+program%2C+improving+the+teams+national+ranking+from+90th+to+14th+in+less+than+a+year.%26%23160%3B
Photo by via 12thman.com

Texas A&M women’s golf head coach Gerrod Chadwell has made an immediate impact on the program, improving the teams’ national ranking from 90th to 14th in less than a year. 

From small-town Oklahoma to the fairways of College Station, Gerrod Chadwell has traveled many miles to get to where he is today.
Since his first job as a coach in 2002, Chadwell has been awarded two NJCAA Coach of the Year awards, three AAC Coach of the Year awards and a Big 12 National Championship in 2012. But before the new Texas A&M women’s golf coach began a career of shooting birdies and escaping bunkers, he got his start on the court.
“My first love was basketball,” Chadwell said. “I played basketball year-round throughout high school, and golf was just something I did on the side. If it wasn’t for being vertically challenged, I could’ve ended up playing [basketball] at a small school somewhere.”
Born and raised in El Reno, Okla., Chadwell said he was never presented with an opportunity to receive professional instruction in the game of golf, instead falling back on limited teaching in a public school setting.
“I wasn’t formally taught how to play golf; it was just being athletic and figuring it out,” Chadwell said. “I was lucky enough to have a high school coach that cared, and I was a part of a great team where we helped each other out on how to play.”
After high school, Chadwell attended East Central University, where he played golf for four years and graduated as an All-American. Instead of pursuing a career in the PGA Tour, Chadwell wanted to take a different route.
“I was burned out, to be honest with you,” Chadwell said. “I didn’t want to chase the tour life and involve family, financial backing and everything else. I was young, single and had no strings attached, so I followed my coach to south Florida after my senior year to start teaching.”
Chadwell became an instructor at David Pelz’s golf school from 2005 through 2007. The basis of his coaching is founded upon what he learned working for Pelz, Chadwell said.
“It was just working for this guy who is a worldly known teacher,” Chadwell said. “Dave has a system that is simple in nature, scientific in nature and that allows you to be very efficient in your game.”
The majority of what he taught in Florida was chipping, putting and wedge shots, Chadwell said.
“He gave me a basis to teach off in our sport that can impact the ladies more in the shorter shots rather than the longer shots,” 
Chadwell said. “It is just funny how the basis of my career in golf affects our sport’s scoring standpoint the most.”
With his father being a coach and his mother and sister working in education, coaching was inevitable as his future career, he said. An opportunity came up in his hometown to coach a women’s golf team at a junior college, marking his first collegiate coaching job.
“It was just timing and a God thing that my first coaching job was at a junior college in my hometown,” Chadwell said. “It’s just funny how things work and how that paved the way for my coaching career.”
And his new job wasn’t even his biggest blessing, Chadwell said.
To many golf fans around the world, Stacy Lewis is an icon. To Chadwell, she is so much more, as the two have now been married for five years. He met his future wife thanks to Lewis’ college coach, Chadwell said.
Lewis won two major championships in her career: the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011 and the Women’s British Open in 2013. She also won two LPGA Player of the Year awards in 2012 and 2014, which made her the first female golfer to win the award out of the United States since Beth Daniel in 1994.
“[Lewis] was on tour at the time [of us being introduced to each other],” Chadwell said. “We met in 2015, and she was coming off as back-to-back Player of the Year and being No. 1 in the world. It sounds pretty ignorant to say she was kind of a big deal in her sport, and I didn’t really know a lot about her.”
His relationship with Lewis has positive and negative effects on his coaching style with the athletes he coaches, he said.
“When I was first exposed to her world, I saw that side of women who play at a very high level, and you come back off the road with her and try to hold our ladies to the same standard, and that’s not fair to them,” Chadwell said. “On the positive side, it’s just being around those instructors and just learning at the highest level, I would say that is the one way it has affected me in a positive way. It’s just me learning, teaching and everything else.”
Between his coaching profession and his wife’s success on a competitive level, Chadwell said he is constantly surrounded by all things golf. Additionally, he grew up in an era when Tiger Woods was a national icon, acting as the face of the sport, he said.
“If I was clicking on the TV to watch golf, it was when [Woods] was in attention or had a chance to win,” Chadwell said. “I really didn’t know anything about [Stacey], which probably helped me get to this point. I wasn’t a fanboy or anything like that.”
On Oct. 25, 2018, Chesnee Lynn was born to the couple, and she made an immediate impact on the coach’s newfound double-lifestyle balancing coaching and fatherhood, Chadwell said.
“I would say that all my players understand I coach out of love and not fear,” Chadwell said. “Now, when I look at our ladies I realize that they are somebody’s daughter. You just come from a different angle when you’re encouraging them, motivating them and you’re coming from just a totally different place than maybe where I was before I had my daughter.”
From a standpoint of quality of life and family, the journey from small-town Oklahoma to College Station has been phenomenal, Chadwell said.
“It’s … that old cliche. From the inside, it’s hard to explain it, and from the outside, you will never understand it,’’ Chadwell said. “The common question when I cross people on campus is, ‘How long do you think you’ll be here?’ I think every kid and every family knows this is my place and this is the last stop for this family.”
Chadwell’s impact at A&M is already noticable. After being ranked 90th in the nation last May, the A&M women’s golf team has climbed the ladder to 14th.
“We set some records, we tied some records and the girls have responded so well to the coaching change and the cultural change,” Chadwell said. “They have worked so hard, and they are just a joy to be around. I pinch myself every day. It is just awesome to be a part of.”

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