Golf Academy of America student chooses new life on links

Oct 25, 2012

After 15 years in the insurance industry, Karlene Hadley traded her corporate life for a chance at a second career in the golf industry.

Ms. Hadley graduated from the University of Minnesota at Mankato where she studied business and finance. After college, she moved to Arizona where she landed a job in commercial insurance and later became a marketing manager for a brokerage firm.

Along the way, in her 20s, she took up golf at the suggestion of her friends. It was a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors during precious out-of-office time.

She worked as a multi-line commercial insurance underwriter and production operations manager in Arizona, a decidedly golf-rich state where she kept at the game, enjoying it more and more. When she could ignore the call of golf no longer, she walked away from her successful career for a new challenge in a different industry.

Ms. Hadley, at age 43, quit her job and signed up for classes at Golf Academy of America in Phoenix.

"My family and friends supported me and my dream to start over and attend golf school," she said. "It was a difficult decision to leave my career of 15 years but I felt that I had tapped into every facet of the business industry and it was time to step out from behind the computer and start a new chapter in my life."

Ms. Hadley is on track to graduate from Golf Academy of America in December 2013. She aims to focus on teaching golf to women pursuing business degrees as well as those already in business fields.

"The game of golf is a wonderful networking sport and playing actually improved my business life," said Hadley. "I didn't expect the opportunities the game brought to me with my career but I quickly learned that golf is the ultimate relationship builder."