We’ve all heard stories about the crazy lives of Mini Tour players and the struggles they sometimes face. Ben Hadden, who has been playing professionally since 2018 and in his first season on the PGA Tour Canada, has built a large following on social media and shared his experiences with swing tips and fun golf videos.
Last Sunday, Hadden’s satisfaction got a little more real when the 24-year-old shared that his clubs had been stolen from the parking lot after a round at Squaw Creek Golf Club in Fort Worth, forcing him to withdraw from the All Pro Tour event.
Hadden estimates the set’s replacement value at $5,000, a major expense for any Mini-Tour player struggling for nominal wallets while also covering their travel and tournament fees.
While it’s a significant amount of money, Hadden says, that’s not what he’s most worried about.
“I’m more concerned with rebuilding my bag,” says Hadden. “I was fit at GolfMD in Kansas City a few years ago and since then there have been a lot of little tweaks in the KC area thanks to Bob Boring to get them dialed in. It’s definitely a setback.”
Happily, Hadden knows his specs well enough, but the real problem is the demand for golf clubs right now.
Hadden explains that certain shafts he uses have been backordered for months, so he has to settle for something close. And the most personal club in his bag, a Scotty Cameron putter, isn’t even made anymore, so Hadden expects it’ll be particularly difficult to replace.
But Hadden is no stranger to adversity – and he’s hoping that tough past experiences will help him get through it. “I have missed [Monday qualifiers] I missed by a shot [securing] status by a shot. I slept in my car,” he says.
Hadden originally posted the video below to share pictures and details of his set in the hopes that someone in the area would recognize it and he wouldn’t have to build from scratch – but the response he received was overwhelming.
One of Hadden’s followers suggested starting a GoFundMe where followers could donate money to help cover the cost of his new set. With help from Hadden’s supporters and Fire Pit Collective writer Ryan French, who runs the popular @MondayQinfo Twitter page, whose followers are particularly willing to help aspiring tour pros. Hadden hit his target within 24 hours.
When asked about his followers’ enthusiasm to help with the cost of replacing his racquets, Hadden said he didn’t expect people to want to help financially.
“I really wanted to put some eyes on my racquets and improve the chances that they made it back to me,” says Hadden.
And here’s the best news: every dollar Hadden raises over and above the cost of his set will be donated to The First Tee.
“I felt awkward accepting the money, but I didn’t want the golf community to miss an opportunity to do something good, so I started GoFundMe with the hope that my donations would help grow the game can,” says Hadden.
Hadden says if the brands he works with can help him with the cost of his clubs, Hadden will donate the full amount to The First Tee to help get more kids golfing.
While it’s an unfortunate experience, we’re happy to hear there’s a little happy ending for Hadden. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he finds his clubs and that The First Tee can use the money to teach more kids the core values that golf teaches, which Hadden jokes doesn’t include stealing. Click here to donate to his GoFundMe.