03 Jul Realising the Dream
With 15 years of college golf and hundreds of students completing the two-year programme, perhaps 2017 will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the history of the SGS College Golf Academy.
This was the year that one of our graduates, Jordan Smith, would tee up in the biggest tournament in Europe and confirm his arrival at the very top of the game.
This momentous occasion was to be shared by 13 of our present students who would be working and watching on the beautiful sun drenched fairways of the Wentworth Estate.
Working for the wonderful Eventful Temps, with whom SGS has built a great working relationship over the last 12 years, our students would be manning the scoreboards over the important last three holes. Lucinda Hallett, head of Eventful Temps, had also managed to retain the carry board of Jordan, allowing two of our students an inside the ropes experience they would never forget.
Leaving early Wednesday morning the SGE students would get to watch the celebrity Pro-Am taking part the day before the Championship. The Pro-Am is a relaxed event aimed at allowing the public greater access to both the pros and the stars of stage and screen. Many selfies were taken and our students would make the most of this opportunity.
The afternoon was reserved for a get together with Jordan who had agreed to meet and chat with students from his old College. Jordan could not have been more helpful and spent time answering questions from the students and reminiscing over his time at the SGS Golf Academy.
Jordan had been on this very trip in 2010 and had carried a leader board for Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Oliver Wilson, all multiple winners on the European Tour. Some seven years later Jordan would be teeing it up alongside all three of the above but also many of the best players in the world. Quite a journey for the quiet young man from Wiltshire that SGS Coaches Kelvin and Pete remember.
Jordan had his team with him and they were equally helpful. Coach Simon Shanks was on hand to check Jordan was firing on all cylinders and gave an insider’s view of the challenges of Tour coaching. Alongside was S&C coach Rob Hobkinson who had organised a full workout routine for Jordan each day. Manager Duncan Maxim from MB partners ensured the smooth running of everything else leaving Jordan to concentrate on his golf. It was also a pleasure to bump into Martin and Emma, Jordan’s rather nervous, but immensely proud, parents.
With a shift pattern in place for our students and a late start on the first day of competition there was plenty of time to watch some golf and then see the opening tee shot of Jordan. Coach Kelvin had played in this same event many years before and remembered with some trepidation the nerves that engulf you when announced on the first tee. Suffice to say, Jordan made a much better job of it, calmly smashing the ball some 350 yards down the first fairway leaving a short pitch into a hole that measured some 476 yards. An opening round of level par would see Jordan off to a solid start.
Leaving our digs at 6.15am the next morning would allow both coaches and students to follow Jordan for the front nine of his second round. Jordan would show some incredible recovery skills notable a wondrous par on the eighth and finish with an eagle down the last ensuring he would make the cut in this highly lucrative event.
Jordan would reach 14th spot after day three and go on to make yet another eagle down the last on day four to earn the not insignificant sum of €36,000.
Head of the Golf Academy at SGS College, Peter Langford said “This was a very special trip for all of us from SGS Golf. To see our first fully fledged European Tour Player taking part in an event of this magnitude shows that it is possible to go from college golf to Tour golf and is a great motivator for our present and future students.
“Having watched Jordan over these last few days, I can only see Jordan winning very soon. We would like to thank Jordan for being so approachable during the event and wish him the best of luck over the rest of the season.”