As the most important season of his career begins to wind down, Adam Hadwin can survey the rugged terrain he’s travelled and understand everything has happened for a reason.

Maybe, it wasn’t clear at the time.

Maybe, he could have done without some of those crummy hotel rooms in Valdosta or Wichita when he was sitting 80-something on the tour last year.

But, as Bobby Jones once said, he learned a lot more from his defeats than his victories, and in three years on golf’s AAA circuit, Hadwin has fully absorbed most of the life lessons the game can throw his way.

“I thought I’d get there sooner, but I’m probably not the only one who thought that,” Hadwin said from just outside San Francisco where he’s teeing it up in the Stonebrae Classic this week.

“I think everything I’ve gone through, everything I’ve experienced, will help me next year. It’s all shaped who I am.”

Yes, at the ripe old age of 26, the Abbotsford native has gained experience and an edge hardened by surviving in golf’s minor league. But, the best part of all this is, soon, he’ll also have a PGA card to go along with all that perspective and, soon, he’ll find out if it was all worth it.

Hadwin, who’s gone from phenom to afterthought to accomplished pro in the space of three years, is about to matriculate from the to The Show on the strength of something of a breakout season. Back in March, he recorded his first win in that noted golf Mecca, Santiago, Chile, backed it up with four other top 10s and now sits eighth on the’s money list with just over $220,000 in earnings.

That placement is significant because the top 25 players on that tour graduate to the PGA beginning in October. This means Hadwin can play left-handed over the final six weeks of the lesser tour and still procure his card, but he has goals beyond merely taking the next step in his career.

“I feel I’ve been tested the last three years here,” he said. “I think I’m ready, but the last thing I want is to bounce back and forth. I want to get up there and stay there.”

And that’s not as easy as it sounds.

In reviewing his season, Hadwin said there hasn’t been one dramatic improvement or one momentous change in his game or his approach. Rather, he’s improved incrementally in a number of areas while learning to play and prepare, “smarter.”

That doesn’t sound like much. But it’s the final step in the education of a pro and the classwork Hadwin was missing when he finished fourth in the 2011 Canadian Open at Shaughnessy and almost made the PGA three years ago. That was followed by a heartbreaking setback in 2012 — when he was aced out of the 25th spot on the last day of the last tournament by James Hahn who made a birdie on the last hole in the last group — along with a miserable 2013 (74th) that provided a careers-worth of character building.

Then came 2014.

In the second tournament of this year, Hadwin finished birdie-birdie to take the semi-coveted Chile Classic by a shot and it’s been a relatively smooth ride since. The next salient is finishing as strongly as possible to improve his standing in the PGA’s various reshuffles. To that end, there is considerable pressure on Hadwin to perform well early to maintain his standing on the big tour, but if he was looking for inspiration there, he doesn’t have to look far.

Of the 25 players who graduated last year, nine are in the top 125 of the PGA Tour, which places them within the cutoff point of maintaining their card for next year. They include Brendan Todd, who finished 11th on the Web. com last year and currently sits 13th on the PGA money list with a win and just over $3 million in earnings. Five others sit in the top 60, all of which means, if you can play on the tour, you can play on the PGA.

“I know those guys,” said Hadwin. “I know I can play with them.”

As for the game’s other rewards, Hadwin has some charisma working for him and the corporate world has been aware of his marketing potential since his performance at Shaughnessy three summers ago.

He’s now represented by Sportbox Group, a firm which handles Canadian touring pros Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and Mike Weir, and Hadwin has signed endorsements deal with Belfor and Shaw, the telecommunications giant which also handles DeLaet.

“Adam is trending in this direction,” said David Fritz, the CEO of Sportbox.

“He’s not that one-hit wonder the corporate world will be afraid of. The consumer knows who Adam is, and the corporate world will know who he is.”

If, of course, he establishes himself at the next level, and Hadwin doesn’t exactly suffer from a lack of confidence there. When asked if there was a point in 2013 when he started to have doubts, he answered: “I don’t there’s every been a point when I didn’t think I was going to get there. There might have been a point where I thought I was further away and I had to work harder to reach my goals. But there was never any doubt I’d get there.”

He continued: “I’ve played in nine PGA events already, but it will be a completely different feeling standing on that first tee with my PGA card as a member of the tour. I’m looking forward to battling the emotions in that first event and the first month. But I want all that. This is where I’ve wanted to be.”

And he can say he’s earned the right to be there.