Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Professional, Coach and Author
English Amateur Finalist 1995. EuroPro Tour Player 2003, 2004 and 2005. PGA South Region and BB&O PGA.
My golfing journey began aged 12, chipping a Top Flite around the back garden.
It would’ve ended six weeks later but for my luckiest golfing break ever.
My mate bet me a packet of Monster Munch that I couldn’t hit a wedge over my parent’s house from the back to the front garden.
Unfortunately, I got a bit nervous (not for the last time in my golfing life) and thinned the ball straight towards the kitchen window.
I was just wondering which of my parents would injure me most seriously – when it hit the 3 inch-wide frame between the two large panes of glass and rebounded back to my feet.
I’ve often said it’s better to be lucky than good.
Growing up, my golfing hero was the legendary Spaniard Severiano Ballesteros. In his prime Seve was probably the most exciting and most naturally gifted player the world has ever seen.
He was my inspiration. I loved the way he charged around the course, playing outrageous shots from impossible positions.
The pleasure he got from the game was obvious.
By the age of 15 I was completely hooked. I stopped playing football and rugby and athletics and just played golf. I took some lessons and gradually improved my swing and my ball striking.
My first handicap was 23 at Bedford and County Golf Club. I got down to scratch by the time I was 18.
I had a strong grip, hit it about 220 yards off the tee with a little fade. My strengths were my confidence and the fact I could get it up and down out of a ball washer.
I represented Bedfordshire at Junior and Colts level. Joining Woburn Golf Club in 1989, I played for BB&O (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) at Full County level. Working at the American Golf Discount Store in Biggleswade, then as a Sales Agent for a number of golf companies including R.D.A Smith, Cape Crest, Rhythm Clothing and Yonex allowed me to play most of the major amateur events including the British Amateur, St Andrews Links and Brabazon Trophies.
The highlight of my Amateur career was reaching the Final of the English Amateur Championship at Hunstanton in 1995. The Final was an anticlimax. I got spanked by Mark Foster (now a winner on the European Tour), losing 6 and 5. Despite the loss, the EGU gave me the opportunity to play for England in a tournament in Greece in September 1995.
I spent the next three years trying to find 40 yards off the tee and to avoid getting a proper job. I turned professional in 1998 and got a card to play the Australian Tour in October. I returned to the UK in the spring of 1999 to play on the various Mini Tours which were becoming established.
The tournaments were basically big sweepstakes where all the players put in the prize money, and the top half dozen and the tournament organisers kept most of it.
A back injury saved me from the poorhouse, but put me out of the game for two years. I helped set up the EuroPro Tour in 2000, before taking a sales role with legal software firm FWBS Ltd. Recovery from injury and an aversion to money prompted me to start playing again in 2002.
I played full seasons on the EuroPro Tour in 2003, 2004 and 2005, during which I managed a few top ten finishes.
Over the years of playing and teaching, I have been intrigued by two questions which I know most golfers have wrestled with at times.
How come I love the game some days, and really don’t enjoy it on others, regardless of how well I play.
Secondly, why do I play well one day, but nowhere near as well the next, when my swing and putting stroke look and feel exactly the same?
It might come as a surprise to learn that the answers to these questions can be found in the same understanding. Funnily enough, it has nothing to do with how you swing the golf club, what your putting stroke looks like or what your ball flight data looks like.
I have spent the past 8 years learning about how a golfers mind really works. It has helped me play better and made the game fun again.
It has helped me improve my golf swing, short game and putting.
And it has helped me help other golfers make significant improvements in their games, and have more fun and play better as a result.
I look forward to spending many more years doing the same.
Away from golf I also work with rugby players, footballers, cricketers, businesses and individuals helping them learn about the same understanding I share with golfers.
When I’m not working, I enjoy fly fishing, reading, cooking, skiing, playing cards and relaxing with friends.