Golf-wise, book-wise, Catawba father and son follow same path
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023
By Toby Thorpe
For the Stanly News & Press
Chad and Chase Clayton both developed a love of golf as youngsters.
Both were outstanding golfers while in high school, Chad at North Stanly, Chase at West Stanly.
Both earned the opportunity to play their favorite sport beyond high school, and both chose to pursue degrees at Catawba College.
While playing, both have recorded three holes-in-one, and both have scored one double-eagle (an even rarer feat).
And both were recognized in their senior years (Chad in 1996, Chase this year) not only as the top academic golfers in the South Atlantic Conference, but also for earning the top grade point average among graduating Catawba College athletes.
“Golf has always been a big part of our lives,” said Chad, a 1992 North Stanly graduate. I started playing as a youngster.”
“Same for me … I was about 4 or 5,” Chase added.
Chad earned a degree in information systems from Catawba, leading to a 20-plus year career in the Family Dollar corporate office, and now works in sales for Brothers Trading Co. His observation of college golf in 2023 is that the game has changed for the better in the 27 years since his college days.
“It’s a different situation now” he said. “Youngsters are starting to play the game earlier, and that leads to better scores and better competition than when I was playing.”
Chase, a business administration major with a concentration in management, credits family tradition with his drive to excel in the classroom as well as on the golf course.
“We have high expectations academically,” interjected Chad, who added that he faced the same expectations as he grew up, before noting that Chase, who played through the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, faced some very unique challenges as a result.
“It was an interesting and tough time with the obstacles to learning that COVID presented,” he said, citing remote learning and online classes as examples.
Both Claytons shared memories of highlights from their playing days, and not surprisingly, many of them are similar.
“Winning the top individual score at the Jack Ingram Invite at Tillery Tradition this year was a big honor,” said Chase, who added that the team as a whole finished first the following week at the Richard Rendleman tournament at the Country Club of Salisbury.
Similarly, Chad cited earning top individual honors at the Rendleman Tournament as a high water mark of his Catawba days.
As the two Claytons continue to play the game, they are no longer representing an institution of learning, but the memories of intercollegiate play will last forever.
“As a dad, it’s really cool to see how similar our college paths have been,” added Chad.