There are some fun parties planned this week–this one was on Monday night.
(Fair warning: This is the longest post I’ve ever written, mainly for my benefit to look back on. If you came to see the nursery reveal pictures, scroll to the bottom :P).
I cannot believe it’s the last tournament of the year. I actually have a hard time believing all that has happened to us this year. To give you some perspective (and encourage all of you aspiring golfers out there!), this time last year, we were gearing up for another round of Q-school. There is no way to overstate how much I dislike Q-school. It’s a Cinderella story for a select few and a miserable experience for the rest. Chesson had a great year on the eGolf Tour and went into the first stage of Q-school feeling good. 4 days and 1 too many shots later, he was out. Missed the cut by 1 stroke and just like that, we were in a holding pattern for another year. I was in Chapel Hill with my dad for the UNC-State football game when Chesson called me with the news. Literally the only good thing about that day was that the Tarheels won… otherwise it was a pretty terrible day. Chess was bummed from golf reasons and I was heartbroken because it seemed like my dream of starting a family was on hold for another year. (There are plenty of people who have kids while playing the mini tours, but we had decided not to go that route).
I tried my best to encourage Chess but by the time he got back home that night, I broke down. I was so sad to think that we would be apart 3 weeks a month for another year and there were no baby plans on the horizon. We knew God had a plan in it all and decided to trust Him, but it didn’t make that week any easier. Chesson had already planned to play in an eGolf event that week and if they had allowed him to withdraw, he most definitely would have. But, I think them not letting him withdraw was a blessing in disguise. He left for the tournament with little desire to play and had a terrible round the first day. I don’t even remember what he shot, but it was bad and that was about the point he hit rock bottom. Not only was he out after first stage of Q-school, but it looked like he was about to miss a cut on the tour he had dominated all year. I think that was a defining moment for him because he could’ve easily thrown in the towel, missed the cut the next day and come home and not touched a club for 3 months. We talked that night about battling through this tough time and not letting it get the best of us. The next day, he played well enough to make the cut and on Friday, the last tournament day, he shot a really low round to post a good finish. That good round reminded him that he really did love golf, his life wasn’t in the pits, and we would embrace whatever the next year held. He came home that night in the best spirits he had been in the whole week and then the phone rang…
Karen from the PGA Tour called to tell him that another player (our good friend Blayne) had disqualified himself after 1st round which moved the cut line by a stroke. Along with 6 other players, Chesson was headed to 2nd stage. In the span of 60 seconds, the prospect for our entire year had changed. We were elated and were immediately making plans for 2nd stage in California. Most of you know the story by now, but Chesson played really well in 2nd stage (on the course that had kicked his butt 2 years earlier) and earned a spot in final stage. Since final stage was also in California a week later, Chesson stayed out there. I had decided to let him do the Q-school thing himself last year, so I wasn’t at the tournaments but that week in between happened to be Thanksgiving week. A last minute flight to California the week of Thanksgiving does not come cheap, so I thought I probably wouldn’t see him, but the couple he was staying with offered to fly me out there first class to spend Thanksgiving with them and their friends. It was crazy—total strangers had not only invited Chesson to stay an extra week with them during Thanksgiving, but also to bring me out there. So, we spent Thanksgiving last year in Murrieta, CA, with a bunch of people we had never met. If this whole series of events isn’t unbelievable enough, they set Chesson up with some friends of friends who had a house on the golf course at PGA West which is where Final Stage was being held. Again, we were just thankful for a connection. Turns out, this house was the largest one in PGA West and one of the most extravagant houses I’ve ever seen. I was bummed I was flying back home! I left Chess in California to finish the job and after 6 grueling rounds, he walked away with full status on the Web.com Tour for 2013.
By the time February came around and the Web.com Tour season started, we were excited for the unknown (and secretly planning on trying for a baby). Although I hoped and prayed Chesson would get his PGA Tour card his rookie year, I was realistic that it takes most guys a couple years, so having a baby in October would be the perfect time as the Web.com Tour has a 4 month offseason. Chesson kept insisting that he knew we would get pregnant on the first try and I kept trying to quell his expectations and tell him it usually took a while. Turns out, he was right. When I met him in Chile in March, I broke the news to him that he was going to be a Dad. It was such a special trip as it was the first time I saw Chesson playing on the tour, we explored a beautiful country, and secretly celebrated our big news.
From February-April, Chesson’s season was pretty average. He was making cuts (which we were super thankful for), but not posting any great finishes. We just kept trucking along, always thankful that we were at least on this tour and not struggling to pay bills. May came around and something clicked. Starting with the BMW tournament in SC, he began playing incredibly well. That same week, I got a call with a new job offer that was almost too good to be true. People I liked at a company I liked, better pay, and working 100% remotely. A week later, we had our level 2 ultrasound where they confirmed that everything looked great with our baby. To say we were stoked is an understatement. In a week’s time, our year had once again changed dramatically. He posted a couple more good finishes and by the time June came around, Chesson was ready to go dominate our hometown event—the Rex Open.
You all know how that week went and we were once again blown away at how God had blessed us. Winning that tournament was the highlight of Chesson’s professional career thus far and locked up his PGA Tour card for next year. Since then, we’ve tried to keep everything the same and not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve traveled to as many tournaments as I can, we’ve still done host housing most of the time, and other than the big car purchase you will see below, we’ve pretty much kept our same “standard of living”. We’ve been invited to incredible dinners, been introduced to some fascinating people, and experienced special blessings in every city. Chesson has had some good finishes and some rough patches, but he finished #3 on the regular season money list and has made every cut in the playoffs so far.
We are here in Ponte Vedra with the last tournament in front of us. It’s the last time we will see a lot of the people we’ve become close to this year (at least for a little while) and the last time we will be on the road together as a couple. The PGA Tour season starts in 2 weeks and our baby should be here in 4. What we thought would be the perfect time to have a baby ended up being a time when Chesson will be on the other side of the country, but we certainly can’t complain about having a PGA Tour card. Sometimes we look at each other and just can’t believe all that has transpired in a year. Although life is not always sunshine and roses and even this year we’ve had some struggles, we are fully aware how fortunate we are. Many people would call us lucky, but I think it takes more faith to believe this was all coincidence than it does to believe this was orchestrated by God. I put some of these details in here, like the first-class flight and getting pregnant on the first try, not to toot our own horn (as we had no say in either!) but to give credence to how we have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams.
One lesson that really rooted in my heart this year is that comparison is the thief of joy. It may be easy for some people to be envious of our life right now, just as it’s easy for us to look to some of our peers and wish for what they have, but in the end, both are fruitless and bring nothing but dissatisfaction. Just as we had no idea what this year had in store, we have no idea what the next year has in store. We could easily be back at this same tournament next year fighting to keep the PGA Tour card. I can promise you we will do everything we can to keep everything in perspective, work hard, and just enjoy the ride!
If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed and I hope reading our story encourages you. I know it was long, but I literally think I could fill a whole book if I wrote out every detail. It’s a story I will cherish in my heart forever and tell our children about.
As I promised last week, I finally revealed the nursery to Chesson and our family. It came together exactly how I’d hoped. I am the most indecisive person in the world on most things, but I’ve known for years that I wanted an all-white/ cream nursery and I never wavered. It is so peaceful to me and I love to just walk in the room and think about our little baby in there (although with our schedule next year, there’s a good chance the baby spends less than 20 nights in the nursery in total). Hope you enjoy the pictures–and pretend the crib skirt is there!
And finally, here is the other new member of our family, named Sue by Chesson. I typically don’t like white cars, but I love the look of white Tahoes, so that was on my wish list, along with captain’s chairs and a backup camera. Sue has all the bells and whistles and the dealership installed the car seat for us, so we are ready to go!
Thank you all for following us on this journey. We are excited to share with you all that lies ahead.
P.S. If all the above wasn’t enough, we have one more piece of exciting news to share. Chesson ended up with his caddy Josh this year after a series of fortunate circumstances and he began coming to TourLife bible study with us on Tuesday nights. Well, last night was the last one of the year and Josh decided to get baptized. So cool!