Hadley Ashton: Swinging For The Fences

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Hadley Ashton became the youngest winner of the JGAC tour chaionships

Logan Hale, Staff writer

Like many other kids in today’s generation freshman Hadley Ashton grew up doing multiple youth sports. Her busy agenda consisted of basketball, volleyball, soccer, and much more. But this list was quickly narrowed down to one sport she “fell in love with”: golf. 

 

Not only did Ashton love the game itself, but she also loved winning, and became very familiar with the top of the leaderboard at a young age. After excelling on junior platforms such as US Kids Golf, and PGA junior league, she quickly moved up the ranks, and began to compete on larger platforms, such as Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado, America Junior Golf Alliance, and multiple other mainstream associations. 

 

After excelling in her own age category, she continued to move up the ranks, and “play up” in harder age divisions.

 

“I’ve pretty much always played up with the older girls.” Ashton says. In golf, the results aren’t so much based on strength and size, but rather consistency, mental strength, and patience, all which Ashton learned early on. 

 

“I think it matured me really quickly,” she says, “Learning from them [older girls] so early on gave me a major boost, and I would say [it] put me ahead of my age group for sure… playing a sport with 18 year olds, as a 10 year old, definitely taught me a lot.” 

 

In fact, one of these older girls is 21 year old CU women’s golf player, Hailey Schalk. Not only is Schalk Hadleys friend, but also major golf mentor, as she has won many JGAC and AJGA titles herself. Growing up as neighbors with a common interest in golf, Hailey and Hadley undoubtedly spent a lot of time together, on and off the course. 

 

“There’s a difference between swing mechanics on the range, and actually playing, and Hailey really taught me how to be a player.”

— Hadley Ashton

Ashton says.

 

Within this small golf circle, Hailey’s father, Matt Shalk has also played a major role in Hadley’s life, as her long-time swing coach. 

 

“She has always been a competitor with that drive to be better and just keep improving,” says Matt.

 

In terms of drive on the course, Hadley won the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado tour championships at Denver Country Club this past weekend (October 9 – 10), and did so by a long shot. Ashton proved herself once again, claiming the title by 5 strokes. 

 

“I just got into a rhythm, and really put my game face on for this major,” she recalls. ‘Majors’ are longer, more intense/serious tournaments, and good results can be very important. This is especially true for Ashton, not only is this her first major win, but Ashton also became the youngest competitor to ever win the JGAC tour championships. 

 

Ashton will be a team member on the Erie girls golf team this upcoming spring, and “hopes to put up some good numbers this season”. “I’m definitely excited for [this season], it will be really fun and I’m looking forward to playing for a high school team.” 

 

All in all, Ashton along with a few other incoming female golfers will make up for an outstanding team, and will “hopefully bring in a great season.” Ashton says, looking forward to the scoring. Based on her win this weekend, along with many other victories, Erie has a strong new player, and this upcoming season will surely be impressive.