Current Residence: Cockeysville, Md.
Hometown: Lebanon, Pa.
College: Millersville University
- Member of the Millersville University Hall of Fame
- Three-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Honors (1999, 2000, 2001)
- Won 13 collegiate events while attending Millersville University
- NCAA Division II All American
- One win and one runner-up in the Middle Atlantic PGA Section (MAPGA)
Since Big Break Mexico…
The eighth competitor eliminated from Big Break Mexico, Chad says competing on the series changed his outlook on golf. A PGA of America apprentice, Schulze put his apprenticeship on hold to pursue his dream of making it to the PGA TOUR.
“Since Big Break Mexico, my mentality has changed to being a player,” says Chad. “Before, I used to say that I teach golf. Now, I say that I play golf for a living.”
In between Big Breaks, he has competed in several mini-tour events and two Middle Atlantic PGA Section events, finishing sixth and third, respectfully in the MAPGA.
“I’m quite pleased with my progress and feel I am a stronger player,” explained Chad. But it all needs to come together. Hopefully it will on this next Big Break.”
BIG BREAK MEXICO BIO
Chad Schulze jokes that his life story would be a great segment for The View.
Growing up with his aunt and uncle after his parents divorced, Chad was first introduced to golf by his father at a young age as a way to bond with each other when they had “Father Sundays.” The two tried other sports and activities, but golf seemed to click with both. They both were hooked with the game immediately.
“The golf course was our bonding time growing up,” recalled Chad. “I got hooked after watching the 1986 Masters and Jack Nicklaus’ victory. My dad and I would go practice all of the time.”
When Chad first stepped on the golf course for his first official round with his father, he shot an 88 and his father shot an 89. Chad was 9-years-old.
“The golf course was my home growing up, because I really didn’t have a “family-type” home,” says Chad. “I wanted to be out on the golf course all of the time.”
Chad also developed a temper on the golf course growing up, a product of his home environment, where he built up a lot of emotion and frustration. Golf tended to be his outlet to where he vented his frustrations.
While he was a growing talent on the golf course, he also was extremely hard on himself at the same time. Still, American University in Washington, D.C. took a chance on Chad, knowing his potential, and offered him a partial scholarship.
After his freshman year, he left American due to personal and family reasons. He took time away from school and worked at a golf course while he figured out his next step in his college career – and his life.
“I was driving down the highway in Pennsylvania one afternoon and saw a sign for Millersville University, so I turned off to see what the school was like,” recalls Chad. “I had never been to the town before, and I couldn’t explain what made me turn off. But I did.”
Next thing he knew, he was hitting balls on the driving range next to the Millersville golf coach, Scott Vandegrift. They shook hands and struck up a conversation. Two days later, Chad enrolled in the University and earned a spot on the golf team, ultimately receiving a scholarship.
In three years at Millersville, he earned all-conference honors (1999, 2000 and 2001); individual runner-up in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship in 2000; led his team to the school’s first PSAC Championship in 1999 and took medalist honors at the 2001 Division II North Regional, the first time the school advance to Division II Regionals in history, and as a result competed in the 2001 NCAA Division II National Championships, the first player in Millersville history to compete in the tournament.
Through all of his accolades on the golf course, his biggest achievement came at the hands of his coach, who helped him overcome his temper and frustrations.
“Coach Vandegrift helped me get my career, and life for that matter, back on track,” explains Chad. “I was a head case on the golf course, and he did everything he could to straighten me out. I can’t thank him enough for taking a chance on me.”
Unlike the majority of his fellow competitors on Big Break, Chad did not turn professional following graduation. He had the desire and the passion, just not the means financially, and turned to the business-side of golf. He moved to Louisiana took a position with Country Club of Louisiana.
After his relationship and job did not work out, Chad felt lost, and hung up the golf clubs for a period of time due to resentment.
Through the encouragement of his lifelong friend, Dave Brown, who also is a pastor, he attended a church service while still living in Louisiana. He credits the message he heard as a life-changer.
“The theme of the sermon was, ‘Ever feel like you are missing something in life?’ That message spoke directly to me. I realized I needed to try resolve some issues in my personal life then focus on my professional life.”
Eventually, Chad became re-acquainted with his half-sister that he had not seen since he was 7-years-old. More importantly for Chad, he re-established a relationship with his mother, whom he had not seen since he was 5. Being part of a family for the first time in years put things in perspective for Chad, both on and off the course.
On the golf course, he always had a passion teaching people and helping to improve their swings, and was finding his passion. In 2009, he turned professional and embarked on the PGA of America Apprenticeship program, working most recently at Greystone Golf Club in Maryland.
Finally at peace with his life off the golf course, he also was finding peace on the course through teaching. But his desire to give professional golf another try never faded. He says he applied to compete on Big Break because he knows he can make it to the PGA TOUR, he just needs that extra push.
Big Break Mexico might be that push he needs.