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PGA Winter Series - Hankley Common
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A very cold round of golf was ahead of me, the dark sky threatened rain and the wind was blowing through the tall pine and fur trees. Hankley Common was a fantastic golf course, but I wished I was playing it in the middle of the summer, not November!

I started on the 10th tee and got to the turn in 2 over par, after dropped shots at my 3rd, 7th and 9th holes and a birdie at the 6th. I dropped another shot at the 1st, my 10th but then had short biride putts at the 11th, 12th and 13th, I only got one of the putts though!

Back to 2 over, I was desperate to birdie the last two holes, a par 5 and a short par 4, but a lost ball in the heather meant I doubled the 17th. I finished with a 4 over par 75 and in a tie for 21st (see the full result here), outside the money.

Justin FiddlerRoyal St George's Invitational:
Friday, October 8, 2010

Every year Justin Fiddler (pictured right), Assistant to Andrew Brooks at Royal St George's Golf Club, Sandwich, runs a 36 hole competition for the local professional golfers in the area and the members of the golf club kindly put up the prize money for us to play for.

I didn't have a great round in the morning and could only post a score of 78 and that was with a very good back nice score of 36. The round got off to a poor start with plenty of dropped shots and then a triple bogey at the 8th hole saw me get to the turn in 42 shots. My back 9 was made up of 2 birdies at the 12th and 14th holes but these where cancelled out bu bogeys at the 10th, 15th and 16th, 2 of which were 3 putts! At lunch I was actually only 4 shots of the leader.

Joe Jezzard at Royal St George's

The afternoon was better but not a huge improvement, I played steady golf but as you always going to do round such a tough golf course I dropped more shots. I had just 5 bogeys in my round but didn't make a birdies in the afternoon, I had my chances but didn't take them. This gave me a second round score of 75 and a 36 hole total of 153, I wasn't too pleased with how I played today and wasn't expecting to pick up any prizes with such a score, but I ended up finishing in 3rd place and won a cheque for £160. I can't complain.

Winner: Max Brackley (Manston Golf Centre) 74+70 = 144
Runner up: Grant Scott (St. Augustine's GC) 76+76 = =152
Third: Joe Jezzard (Walmer & Kingsdown GC) 78+75 = 153
Best Score outside the top 3: Airen Bidwell (North Foreland GC) 75

Joe Jezzard at Royal St George's

Golf Today's very own Clive Carpenter came along and cheered me on and I would like to thank him for his support. I must also say that the golf course was in excellent condition and I would like to wish Royal St. George's all the best for the Open Championship next July.

South Region Assistants' Matchplay
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yesterday was the semi-final and final for the regional Assistants' Matchplay at Lee-on-the-Solent Golf Club (pictured below). I was drawn against Nick Smith from Golf at Goodward in one semi and the other semi was being contested between Darren Peters from Hampton Court Palace and Alex Macgregor from Addington Court.

Lee-on-the-Solent Golf Club

My match got off to a very level start with both me and Nick halving the first three holes with pars, but then back-to-back birdies on the 4th and 5th put Nick 2 up, followed by a 3-putt from myself on the 6th, and I was 3 down. I managed to get a hole back with a par at the 7th, but another birdie for Nick on the 9th put him three up at the turn.

A poor drive on the 11th and a worse second on the 12th saw me lose both holes and go 5 down! I gave it my all and managed to put Nick under pressure by winning both the 13th and 14th holes, but a missed putt from 8 feet on the 15th meant I had lost my semi-final match 4 and 3.

My day wasn't over as in the afternoon I had to go out again and take part in a 3rd and 4th place playoff against Alex Macgregor after he lost his match to Darren Peters on the 19th hole. Our match started just like my morning match, all square after 3, this time though Alex won the 1st and I won the 2nd and another birdie at the 4th saw me go one down. I also lost the 5th hole again but this time because I lost my ball!

I made a birdie at the 9th hole to get to the turn only one down, then my chance to get back to level terms came at the 11th after a great wedge shot to 8 foot. Alex was in for his par and I gave my birdie putt a good chance but hit it too hard for the break, leaving myself a horrible 2 foot putt...........MISS! This was a massive part in our match, I had just had a short putt to get back to all square after playing the last 6 holes really well and a really poor 3-putt saw me fall back to 2 down.

I was so angry with myself and then to top it all off I then attacked a tight pin position, trying to force birdies and watch my ball kick off the back of the green into deep rough, never to be seen again. I was now 3 down with only 6 to play.

The 13th is a tough par 3 and again the pin was in a tight position tucked by the front greenside bunker, my iron shot sailed into the air straight on line and was looking really good, until it fell a couple of yards short into the bunker. Alex had also found a bunker on the other side of the green and his shot was far more difficult than mine and as a result he didn't get up and down and I did, back to 2 down.

We both made good pars at the 14th, another long par 3, 225 yards to yesterday's pin position, and then I made a great par at the course's hardest hole, the 15th, being 430 yards and playing into the wind, back to 1 down! I then went on to hit a great shot into the 16th to around 10 foot, hitting a 9 iron 148 yards over a bunker to another tough pin, as you can see, I was going for everything now! My putt sat above ground on the left edge of the cup after a few bobbles saw my putt move off line.

The 17th again a par 3, not too long, 160 yards to the middle, but the smallest green on the course, I was really pumping and my swing was getting really fast so I was trying to muscle an 8 iron there, but a thin strike meant I didn't get it there and found a bunker short. The lie wasn't bad, but my stance was a bit awkward and I could only splash the ball onto the green, nowhere near the pin, Alex had knocked his chip up close and I had to now hole my 25 foot putt to get the match going down the last. Unfortunately I missed, it never really looked like going in and I had ran out of holes, losing the match 2 and 1.

I had played some very good golf over the 2 rounds, but in professional golf and especially in matchplay, it always comes down to whoever has the hottest putter and mine was ice cold. I didn't hole a thing and was always going to struggle. I am obviously very happy for reaching the semi finals, coming 4th (full results here) and earning £200, but I really wanted to win this, hopefully next year will be my year. JJ.

South Region Assistants Championship
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yesterday I played the South Region Assistants Championship, which was 36 holes at the Drift Golf Club in East Horsley, and I managed to play 9 holes in dry conditions before the heavens opened for the rest of the day, so 27 holes were played in the pouring rain, nothing like I have ever played in before! No one would play in weather like that if they didn't have too.

I warmed up as normal on the driving range and was hitting the ball very well, which is always a good start, and then went over to have a few putts on the putting green. The greens were slow but this didn't bother me as I could be positive with all of my putts.

My first hole was the 10th on the scorecard and I opened up with a par, always a nice way to calm down any nerves. I hit the next par 3 green in regulation but walked off with a bogey after a 3 putt from around 25 feet. Pars followed at 12 and 13 and I got my dropped shot back with a birdie at the 14th hole, my 5th, after hitting a hybrid to the end of the fairway and a wedge to 10 feet.

More pars followed from the 15th through to the 18th and then another par at the 1st, my 10th hole, after my tee shot found trees and I had to chip out sideways and get up and down from 75 yards. I then got another birdie at my 11th with a 12 foot putt down the hill, which got me to 1 under par for my round.

Unfortunately I then got on a bogey run with bogeys at my 12th, 13th and 14th, which took me to 2 over par. I nearly fought back to level par, with a birdie at the par 5 8th, my 17th, with a driver and a 5 iron good enough to find the putting surface in under regulation and then my hybrid found the putting surface on the short 250 yard par 4 9th, my last hole. Another 3 putt meant I didn't make birdie and I would have to settle for a score of 74, 1 over par.

This score put me in a tie for 11th place after round 1. I had just played the last 9 holes in the rain, but it wasn't heavy enough to need waterproofs, but as we sat down for lunch the rain started to fall heavier and heavier, the next 18 holes were going to be a lot tougher than the morning's round.

I teed off the 1st hole in the afternoon and started with two pars, but bogeyed the 3rd hole again, just like in my morning round, but got that shot back on the 6th hole after my approach shot from 120 yards finished 2 feet from the flag. I completed the front nine in level par and I was now soaked, my grips were dripping and I was losing the battle to keep anything dry.

I bogeyed the 10th hole after my drive found trees and then another bogey came at the 14th after I hit my tee shot with what felt like only one hand on the club at impact. I did manage to make another birdie at the par 3 16th hole, where I hit a 9 iron pin high to around 18 feet. The green was holding so much water that the PGA organisers were there at hand to squeeze the water off my line. I was glad they did as I rolled my putt straight into the middle of the hole!

I made a steady par up the 17th and stood on the 18th tee 1 over par for my afternoon round and 2 over par for the tournament. I knew that a birdie on this downhill par 5 would move me up the field a lot of spaces and make me some more money. I didn't get greedy and stuck to my game plan and hit 3 wood for my tee shot, but my grip, glove and right hand were so wet that I just couldn't hold onto the club tight enough to stop it from twisting, this opened the club face and my ball went 45 degrees right. I did manage to find my ball and chip it back out in to the fairway, I wanted a par now to maintain my position and had to go for the green with another 3 wood. This time the ball went straight but wasn't long enough to reach the green, so I would have to get up and down for my par from 50 yards. I hit a good pitch which landed just short of the hole but ran away to the left finishing about 12 feet away. I gave the putt a good go and made sure I didn't leave it short, but this additional pace meant the ball didn't move enough and shave the left edge of the hole.

Finishing with a bogey was very frustrating and gave me an afternoon score of 75, 2 over par and a total of 149, 3 over par for the tournament. Considering the conditions I thought that I would have moved up the field from lunch time, but I actually lost a few places and finished in a tie for 16th and picked up a cheque for £92.50. (See the full results here) A birdie on the last would have moved me into a tie for 7th, so I wasn't far away from winning a very nice sum of money.

Evidence of a very wet, four glove day at Drift GC!

I got so wet out on the golf course that I went through 4 gloves, as you can see from the photos, but I did manage to use the same ball for all 36 holes! JJ.

666 - the devil's number
Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yesterday's (Saturday) event was the Dartford Pro-Am and was played in fantastic sunshine all day. I hadn't played the golf course for a very long time and could only remember the first and last holes, as you do!

I met my team on the putting green and was greeted with a pleasant surprise, a team of three juniors. The juniors always know what lines are best to take off the tee and are always super competitive, then an added bonus was the club's junior organiser asking me if it was OK if one of the juniors who wasn't playing could caddie for me, I'd had a result there!

My round was a strange round one and nothing like I had ever before. I had managed to go round with 6 birdies, 6 bogeys and 6 pars. Making it worse (or should I say more consistent?), I had played both the back 9 and front 9 with 3 birdies, 3 bogeys and 3 pars!

I had birdied the 2nd, 3rd and 6th hole on the front 9, but bogeyed the 1st, 7th and 9th, followed by birdies at the 12th, 17th and 18th, which were cancelled out by dropped shots at the 13th, 14th and 16th. I managed to get to 2 under par through 6 holes but then found myself 2 over par after 16 holes, but I made birdies at the last two holes, both short par 4s, to finish with a level par 69.

By the end of the day my score gave me a tied 10th finish and a cheque of just over £103 (full result here). I have now picked up money at my last four events and I don't feel as if I am playing that well, but scraping together a score. I am looking forward to when all of my game comes together. I now have nearly a month off from playing as my head professional is getting married next week, so I am in charge of the shop for the most of August. JJ.

A day with the President
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today's tournament was the Langley Park Centenary Pro-Am, the event had a different format compared to normal, as the Pros were selected to play by the South Region's Titleist Sales rep, who is a member at Langley Park and were paid to play (£100), which meant there was no individual score, just a team event.

I played with the club's President and two other members, we had an enjoyable round of golf, but unfortunately my team mates didn't bring their A-game, so would could only manage a level par team score, with the winners getting to 15 under par! (See full result here)

I played well and would have probably picked money up in an individual event, but this format did allow me to relax and take on a few shots that I probably wouldn't have done with a card in my hand. I had a great day and I hope my amateur partners enjoyed my company. JJ.

South Region Order of Merit - Tylney Park Classic Rounds 1 and 2
July 13-14, 2010

I had never played Tylney Park before my first round, but I have been playing well recently and I was confident that I could make the cut this week, especially after missing out by one shot at Gatton Manor.

When I arrived the golf course I was welcomed with some heavy rain and a forecast that didn't look like improving. I played the first three holes in regulation, fairway, green, 2 putts, I also hit the 4th green in regulation, but as another heavy downpour was taking place I made a 3 putt from about 25 feet. I made up for this bogey with birdies and the short 6th hole and then holing a putt from off the green for birdie on the 7th hole. I reached the turn in 35 shots, 1 under par.

I got another birdie at the 11th hole, after having to hit a 4 iron off the tee to avoid fairway bunkers, then a 3 wood for my 2nd shot came up just short of the green, followed by a solid chip and putt. I then played very steady golf for the remaining holes with birdie chances to get to 3 under par, but I had pars at 12 through to 17.

The 18th is a blind tee shot with trees blocking out any shots right, so I laid up with a 4 iron, leaving me with a 5 iron into the green. The pin was cut close to the greenside bunkers on the right hand side of the green, so I ignored the pin and tried to hit the middle of the green, but I missed the green left and missed a 6 foot putt for my par.

This gave me a round of 1 under par 71 and I had made the cut by two shots, the cut was the top 33 and tied professionals and I was laying tied 18th after round 1 and 6 shots off the lead.

My second round got off to a much better start, I could have been 4 under through 4, after hitting all of my approach shots inside 10 feet, but I only managed to hole 2 of the 4 putts, so I was 2 under for 4 holes and 3 under for the tournament.

My round started to go downhill with bogeys on the 5th, 7th and 8th after hitting bad shots left of the target on all 3 holes, but I was only 1 over par for my front nine and level par for the tournament, so I wasn't too concerned. Then my round got away from me on the next two holes, I found a fairway bunker off the 10th tee and got greedy, trying to hit a hybrid out and combined with deep rough and a 3 putt, I made a triple bogey 7. Now I must admit I showed my inexperience here by having a complete head off and then hit driver off the 11th tee, which is never the shot and I lost my ball in some trees, I then went on to make another double bogey 7.

I had dropped 5 shots in 2 holes and was now 6 over par for my round, I managed to calm down on the 12th tee and now had a hard task not to shot 80. I hadn't shot 80 or above this season and didn't want to now, so I set myself another target and had to forget about my last 2 holes.

I played the remaining 7 holes well and only dropped one more shot at the 499 yard par 4 16th, a par up the 18th meant I had broken 80, but finished with a 7 over par 79 and finished the tournament on 6 over par (see full result here). I was obviously very disappointed with my second round performance but was still very happy that I had made the cut in an Order of Merit event and picked up another cheque, even though the cheque didn't cover my expenses after my entrance fee, an overnight stay in a hotel and petrol costs! JJ.

Lamberhurst Pro-Am - one shot out of the money again!
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today was another frustrating day on the course, it was nowhere nearly as exciting as the Ladies pro-am on Tuesday. I started with a bogey on the first hole after a poor wedge shot, made a par on the 2nd after nearly hitting the green from the tee and then made a par at the 3rd after missing for birdie from 5 feet. I bogeyed the 4th hole, which was a good result as it took me four shots to find the green and rolled a 15 foot putt in for my bogey. I then 3 putted the 6th hole and 9th holes for bogeys and reached the turned in 40 shots, 4 over par.

I was not best pleased and was really unhappy with my putting performance as I had hit seven out of the first nine greens in regulation. I did manage to make my first birdie of the round at the 10th and this must have spurred me on as I then made a par at the long difficult par 4 11th and another par at the 220 yard par 3 12th, then it got even better as I made birdies at the par 5s 13 and 14 after getting close in two shots on both holes.

I stood on the 15th tee now only 1 over par and knowing that the 18th was a drivable par 4, I was thinking about posting a good score and picking up another cheque, but I made a bogey at the 15th after my tee shot was out of position and my putting came back to haunt me as I 3 putted the 17th green from no more than 15 feet and to make my score look worse I didn't manage to birdie the last as my tee shot was long enough to find the green but found the green-side bunker.

I ended on 3 over par and posted a score of 75, it wasn't a bad score compared to what others had, but the winning score was only 3 under par and having three 3 putts on the course, I could have been in the mix. My score was good enough to place me in the top half and share 17th place out of 48 professionals, but just like Gatton Manor last week I had missed out on the money by just one shot! (See full result here)

Let's hope I play well next week at Tylney Park and then all will be forgotten. JJ.

St. Augustine's Ladies Pro-Am
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You might be thinking "why is Joe playing in a Ladies Pro-Am?", well the professionals were mostly men and all of the amateur players were ladies, so it was one professional and three ladies per team.

I played all of my amateur golf at St. Augustine's and I still play there frequently as my brother and dad still play all of their golf there, (my brother is on the green staff at the club) so I was pretty confident that I could play well today.

The golf course is not very long, so there are plenty of birdie chances on the course, as you approach shots into the green are normally only a wedge, some greens can even be reached from the tee. I started with 2 pars and rolled in a 20 foot putt for birdie on the 3rd to get under par, but a 3-putt at the par 3 6th hole meant I dropped back to level par. I wanted to shoot low today and my target was a 6 under par 63, so I was trying to get around the course 1 under par for every 3 holes I played, so through 6 holes I wanted to be 2 under and was only level par, 2 behind my target.

I got one shot back with a birdie at the par 5 7th hole, after hitting an iron for my second shot just left of the green, but after hitting a "fat" tee shot on the short par 3 8th, I found a green-side bunker and failed to get up and down, another bogey 4 and I was back to level par. I didn't even manage to birdie the short par 5 9th hole after my tee shot found some trees, meaning I reached the halfway hut at level par, 3 behind my target.

My back 9 was now very up and down, I took on the water on the 10th hole to reach the green with my tee shot and made a birdie 3, but bogeys followed at the 11th and 12th holes to put me over par for the first time in my round.

On the 11th tee I received information that the best score in so far was a 4 under par 65, being 1 under at the time I still fancied my chances. I parred the 13th and stood on the 14th tee 1 over par, knowing that I was 5 behind the leader and only had 5 holes left, I needed to birdie every hole into the clubhouse!

The 14th hole has recently had water added down the left hand side of the fairway to help drainage, so I hit a 4 iron off the tee for safety and then flicked a 9 iron into the green from 120 yards. The pin was on the top tier of the green and my approach came up just short by 15 feet, but I rolled the putt straight in, one down four to go.

The 15th hole is a short par 3 and was playing the same length as my approach into the 14th, so I hit my 9 iron again and this time managed to get it to the hole, leaving myself a 4 foot putt for another birdie, 2 down 3 to go.

The 16th was another par 3 and was playing 153 yards, I was so confident in my ability to make enough birdies that I had to go for the flag, but I pulled my tee shot just left and watched the wind catch my poorly struck shot and put my ball in the sand trap. If the ball was lieing well I would have fancied an up and down, but the ball was plugged in the face and was only just in the bunker, so I couldn't get my feet in the bunker. I had to accept that I was probably going to make 4, but I didn't want to get greedy and make more, so I aimed away from the flag and hit my ball to the back edge of the green. I was left with a 30 foot putt downhill to the hole at the front of the green, all I wanted was a good two putt and move on, I hit the putt perfectly and watched it roll out to the hole and as it got closer and closer it was going in, now the ball is rolling at dead weight as it touches the right edge of the cup and how it didn't go in, I do not know. Back to level par again and now with only two holes left I was playing to pick up a good cheque, not the title,

I then actually managed to birdie the 17th with another good putt from over 10 feet, after I got lucky with my tee shot and my second shot and then I found the putting surface with my tee shot on the 18th and two putted for another birdie.

I had made birdies on four of the last five holes, it was just a shame that I had not at least made par on the 16th, but I finished on a respectable score of 67, 2 under par and picked up £86 for finishing tied 3rd with three other professionals. JJ.

Local knowledge would have paid off
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I was last to tee off in the PGA Surrey Open at Gatton Manor, my tee time was 3pm, which meant I had time to do my own thing in the morning (always nice) and had plenty of time to get to the tournament destination, plus the weather was fantastic, so I had no excuses.

My first tee shot wasn't bad but the course was very firm and bouncy, so my ball rolled off the left edge of the fairway and my approach became blocked out my some protruding trees. Using my imagination I managed to feed a 5 iron under the trees and run the ball up onto the green, the ball actually finishing around 12 feet from the hole. I didn't get the birdie putt, but it was a good 4 and nice to start with a par.

The 2nd was a short par 3 and only playing a 9 iron, which I hit into the middle of the green, but my the time I had walked up to the green my ball had ran off the green, finishing on the front edge. The green slopes severely from back to front and left to right and after putting on a nice flat putting green, I was thrown a little by the pace off the putt and 3 putted for a bogey 4.

After cutting the corner on the dogleg 3rd, I was left with a small pitch into the green and made a birdie to get back to level par, but then a double bogey on the par 3 4th hole saw me go 2 over par. I then bogeyed the 6th hole after hitting my tee shot up the wrong side of the fairway and getting punished for doing so.

Regulation pars on the 7th and 8th were followed by a birdie on the 9th hole, I hit my approach shot with a 6 iron to 3 feet. I was now 2 over par through the front 9 holes, but another dropped shot at a par 3 saw me go back to 3 over par.

The 11th hole was a very shot par 4, only 260 yards long, but the length of the hole didn't make it easy, the green was tucked in a corner of the course with out of bounds left and a steep drop through trees to a water hazard just to the right of the green. But I had to make birdies if I was to make the cut, so I went for the green off the tee with my hybrid. My tee shot found a small green-side bunker, but I was left with a straight forward bunker shot and splashed the ball to inches from the hole and made another birdie.

I unfortunately had another 3 putt at the next hole, and missed birdie putts at the 13th and 14th, but I managed to pick up a birdie at the par 5 15th hole, so I was now back to 2 over par, but I felt I needed one more birdie to make sure I made the cut off mark.

I came very close on the 16th after hitting my 120 yard wedge shot to 6 foot, but watched my ball lip out on the left edge of the cup. The 17th at Gatton Manor is the longest par 5 in Surrey, measuring 645 yards - we didn't tee off from that far back, but the hole was still very long! I hit a poor tee shot into the rough up the right hand side and couldn't see much of the fairway as it bent round the trees that were in front of me, but I could see the 150 yard marker on the left edge of the fairway and attempted to again chip a 5 iron up the fairway and leave a short iron into the green. The ball came off like a rocket and as I mentioned earlier the course very firm, so all I could do was watch my ball just keep bouncing and running until eventually it finished off the other side of the fairway. I was again blocked out by trees and couldn't get my ball onto the green and then struggled to get up and down to a tight pin position, so I made a bogey 6 and fell back to 3 over par again.

I made a regulation par down the 18th hole, so I finished with a 3 over par 75. I had hit the ball well, made some birdies, but knew I had left plenty of shots out on the golf course. As I walked to the recorders hut I could see they had taken down the names of people who had definitely missed the cut and left all the names up for people who had shot 74 and better, I had missed the cut by just the 1 shot! (See full result here)

I was gutted, there was a big prize fund for this event and by making the cut you were guaranteed at least £100. I was playing the course blind today and was caught out off the tee a couple of times and on the greens several times, all of which could have been avoided if you knew where you were going. Due to my commitments in the shop and all of my teaching I have not got the spare time to have practice rounds, but I wish I had, because I would have picked up another nice cheque if had for the second week on the trot. I am looking forward to going back next year, now I know the course. JJ.

South Region Assistants Golf College Challenge
Tuesday 22 & Wednesday 23 June, 2010

This was the first event of the 2010 Assistants' Order of Merit, so I was keen to get off to a good start. The format for this event was slightly different to most of the events we play in, because the Sussex College of Golf is based at Lindfield Golf Club, this is for 16 and 17 year old boys and girls who wish to have careers in golf, so they joined in with the pros.

My first round was very steady, I got off to a nice start with pars at the 1st and 2nd and then a birdie at the 3rd. I bogeyed the short par 4 4th because of a bad approach shot, but made up for that with a birdie at the next and then followed it up with another birdie at the 8th to go 2 under par, but a bogey at the par 3 9th meant I hit the turn at 1 under par.

Birdies at the 10th and 17th were cancelled out by bogeys at the 11th and 16th, so a level par back 9 was good enough for a round of 67 shots and a 1 under par score. This left me overnight in a share of 4th place and in a tie for 3rd place with the professionals.

My second round did not get off to such a good start as Tuesday, as I double bogeyed the par 3 2nd after a very poor bunker shot and 3 putts from the fringe. I didn't manage to birdie the 3rd like yesterday either, so I already felt a long way behind, but I made sure I didn't bogey the 4th and actually made a birdie 3. I was back to 1 over and knew there were plenty of birdie chances out there.

I made pars from the 5th to the 11th and then dropped another shot at the 12th. I was now running out of holes to get the under par round that I was looking for. I made a good birdie at the 13th and nearly got another at the 14th, but a dropped shot at the long par 4 15th put me at 2 over par for the round.

I still believed I could get 2 birdies in the last 3 holes and I found the middle of the 16th with a 7 iron. I hadn't been getting my putts to the hole all day so I made sure I got this one to the hole and watched with horror as the ball went in and came back out from 12 feet!

The 17th is a short par 4 so another great chance of a birdie, and after a good drive just short of the green even more so, but a thinned pitch shot and 3 putts later, I walked off with a bogey and that was the end of my chance to get back to level par. With a par down the last hole I finished with a 3 over par 71 and a total of 138 and 2 over par for the tournament.

I ended up tied 8th overall and picked up a cheque for £175 for 6th professional, so all was not bad, but it could have been a lot better. The golf swing did not hold up under the pressure but at least I got myself into contention, next time I'm sure it will cope. (See the full result here) JJ.

British Open Qualifying at The London Club
Monday, 21 June, 2010

This was my third attempt at getting through the regional qualifying stage and I really felt I had a really good chance of success this time round. I got off to the perfect start with a birdie on the 1st hole and a par down the 2nd hole to calm the nerves, but it all went a bit pear-shaped with a double bogey on the 3rd hole, followed by a bogey at the 4th and then the 5th. I was now 3 over par for 5 holes and already felt that my chances of getting through were very slim.

My strategy for the par 5s was to leave myself 100 yards in for my third and make birdies that way, instead of taking all of the greenside danger on (there is water everywhere on this course). This plan worked on the 1st and it worked again here on the 6th, where I made another birdie. This was a good bounce-back after the last 3 holes and I pushed hard for more birdies but could only make pars all the way round to the 10th hole.

The 11th hole was another par 5 so a birdie was on the cards and after finding the fairway it was looking likely. This par 5 didn't have any water near it and I was quite close after the tee shot so I pulled out my hybrid and placed my ball onto the green. I gave the eagle putt a really good go and watched it shave the left edge of the hole, a tap in birdie is always nice though.

I was now back to 1 over par and hitting the ball well, I made an excellent par at the par 3 12th hole, which is 190 yards over water and the 13th was another par 5, but I hit a poor wedge shot and could only make a par. I did manage to get back to level par though, after I hit a 4 iron into the par 3 14th hole to 6 feet. I had four holes left and felt that if I could make one more birdie I might stand a chance.

I did make another birdie at the short 16th but this was cancelled out because of a bogey on the 15th hole after my tee shot found a fairway bunker. I parred the 17th which was the last of the long par 3s and I could only manage a par down the par 5 18th, again because of my tee shot finding sand.

I finished up shooting level par and feeling quite happy with how I had played, but could not help but count how many shots I had left out on the course. There were 15 places at the London Club and a 2 under par 70 would have got me in, I was so close, but I'll just have to try again next year. (See the full results here) JJ.

South Region Assistants Matchplay, Round 1
Friday, 18 June, 2010

My first round opponent was Adam Reynolds from the Wisley Golf Club, which is an amazing place, I was very lucky to be drawn against Adam and get the chance to play there. On the way to the Wisley I stopped off at the London Club and walked the International Course as I am going to play there on Monday in the British Open Qualifier, another fantastic golf course. As I arrived at the Wisley and approached the Pro Shop I bumped into a couple of celebrities, Jamie Rednapp and Matthew Dawson who are members at the club and were down to play in front of Adam and myself.

Our match was to be played over the Mill and Garden 9's as the Church 9 was under going a make over (the Garden's face-lift had just been completed and the Mill was to follow after the Church was complete). The match started with both of us making steady pars on the 1st of the Mill, I managed to get 1 up early on with a par at the 2nd, but was to give this advantage back at the 4th after finding trouble off the tee.
I regained my advantage on the par 5 6th hole, the embarrassing part of this hole victory was that it was with an 8 after both of us managed to hit two balls into the water that guarded the front of the green! A win is a win in matchplay so I wasn't too worried how I did it, but my ball found another watery grave on the 7th hole and we were back to all square.

The 8th hole was halved with pars and as we stood on the 9th tee I studied the stroke saver and came across a quote from Colin Montgomerie. It read "I have seen some tough holes in my lifetime, but the 9th on the Mill has got to be one of the toughest". This doesn't exactly fill you with confidence, but what does Monty know, I hit 3 wood, 6 iron to about 5 feet and walked off the green with a birdie 3 and 1 hole advantage at the turn! Adam's reply to this was, "no one makes 3 there". Thank you very much.

Now we walked to our back 9, the Garden, and the match really took off here, well for me anyway. I won the 10th with a par, the 11th with a birdie and the 12th with a par to go 4 up and take control of the game. We halved the 13th and 14th, which now meant I was four up with four to play. A bogey 5 on the 15th was good enough for another half and to finish the match with a 4 and 3 victory.

The 15th green was next to the clubhouse so we walked in and I jumped straight into my car and rushed back to get home in time for the England vs Algeria game. JJ.

Golf is played over 18 holes, not 16!
Friday, June 11, 2010

On my journey up to Sand Martins from Kent to Berkshire, I drove through heavy rain and was not very optimistic about my round and my chances of staying dry, but as soon as we crossed the Surrey-Berkshire border the rain stopped and the sun was shining!

My opening hole was not great, after a pushed tee shot on a right to left dogleg, I was left with a 210 yard approach shot which unfortunately found water to the right of the green and saw my walk to the 2nd tee with a double bogey 6. I steadied the ship with a par on the 2nd hole and then got one shot back with a birdie on the par 5 3rd, after a very good 2-putt across a fast, undulating green.

On the 6th hole I underhit my wedge shot into the green, failed to 2-putt from the front edge, giving back the birdie I made on the 3rd, but my bounce-back ability saw me birdie the 7th after a good approach shot to a tightly cut pin position. I continued to hit the ball well around the turn and into the back nine, giving myself plenty of birdie chances, but I couldn't get the ball to drop. The greens were fantastic, they were the fastest greens that I had ever putted on, and this made reading the breaks difficult. I kept reading too much into the break because I was aware of how fast the ball was rolling, but I missed putt after putt on the high side of the hole.

I stood on the 17th tee 1 over par and confident that I could par the tricky par 3 and then go on to birdie the reachable par 5 18th and finish level par, which I knew would make me a cheque, but things never go to plan, do they? The 17th is a 165 yard downhill par 3 with out of bounds long and left and has water guarding the front of the green. I needed to hit the ball 154 yards to carry the water, which is normally my 8 iron, but I wanted to take the water of play so I hit a 7 iron. My ball did not even look at the green as it sailed over the back into bushes! I managed to find my ball, dig it out onto the edge of the green, but missed a 6 foot putt for a bogey and had to mark down another double bogey on my card.

I was unable to reach the last in two shots after my drive being up the right hand side of the fairway was blocked out by an overhanging tree, I hit the green in regulation instead and made a safe 5. This left me with a 3 over par 73 and share of 21st place, unfortunately this wasn't good enough to pick up any prize money, if only I could post my score for 16 holes and leave out my 2 doubles, but golf is played over 18 holes, not 16. (See the full results here)

My next event is regional qualifying for the British Open at the London Club on the 21st. Between now and then I am going to see Kristian Baker at Wentworth (Ross Fisher's coach) for a lesson to see if he can give me something to work on and get my scores under par. JJ.

My short game is tip-top!
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today's Pro-Am was at Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent. The course was in excellent condition and proved to be a tough test of golf. The overnight rain and a wet morning meant that the course was playing its full length, but the course was in fantastic condition, with the greens running true and at a fast pace. I'm not going to do the usual and explain my round to you hole by hole, but explain the facts/stats, that you can also view here on my blog.

I drove the ball very well but not having played the golf course in nearly five years I wasn't hitting the ball on the right lines off the tee and was getting punished, I only managed to hit three out of the twelve fairways. Now that sounds awful, but I was never far from the fairway with my ball ending up just in the semi-rough, the only problem with where my ball finished was that I never seemed to have a straightforward iron shot into the green, I was always having to draw it round trees, chip it under trees etc and because of this I only achieved four greens in regulation!

The above meant I only had four birdie putts and that I was having to get up and down for par all the time. I am pleased to say that my scrambling percentage was very high and I did managed to get my pars most of the time and I even managed to hole out once from off the green for a birdie. My short game was so tidy that I managed two sand saves and had only 25 putts for round, I had nine one-putts, one chip-in and only two two-putts.

All of these stats meant that I had two birdies, six bogeys and ten pars, it was a very frustrating day, having felt as if I'd driven the ball very well, to then reach my second shot and just stand there thinking "how am I now going to find the green?" Having to invent some very spectacular iron shots, I did not hit my irons very well and as I mentioned earlier missed a lot of greens, but thank God my short game was in working order, I was chipping and pitching the ball reasonably close and with the greens in such good condition I could not miss.

I finished my day with a score of 74, 4 over par and ended up sharing 13th place with three other pros, smack bang in the middle of the bunch and unfortunately no prize money. (See the full Pro-Am results here)

I shall be working very hard on my long game now in preparation for the British Open qualifying at the London Club on the 21st June. JJ.

Better luck next year!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today's event was the PGA Fourball Better Ball Championship sponsored by Skins and the South region qualifier was held at Studley Wood Golf Club in Oxford. My partner was once again Mark Belsham, and last year we managed to qualify for the main event. Mark has just started to play on the Seniors European Tour and I would like to take this chance to wish him all the best with his season's golf.

Last year we finished tied winners on a score of 64 (8 under) so we knew what we had to shot in order to qualify. In this format of golf it is always important to get off to a good start, but Mark and myself played very good golf from tee to green over the first 8 holes but couldn't find the birdies and after a birdie on the 9th hole from me, we finished the front 9 on only one under par.

To reach our target of 8-under we need to start making lots of birdies and fast, as we were running out of holes. The 10th hole was a reachable par 5 and a great chance for another birdie, but neither of us could get the four and we were starting to struggle. Now we started to try and force the birdies and this is the worst thing you can do in golf and both of us made bogeys at 11, 12 and 14, this meant our better ball score after 14 holes was now two over par!

Our target now was to make sure we didn't finish the day over par and save some street credit! Mark managed a birdie on the 17th and we both made birdies on the par 5 last to finish level par, this meant we wouldn't qualify and be visiting Forest Pines in Lincolnshire again. (See the full results here)

We tried to be patient, but nothing seem to drop, just one of those days for the both of us. Not to worry though, let's hope they all drop at Knole Park on Thursday! JJ.

A poor start costs me in my home Pro-Am
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday was the Walmer & Kingsdown Kent PGA Pro-am and after my win here at my home club in February I was very confident of more success. I was playing with three of the club's members and I wanted to impress them also and make sure they enjoyed their golf as much I was going to. The event had only 17 teams of four so it was ideal for the club to make the event a shotgun start, with a team starting on each tee at the same time.

I started on the 7th, which is the course's hardest hole, a long par 4 with out of bounds all down the right hand side. I thought I would be sensible and hit a 4-iron of the tee, but I might as well have hit driver, as I pushed my tee shot and watched it fly out of bounds. As normal my second tee shot went straight down the middle but it meant I started with a double bogey 6.

The 8th hole, my 2nd, is a par 5, so I was confident that I could get one shot back straight away, but I was wrong. I pull hooked my drive under a group of trees, chopped it out sideways into deep rough, duffed the ball up the left hand side, missed the green with my 5th shot and the didn't get up and down. That all adds up to a triple bogey 8! I was now 5 over par for my first 2 holes, you can imagine what was coming out of my mouth and how embarrassed I was now feeling in front of my members!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have been working on my mental game and I stuck to this game plan and dug deep, my embarrassment didn't last for too long. I birdied the 9th hole after hitting a 3 wood off the tee, hybrid onto the green and took two safe putts for my birdie 4. I should have birdied the 10th too after hitting the ball to 5 feet, but I missed the putt. I parred the par 3 11th and then faced another reachable par 5. I hit the perfect tee shot into the middle of the fairway and then hit a 3 wood onto the green and watched the ball roll closer and closer to the pin. The ball finsihed about 6 foot from the flag and an eagle was looking good, but just like the 10th, I missed the putt. I was now back to 3 over par after my 2 birdies, but I could have easily been back to 1 over already just after 4 holes.

I hit the ball really well down the back nine of the golf course, had a couple of birdie chances, but made five more pars before I stood on another par 5, the 18th. I had been using my 3 wood very well, so I hit this off the tee and was just in the left hand semi-rough, perfect for the left to right dog leg. My second shot hit with a 6-iron found the green and another 2 putts for an easy biride 4, I was now back to 2 over par with 6 holes to go.

I had chances to get more shots back and I was working so hard to try and get back to level par, but a dropped shot at the 3rd was the end of that goal, back to 3 over par. I managed to get another birdie on the 5th after holing a birdie putt from off the back edge of the green and a par up the 6th, my last hole, meaning I finished 2 over par, for a score of 74.

I was quite happy with the score after my start and I managed to get my respect back from the members, they were quite impressed in the end. I finished tied 5th only 6 shots off the winning score. My round could have been so much better, but at the same time it could have been a lot worse! JJ. (See the full Pro-Am results here)

The winning Walmer & Kingsdown Pro-Am team
The winning Pro-Am team: Nigel Donovan, Mick Paul and John Reynolds with professional Matt Ford

I beat the last man who beat Tiger Woods!
Monday, May 17, 2010

Today I had to play my first round match of the South Region Matchplay, I had been drawn against Paul Page from Kings Hill, he was the last man to be Tiger Woods as an amateur! Paul beat Tiger in the 1993 US amateur and his words to him when they shook hands was "bad luck, you're going to be a great player". The full story of that day is here:

The weather was excellent for our match and we both got off to a great start, hitting the 1st a par 5 in two shots and making easy birdies. My good start carried onto the next hole as I made a good up and down for a par 4 and a win to go 1 up. I managed to extend my lead on the par 3 6th hole with a par as Paul missed the green left and couldn't get up and down.

Paul got one hole back on me at the next as I struggled in the greenside bunker and made a bogey 5, but I regained my two hole advanatge with a birdie at the par 5 10th after a very lucky bounce helped my pitch shot run to one foot, I did apologise!

Paul hit the par 5 12th hole in two shots and made a comfortable birdie to get back to within one hole and this certainly put the pressure on me with six holes left to play. My swing started to get very quick and I struggled off the tee but it was Paul who had to hole a 15 foot putt for a half on the 13th and I let him off on the 14th by missing a birdie putt of 5 feet.

The 16th hole saw both of us hit poor drives and miss the green in regulation, I hit my chip shot to 10 feet and Paul splashed out of the greenside bunker to four feet. I thought I had given away my lead and for the first time since the 1st we would be all square and only have two holes to play, but it was my time to hole a big putt for a scrappy half!

Paul still had the honour on the par 3 17th but failed to hit the green and found another bunker, I now felt that if I hit the green the match was mine and I didn't just hit the green, I hit my ball to about 12 feet and really put the pressure on Paul. He was under even more pressure when his bunker shot could only get to 10 foot. For the first time I had a putt to win the match, but I thought two putts would be enough so I made sure my putt was dead weight, I gave it a great chance of going in and the ball finished on the left edge of the hole. If I am honest I was expecting Paul to miss his putt and then shake his hand, but he put a firm stroke on his putt and the ball hit the back of the hole hard and fell, I couldn't believe it, we were heading up the last!

Paul found another bunker off the tee so I put the driver away and got out my 3 wood, It wasn't the best struck shot, but it found the fairway, nearly there. I was so nervous standing over my second shot, I had a 6 iron in my hands which was plenty of club to get to the green, but I hit it fat and watched the ball roll down the fairway and end up 25 yards short of the green. Paul's bunker shot got a bit closer than mine, but wasn't on the green so an up and down was needed, I landed the ball exactly were I wanted and watched the ball run to 3 feet. Paul hit a poor pitch and missed his par putt, so I was left with two putts for the match. I was expecting Paul to just concede the putt, but he said he wanted to see me hole it, but I missed it.

I didn't care, I'd won the match 1 up!

Next round: David Green at Croham Hurst Golf Club (date TBD). JJ.

All my stats are online!
Monday, May 3, 2010

That's my tournament stats, not my inside leg measurement.

From now on, you can see a full analysis of my tournament stats (stroke average, fairways hit, driving distance, GIR, scrambling, putting, etc...) here. It gives some clear indications of the areas of my game that most need working on, and I've also compared my performances to the best and worst figures from the European Tour. JJ

Teaching position at Stoneless Driving Range
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yesterday I was offered and accepted a teaching role at the Stonelees Driving Range, near Ramsgate. I will be covering for Mark Belsham, who during the summer will be competing on the European Seniors Tour.

My role at Stonelees will be in the evenings and will run in conjunction with my current position at Walmer and Kingsdown. I shall be available for lessons on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, so if you wish to book a lesson, please phone 01843 823 133.

I will be working along side Head Teaching Professional David Bonthron, and if all goes well during the summer I shall continue to teach there in the winter when Mark returns.

Stonelees Golf Centre, near Ramsgate, Kent

Please be aware my lesson prices below are slightly higher than when I teach at Walmer and Kingsdown, due to range ball charges:

• ½ hour lesson - £20.00
• 1 hour lesson - £40.00
• 6 lessons for the price of 5 - £100.00

The news of my appointment is also on the Stonelees website here. JJ

Just waiting for it all to come together now
Monday, April 19, 2010

Today did not get off to a great start, after taking nearly 3 hours to get to Kingsclere because of traffic delays, I arrived at Sandford Springs Golf Club only 30 minutes before my tee time. Once I had thrown a boiling hot cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich down I had no time for any warm up, not even a putt, I just had to walk straight to the tee!

The lack of a warm up and time to relax was obvious in my first 6 holes, I managed to make a par up the 1st after pull hooking my tee shot down the 2nd hole, but then after another drive left I couldn't reach the 2nd green in regulation and made a bogey 5. This bogey was followed by another at the 3rd and then on the par 3 5th I found the green, but left my ball above the hole and took 3 putts to get the ball in the hole, another 3 putt at the next hole saw me 4 over par after 6 holes.

One thing I have been very good at this season so far is not to give up, and as normal I still believed I could get the 4 bogeys back. For the next 12 holes into the clubhouse I played some really tidy golf and hit the ball as well as I have all year, but I only managed to pick up one birdie at the par 5 11th. After a big drive down the middle, I hit my 17 degree hybrid into the heart of the green and 2 putted for my birdie 4.

Over the 18 holes I hit 15 greens in regulation, but having 37 putts meant that I would finish the round on 3 over par 74. I am not too upset with my round, even though it has recently been my putting that has allowed me to post reasonable scores, it let me down for a change, but hitting 15 greens in regulation is very rare for me and is a massive improvement, if I can keep this up and rediscover some decent putting I will definitely shoot sub 70. JJ

PGA Graduation at Birmingham University
Friday, April 16, 2010

On Friday the 16th of April I graduated from the University of Birmingham through the PGA with a Foundation Degree in Golf Management. The degree was a 3 year distance learning course through the PGA in partnership with the University, and it covered all areas of golf such as Business Management, Golf Coaching, Sports Science, Equipment Technology and Rules of Golf & Tournament Organisation. I passed the degree with a Merit, which I was very pleased with and now gives me the title of "PGA Professional", plus I can wear a PGA tie and blazer!

Joe Jezzard receives his PGA  Foundation Degree in Golf Management from the University of Birmingham

The ceremony was held in the Great Hall at the University and our guest speaker was DJ Spoony originally of Radio 1. He also presented everyone with their scrolls, along with Eddie Bullock from the PGA. There were over 230 students graduating with the PGA degree on the day as well as PGA Professionals graduating with a Director of Golf degree and year 1 and 2 students picking up awards.

Friday was a very proud day for myself and my family and I would like to thank everyone that helped and supported me along the way. JJ

Red hot putter!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today's event was an assistant and trainees four ball better ball event sponsored by Titleist and Footjoy. My amateur partner was Peter Battle, one of the Titleist sales reps for the South of England and we were paired with Kerry Knowles from Wentworth and her amateur partner, Nigel Duff, one of the Footjoy sales reps.

My round started with a bogey after finding a green-side bunker, but was then steadied by three pars, I'd holed putts for par on the 2nd from 12 feet and 6 feet on the 3rd. I missed the green right on the 5th with a 7-iron and failed to get up and down, after a good chip left me with a quick breaking 3 foot putt, another bogey to go 2 over par.

A par on the par 3 6th was followed by a well played birdie on the 7th. My drive was down the middle and long, leaving me with a 65 yard pitch, which I hit to 5 feet and holed straight up the slope, back to 1 over par.

2 putt pars on 8 and 9 saw me go out in 36 shots and 1 over par. I missed the green right on the 10th and hit a good chip up to the pin position which was on the top tier of a 2 tiered green and holed the 4 foot putt. I parred the next par 5, which was ok, but i was going into the green with a 4-iron, so I was hoping for another birdie to get me back to level par.

A bogey on the 12th was due to a poor drive into the trees and then 1 putt pars on the 13th and 14th kept me in reach, but a bogey 4 at a long par 3 didn't help. I then also bogeyed the 16th hole, which was an amazing bogey after I'd put two balls into deep scrubs off the tee and was looking at a big number, but after taking a penalty drop and holing a 25 foot putt, I was extremely happy with the bogey.

Pars on the 17 and 18th saw me come back in 40 shots for a total of 76 and a round of 4 over par. Last time I played at Farnham I'd shot 1 over, so I was disappointed not to have beaten that and if my putter had not been working so well I could easily have shot in the 80s.

The swing didn't feel comfortable all round, I was hitting the ball left and right, due to a very quick tempo, so I'm off up to the range first thing in the morning to try and slow things down. JJ

Joe Jezzard Fund Raiser at Walmer & Kingsdown GC
Monday, April 11, 2010

I would like to say thank you for all of the support that everyone at Walmer & Kingsdown gave me yesterday with my fund raising day. The final amount of money raised on the day was £1,058 and I am very grateful for this donation towards my tournament expenses, I will be very proud to represent Walmer & Kingsdown across the south of England and I hope that I can make the club proud of me with some success!

I would also like thank everyone that helped make the day so successful. Firstly the club and the competition committee for allowing me to stage the event, Brian Barrows the Club Captain for supporting me and helping with the prize giving, Terry Crowther for taking the time to check all of the scorecards, Bob for being in the hut all morning, the green keepers for presenting a playable golf course yesterday and all over the hard winter months that we’ve had and also Jude Read for donating prizes, setting up the prize table and also his continuous support as my Head Professional.

I also had many friends away from the golf club that helped me with the prizes and I would like to say thank you to them also. Peter Battle from Titleist, Nigel Duff from Footjoy, Mark Palmer from the Palmer Golf Company and Simon Page from the Wilderness Golf Club.

Well done to all of the prizewinners and congratulations to Steve Courts for winning the event with a fantastic 41 points on a challenging day and also to the golfers who managed to beat me on the 11th hole, I look forward to giving you those half hour golf lessons!

Once again I would like to say a big thank you to everyone for the support that you have given me. Many Thanks. JJ

Par 5s are designed to be hit in 3 shots...
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Today's event at Lambourne Golf Club was the first of four, Level 4 Sprint Series events, a new addition to the South Region Tour for 2010. The first thing I must write about is how great a golf course Lambourne is, if you get the chance to visit Slough, you must go and play there. Congratulations to the greenkeepers for setting up such a well conditioned golf course, the greens were fast and true, with the rest of the course in excellent condition.

Per normal my round started with three very steady pars, which is a huge help in calming me down after the first tee nerves of an event. Then the fourth hole which is a par 5 just under 500 yards is where my round really started, I hit a good drive up the right hand side of the fairway and was left with 240 yards to the green, but i needed to carry it 230 yards over water. There was room down the right side and a well worked draw off the green side bunker would have been perfect, but the draw became a bit exaggerated and turned into a slight hook and just fell short of the carry needed and landed in the water! A poor pitch and a frustrated 3-putt led to a double bogey 7! As you can imagine I was a little upset with myself and I carried it onto the next hole and made a bogey on a 181 yard par 3, leaving me 3 over through 5 holes.

I had a good chat with myself to the 6th tee and tried to be mentally tough and dig in deep. This nearly didn't work as I hit my drive next to a tree and then duffed my recovery shot up the left hand rough. I kept telling myself I could still make 4 and after hitting an 8 iron to 8 feet and rolling the putt into the middle of the cup - I did it! This warranted a small fist pump!

Hard working pars followed on 7,8,9,10 and 11, with me having to 1-putt for par on 4 of these 5 holes. I felt that I was still in the running to pick up a cheque if I could make three birdies on the way in and with the 12th being a reachable par 5, I was starting to feel a bit more positive, but this didn't last for long.

I hit a good drive up the left semi rough so I could get a good view of the green, leaving me 265 yards to green and with it being down wind the 3-wood had to come out. I then proceeded to fat my second shot into a fairway bunker 65 yards short of the green, followed by another poor pitch, so I was putting for par from of the back edge of the green, about 40 foot from the hole. Trying too hard for my par 5 I hit the first putt too hard and missed the next one coming back, another double bogey 7, what was I doing??? Someone please slap me! My greed for birdies on these par 5's had ruined my card and now through 12 holes I found myself 5 over.

Carrying on with the mental toughness approach and trying to think as positively as possible, my round got no better, I dropped more shots at 15 and 17. Standing on the 18th tee, 7 over par, I realised that I needed to par the 18th to break 80 and if I'm to have any goals this season, one of them is to always break 80.

I hit my drive low off the face and luckily I did, because it came up short of a bunker down the right hand side. I now had 168 yards to the central pin location, which feels a long way when you must make 4 and a 4 was not looking likely when I saw my ball sailing off to the green side bunker. Having hit the right amount of club, it carried the bunker and finished pin high right, just off the edge of the green. This gave me a straight forward chip shot, which I felt like I even had a chance of holing to shoot 78, but instead I gave myself a gimme length putt for my par and a score of 79, 7 over par. A huge relief that it wasn't 80.

I can't really say that I hit the ball well because I've just shot 79, but I hit it a lot better than my score reflects (I promise) and as you can see from reading today's blog, I started to hole a few more putts, albeit for pars not birdies.

From now on I think my plan of attack for all par 5's will be to hit my second shot with a club that leaves myself 75 yards to the pin. I don't need to hit the green in two every time to make a birdie.

My next event is the Assistant & Trainees Better Ball at Farnham Golf Club and my amateur partner is the Titleist sales rep for the South of England! JJ

Great news!
Monday April 5, 2010

One of the Walmer & Kingsdown members who owns a very nice restaurant and hotel on the seafront in Deal called Dunkerley's has been kind enough to give me some financial support.

Dunkerly's Restaurant & Hotel, Deal, Kent

I'm really grateful to Ian (a keen golfer) and Linda Dunkerly, so if you're in the Kent East coast area do please pay them a visit - the fresh local seafood is superb! You can also visit their webite at

Good enough, just!
March 17. 2010

I said in my last article that I couldn't putt for two hours, well I proved myself wrong yesterday. After my poor putting performance at Littlehampton and in preparation for today's event I spent 2 and a half hours on the putting green after my shift at work, to try and find something that might help me. As you can see from the photo, I used a blue chalk like to help with my alignment and also a mirror to help with my shoulder alignment and eye position, both a great training aids and give immediate feedback.

Joe uses a blue chalk line and mirror to work on his putting alignment and posture

The practice was much needed but came at a cost, being bent over for so long took its toll on my back and it actually became quite painful, not what you need the night before an event, so I went and had a massage from Ben Barnett - who also treats Kylie Minogue! - at the Wallets Court hotel near to my home. It was just what I needed, it relaxed my back muscles and also helps put you in the correct mental state ready for a big event. (For more information about Ben's hydrotherm massage please visit his website

Today's event was the PGA South Region Tour School Qualifier held at Sand Martins Golf Club in Berkshire. The are two qualifying courses, the other being Cherry Lodge, with 160 competitors playing 18 holes for 80 cards (40 at each venue), so top half at each course will be entitled to play in the South Region Order of Merit events this season.

I played ok today, nothing went really bad but neither did anything spectacular happen. I played the front nine well with bogeys at 3 and 8, being tidying up with a holed bunker shot for birdie on the 9th - shot of the day! Front nine score 36 (1 over par).

I cancelled out a bogey on the 11th with a 2 at the par 3 12th, the only decent length putt I holed all day, all of about 10 feet (the putting practice will pay off eventually). Then a bogey on at the par 3 14th put me back to 2 over, I hit a poor tee shot into a greenside bunker, splashed out from a plugged lie to about 8 feet, but just missed the putt.

A few more pars set me up for a good finish with the 18th a 515 yard par 5 playing downwind and offering a great birdie chance. My drive was in position A, leaving me with 235 into the green. My club choice was my 17 degree hybrid (same loft as a 2 iron), now my standards are high enough that I should be hitting the green and therefore have 2 putts for birdie and a round of 71, 1 over par, this wasn't the case, I push the ball just right of the green. I wasn't worried, as it just meant I had to make a birdie the normal way, by having just 1 putt! but even this didn't go to plan. I won't go into details but just to let you know that it was complete rubbish, I took 4 from the edge and made a bogey 6! Back nine score 37 (2 over par), total score 73 (3 over par).

Signing my card for a 73, when I knew it should have been a 71 or a 72 at worst was very annoying, but all I had to do today was secure my card for the tour. How did I do? I have just checked the PGA website and I finished tied 33rd with 9 people, this will hopefully be good enough as the 41st player should be awarded the same playing rights as the 33rd player.

I got in by the skin of my teeth. The 6 down the last made qualification a lot harder than it needed to be, as a birdie 4 would have seen me tied 17th and qualify easy, but 73 was good enough, just! JJ

A frustrating day with the Putter
March 9, 2010

I will tell you all how I got on, and this isn't a nag, but yesterday confirmed how having sponsorship allows golfers to play better golf.

I entered the PGA Winter Series event at Littlehampton because it is a links golf course and I just love links golf, but being 2½ hours away from home it is just too far to travel in one day. If I had the financial support I would have stayed down the night before in a travel inn and I can almost guarantee that I would have been 2 or 3 shots better, therefore winning more money for my investors and myself.

So I travelled for 2½ hours to the golf club and on arrival found that there was a half hour delay due to frost, this wasn't alarming but gave me too much time to waste, because the course didn't have a driving range. I can't putt for two hours, that's just mind numbing!

Well I teed of at 12:21 and got off to a nice solid start with three pars, even tho the swing was feeling very rough after a week in the shop and very little practice. The 4th hole was my first bogey which I wanted to kick myself for - it was a par 5! Yes, it was straight into a cold wind but I hate having a 6 on my card. The drive was straight down the middle, but finished on a small up slope, so I was now allowing for a draw off the slope. There were two bunkers down the right hand side so I took aim at these because of the slope and Sod's Law, I hit it straight in the further of the two bunkers, no draw in sight! I could only just get the ball out of the bunker and then couldn't get up and down from 80 yards for my par.

3 more very average pars followed, one of which was a short par 5 where I was going in with a 5 iron and should have hit the green with, a birdie chance wasted.

The 8th hole was a 180 yard par 3 and was playing with a hurting left to right wind, it was so cold out on the course that the club for this shot was a 3 iron - I normally hit this club 220 yards! I didn't need to hit it too hard as I made sure I had plenty of club, but when you hit the ball softly the wind can easily catch the ball, as it did in my case and I missed the green right, finishing on a downslope making my chip very difficult and the best I could do was get the ball to 20 feet. Another 2 putts later and my second bogey.

My round now became very boring and frustrating. I was hitting the ball well off the tee with the driver and my second shots weren't bad all ending up on the green or very close. If I missed the green I got up and down for pars, but the greens that I did hit in regulation gave me birdie putts of between 10 and 20 foot, all of which I missed. I am now stood on the 17th tee, still two over par and have missed 6 good birdie opportunities, I just couldn't buy a putt.

The 17th was a par 5 now playing straight down wind, my drive again in the fairway, leaving me 210 yards to the middle of the green. My club choice was my 5 iron which I thought was easily enough, but due to a slightly thin strike and the temperature now below freezing it finished just short. I was full of confidence with my chipping so I choose to pump in a wedge shot instead of trying to putt and left myself a 5 foot birdie putt, which I got, the longest putt I holed all day! Back to one over par with one to go.

The last hole was back into the wind up to the clubhouse and was 405 yards, playing about 505 yards. I ripped another drive and punched a 4 iron onto the green, but not knowing the course I was in for a surprise. The 18th green was the toughest green I have ever seen, it was extremely long and full of slopes. My ball had finished almost 80 feet away and I had a putt which was up hill for 70 feet and then all downhill to the hole but then as it was slowing down would break violently from left to right. I hit the putt as hard as I could and came up short, leaving the ball at the top of the slope, all it needed was another couple of rolls and it would have been very close. I now had this horrible slippery putt from 10 feet, and it summed up my day with the putter. The putt was in all the way until the last foot as it then broke across the hole finishing on the edge of the cup, giving me a 3 putt bogey on the last, the worst way to finish any round.

All of this gave me three bogeys and just one birdie for a round of 72, two over par. My score gave me a tied 10th finish which I am very happy with, out of field of 60 this time, but the prize money went to 11th. This means that 10th prize and 11th prize were added together and then shared between me and 5 other players, which gives me winnings of £16.66! Of which I lose 6% to the PGA, so will end up being £15.67, almost laughable...

That putt on the last cost me an extra £45 as then I would have been tied 5th with 4 others and if my putter had worked on the course I could have been under par and finished in the top 3, and that's no exaggeration! A very frustrating day.

Next event, South Region Tour School at Sand Martins, let's hope the putter warms up. JJ

Being a golf professional isn't all about playing golf!
March 5, 2010

This week Jude [Jude Read - Head Professional at Walmer & Kingsdown GC - Ed.] is on holiday so I have been in charge of the shop and manning it everyday. After victory on the golf course last week I have been very busy trying to get my name out there and generate some sponsorship for the up and coming season.

On Monday my website went live, which is all about the services that I can offer you as a qualified PGA professional and as with all things it needed a little fine tuning, until I was completely happy. I also had a photographer from the Dover Express newspaper come up to the golf club and take a few photos of my beside the 18th green and clubhouse to use alongside an article they were writing about my win.

Tuesday saw me start a proposal for potential sponsors, which is a big job so that took up most of my time along with my usual shop duties and on Wednesday, Clive from Golf Today took some photos of me carrying out my shop duties so all of you can see what else we golf pros have to do during the day. The same day I was contacted by the PGA for a short telephone interview so, they too, could write an article for the website I'm not quite a celebrity yet, but I'm getting there!

Thursday saw me put the finishing touches to my Joint Venture Proposal which I am really proud of and hopefully proves to be a really useful tool in generating some sponsorship. More details about this were then put onto my website so if you'd like to know more details please have a look or contact me. So you all know and my boss knows, I did do some shop work too, we had a FootJoy delivery of shirts and waterproofs, so these items needed uploading onto our computer system, barcodes printed and placed onto the clothing and then neatly presented in the shop so that customers could see that we have new stock in store and spark some interest.

Finally today (Friday) I felt like a celebrity, everybody was coming into the shop congratulating me as they had read the articles about me in the Deal and Dover newspapers. I have an event on Monday at the Littlehampton golf club so I made sure my clubs were clean and all there in my bag, the skycaddie was charged and that I had printed directions and a map so that I could find the golf club easily, leaving me plenty of time to relax and warm up before playing.

I will be in contact again on Monday letting you know how I got on, so wish me luck! JJ
PGA South Region Winter Series - Walmer and Kingsdown
February 25, 2010

The weather was satisfactory but it was cold and drizzling. I obviously knew the golf course well (Joe is the Assistant Pro at Walmer & Kingsdown - Ed.) so I was very relaxed before my tee time and was looking forward to going out there.

The tee shot on the 1st was a big block right, not what I was expecting but it was safe, so no complaints. My approach with a 9 iron came up just short but a well executed chip shot to no more than 6" gave me a tap in par, exactly what you want on the first hole of a tournament.

A bogey down the 2nd put me 1 over par, but the hole was playing so long that I knew there wouldn't be many fours there so I was still relaxed.

Birdies down 5,6,8 and 9 saw me reach the turn in 34 shots, 3 under par. I now felt the tournament was mine to lose but told myself not to get ahead of myself and just keep playing one shot at a time.

I carried on to hit the ball really well but couldn't find anymore birdies and nervous bogeys at 13 and 16 put me back to 1 under par. On both holes I short sided myself leaving tricky up and downs.

The two bogeys were tidied up with a 2 putt birdie on the par 5 18th and I was over the moon with a 70, 2 under par score.

I waited in the clubhouse all afternoon to see one other person, Chris Hudson from Southwood match my score but the nearest competitiors to us were two scores of level par, so Chris and I shared the title and prize money. (See the full results here)

As I was the leading assistant professional I also won a years ball and glove contract with Titleist. JJ

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