How Pain Gave Caleb Hung Perspective, Newfound Love for a Career in Golf

Table of Contents

Game Changers

Caleb Hungs Pain-Gave Perspective, Newfound Love for Golf Career

By Caleb Hung, PGA
Published on

I remember it was a good day — an otherwise ordinary day, but good nonetheless.

After returning from playing in a tournament for two days, I was all back at work and enjoying the crisp fall air and sunshine. After helping Mrs. Lindsey with her clubs, I was returning to the parking lot when things suddenly got very strange.

I took refuge in my office, the lights off, and the door closed. I thought to myself, “Do I feel like I have a migraine or am I just having a headache? Is this how a migraine feels?” I had never had one before, only hearing that they were a nuisance and could be, at times, debilitating. After about 15 minutes, I finally decided to take my co-workers’ advice and head home for the day.

I drove the 30-minute distance home with only one eye open. I cursed every red light that I saw, cursing each one of them, and rinsing my head in the hope that the pain would stop. I crawled up the staircase, went to the bathroom for some Advil and finally fell asleep. I felt my head pounding but knew that everything would be okay.

This is how I sleep at night,” I thought. “I’ll be okay.”

Spoiler alert: I was wrong and it was not okay. Multiple times throughout the night, I felt nauseated and started sweating.

The next morning arrived in agonizingly slow times and no relief was found. After suffering 15 hours of the worst head pain I had ever felt (I know, I waited a long time; I’m stubborn), I finally decided to seek medical attention. I went to the local pharmacy clinic first. There, they offered me the opportunity to take, swallow, or inject any medication that they wanted. During the appointment, I recapped the past day and outlined all the symptoms I had been experiencing — and the clinician could only give me a wide-eyed stare.

“You need to see a doctor,” he said.

In my head I mutter, “I thought that’s what I was doing…is this guy not a doctor?

“You need to go to the emergency room immediately,” he said.

I slumped my way out of the building and back to my car, where I Google-mapped “emergency room” to locate the nearest hospital. I was admitted not too long after arrival (honestly, I was surprised that it didn’t take longer), and eventually the nursing staff took me in for an MRI.

“You have a brain bleed,” said the real doctor, after reviewing my results. “We need to run some more tests, but you’ll have to stay with us for a little while.”

I would spend seven more days in the hospital. I had a few procedures to assess the extent and I was also monitored and given lots of Dilaudid (also called morphine). At the end of it all, the diagnosis was “Acute Non-Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.”

“What the heck does that mean?”

Short answer: Blood got into my brain from a malformed vein (that’s what caused the incredibly painful headache), and then the vein resolved itself. There was no need for surgery, no therapy, or any other medications. The doctor just said that I should go home and rest for a month.

When I asked what caused this and whether it would happen again, the doctor said, “We’re not positive about the cause; it’s typically something you’re just born with. It’s unlikely to reoccur, and for most, this is a one-time-only thing.”

It was promising news, but there was a catch. I asked if there was anything I needed to start doing differently, like any dramatic health or lifestyle changes I would have to make, and the doctor confidently told me, “No, patients rarely, if ever, experience any further issues. Just go about your normal life, you’ll be fine.”

I thought, “Thanks, doc…but really, that’s it? I just spent a week in the hospital with a headache. This is the most expensive headache Ive ever had!

After some time, I was back at work at the club, returning to my regular routines and engaging in familiar activities. This return-to-normalcy was comforting, but it also felt different.

I started to think more about my role and began to search for meaning in my day-today work. The business of golf isn’t always a walk in the park; the industry is certainly fun, but not without its unique challenges. In my personal experience, I’ve endured plenty of tough times, long days and thankless tasks yet have also felt great joy, made incredible friendships, and had unforgettable experiences.


Caleb Hung and Kendall Murphy, PGA. Courtney Trimble, Mackenzie Mack, PGA.
This unexpected health ordeal didn’t suddenly make me a “new person” by any means, but it did give me a new perspective on consciously identifying my passions and paying more attention to things in my life that make me happy, like golf. Simply put, I love the game and love sharing it.

I had taught my fair share of lessons over the years, and I knew teaching full-time wasn’t the joy I was looking for (sometimes, the best part of a junior lesson was giving the kid back to their parents). It took some time, but I was able to retrace my steps and think back to how it all began. My first job in golf was due to the great instructors who gave me free lessons, range balls, and rounds as a kid. They took me to tournaments, taught me things you probably shouldn’t teach kids, and eventually gave me a job. I am grateful to these instructors, all PGA Professionals, for what they did when I was growing-up.

Fast forward to now and I am in a unique place to influence the future development of the Association. As a Recruiting & Membership Engagement Specialist, my responsibility is to recruit new members. Although it sounds complicated, my approach is simple. I try to be positive and share my joy about the game of golf.


As a Member Engagement & Recruiting Specialist, Hung is responsible for shedding light on the different careers people can have in golf, and through PGA Membership.
I feel like a cliché when I think back on my time in the hospital, and my subsequent career shift. It wasn’t a life-or-death situation, and I wasn’t hanging on by a thread. All in all, I came through pretty unscathed and for that, I’m grateful — but cliche or not, my big takeaway from all of it was the realization that finding your passion and actively doing what you love is a non-negotiable.

And for me, that’s working in golf.

You are never bored! #MakeGolfYourThing!

— PGA of America (@PGA) January 25, 2023

Caleb Hung, PGA, is a Recruiting & Member Engagement Specialist for the PGA of America.

Are you interested in a career as a golf professional or PGA Member? Visit to find out more.

We also recommend

Game Changers
How a passion for golf led me to a career in the game
Game Changers
Ted Eleftheriou, PGA Member Making an Impact: PGA Members Making An Impact
Game Changers
Paul Millsap PGA WORKS Destany Hall is devoted to diversifying the game

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect, Share, and Grow with Fellow Golfers

Take Your Game to the Next Level © All Rights Reserved 2023