Manchester Evening News: Jacob Oakley on his pro debut
Article posted: 06 December 2018
I just feel at the moment that playing as a professional will benefit me and I’ll get great experience.
This week is something I’ve been looking forward to since I took golf up at the age of 11 – my professional debut.
Today I’m heading to Malaga to play in Qualifying School for the Alps Tour, which is one of the third-tier tours, after turning pro last month.
I’m really excited to get going and I just want a good run of events so that I can see where my game is in relation to the pros.
I’m 20 now and played a lot of football up until I was 14. I was pretty good and played for Macclesfield Town but when I left there I stopped enjoying it as much and started to focus on golf.
Making a career of golf is all I’ve wanted since I was about that age and I’ve played full-time since I finished my A Levels at Poynton. This is another step towards it.
My goal is to be a tour player. Amateur golf is very different, and I just feel at the moment that playing as a professional will benefit me and I’ll get great experience.
On the amateur scene you get 10 or 11 over par winning over four rounds but on the Challenge Tour the scoring is totally different, with 15 or 20 under winning each week and the mentality is different on the EuroPro and Alps Tours too. You can’t score like that on the courses the amateurs play on but the moment you turn pro you have to have that mindset and I don’t want to do that at 23 or 24.
I’ve been at Styal since I went to one of the junior coaching programmes in the school holidays there and I was with Mark Johnson before I started being coached by Simon Forrest there. He’s a great coach and has helped me with everything in terms of my golf.
Dave Horsey also plays at Styal, I’m able to play fairly regularly with him and I couldn’t have asked for more from him.
I’ve joined the management company ISM and have been talking a lot to Chubby Chandler about what I’ll be doing over the next year or 18 months. He’s been great with the advice because he’s done this so many times and it means a lot that he’s shown an interest in me. Their support will be really important.
I know it’s not going to be easy and I’ve had a few jobs over the last few years, including working in a fish and chip shop. I’ve had a lot of help, which is unbelievable. Those people know who they are, and I’ll always be grateful to them.
One of those is David Clare at Gloria Golf. He’s from round here but lives in Turkey and has allowed me to go over there and practice and also given me a lot of advice.
Hopefully I can pick up another sponsor or two over the next few months and my main aims over the next year or so are to get my Alps Tour card and play on the MENA Tour too, hopefully getting a Challenge Tour card at the end of the year.