When next season rolls around, Cedar Redman, Jake Jenkins knows he will be ready. With a summer practice schedule golfing at least once a day the number of strokes taken and rounds played climbs daily. “I will always work to get better.”
As the youngest of four boys, Jake has the opportunity to not only learn from his older brothers while out on the greens. “They love golf and it’s fun to get out and play with and against them. I really like playing with them,” states Jake. “They actually got me involved in golf and they help me a lot. I have learned just about everything about golf from them really.”
In the case of the Jenkins family, the love for the game skipped a generation. Even though they show their support, Eric and Wendy Jenkins, Jake’s parents, do not know much about the game of golf. The passion for the game, says Jake, “comes from Grandpa Ron.”
Jake loves the outdoors and when he is not on the links getting a round in you might catch him our four-wheeling. “That is what we do. We are an outdoors type of family.” Say Wendy.
Shooting in the top ten during one of his tournaments his sophomore year has become a highlight of sorts for the returning junior. “I had a real low score and that was one of my best moments.” Playing at Sun River at the time, Jake recalls, “We were in a season tournament and I finished 9th out of 45+ golfers.”
What is interesting about the game of golf is that no matter the match-up, no matter the course, weather or competition, when it’s all said and done, it’s just you and the ball. How you prepare for each shot becomes a product of your muscle memory and hours of repetition mastering your swing. Yet what is most critical to the game of golf for many golfers is mastering the mind. “Recovering from a bad swing can be hard sometimes, things can turn bad quickly,” says Jake. “Those shots are always really challenging. I don’t usually freak out or anything but when you have a bad shot you have to learn how to forget about it, move on, take a deep breath and focus on the next one.”
Noticing the mental focus of a golfer is a welcome experience. When it becomes obvious to the spectator that things are not going quite so well, seeing the composure and ability to remain focused speaks volumes about the maturity of the golfer.
Remembering one such experience Jake’s mother Wendy shares, “I got to walk along side him at Southgate while he was playing last year. It was so much fun because I really do not know much about golf and he was teaching me as he was playing. I remember that one of the holes he had was not the best and I was kind of nervous for him hoping that he didn’t have problems at the next hole too but he did much better on the next hole and I got to see how good he was at leaving it behind him.”
The relationship between player and coach is a powerful one. A good coach is a mentor and leader who by example teaches how to play the sport. A great coach has in impact beyond the sport itself and leaves a lasting impression on the athlete. “I love Coach Shirts. He is a great coach and really relaxed.” Says Jake. Mom adds, “He is really supportive of the boys too which we love.”
When it comes to the professional mentor that Jake looks to as a current pattern to play after or for motivation, the Redmen says he looks to pro US Golfer, Jordan Spieth. “He is my favorite right now. He is so young and he is playing so well against all these other older guys.”
“This last season was a lot of fun,” Jake shares. “We had a lot of young kids and it was fun to be able to hang out with them and teaching them a little bit about the game.” Golfing on the Varsity squad since entering in as a freshman Jake returns to the team as a veteran junior on the Varsity squad and hopes to help make a positive impact. “This next year I think one of my rolls will be to help lead the team and make sure everyone is doing what they need to get better.”
With hopes to play college golf in the future Jake also expresses his love for the game of Baseball as well. “I really love playing both sports. It’s hard to choose between the two.”
If given the choice to golf anywhere for college Jake would still choose to stay close to home. “We are so close as a family.” So close in fact that Wendy shares, “When he goes out to play with his brothers they usually go out two sometimes three times a day to golf. They are really close, like best friends.”
“I’ve learned that I have to try to always make it fun and have fun doing it,” says Jake. “That also means I have to focus and work hard too.”
“I think,” shares Wendy, “that no doubt Jake always like to win but when he doesn’t he is always a good sport about it. He always has something good to say about his teammates, coaches, the opposing team; he doesn’t dwell on a loss or a bad hole. He just moves forward and focuses on whatever is next.
When you meet Jake you see a very friendly young man with a kind demeanor. Many who already know him know he has a good heart. The one thing however that Jake hopes those who know him remember most about him is that he “always worked really hard and was persistent at everything. If I had to guess I’d say I’ve swung the club thousands and thousands of times. I always want to get better.” • HSSI