Hometown golfer making name for self

Jake Johnson:Jake Johnson, sophomore golfer, picked up a club early in his life, and looks to focus on golf after he graduates.:Ricky Afuang State Hornet


Jake Johnson:Jake Johnson, sophomore golfer, picked up a club early in his life, and looks to focus on golf after he graduates.:Ricky Afuang State Hornet

Sergio Saldana

Jake Johnson was destined to be a golfer. While he may have not been born swinging a club, his parents Oscar and Cathi Johnson did play while Cathi was pregnant with Jake.

Jake Johnson, a sophomore business major, of Cameron Park, began playing golf on his own at a young age.

A homegrown talent, Johnson was born in Sacramento. As a child, Johnson’s parents cut down golf clubs to fit Jake’s size and take him to go play golf with them. By the time he was 4, Jake Johnson had played a full round of golf alongside his parents at the Elk Horn Country Club in Stockton.

“We started him at a really young age,” Oscar Johnson said. “He took to golf literally how a duck takes to water.”

Jake’s parents supported him in golfing career and still are.

As a freshman at Sac State, Jake Johnson was a walk-on to the team. He battled for a spot on the team and beat out his competition, allowing him to earn a sports scholarship.Soon after showing promise on the golf course, his parents decided to move from the Land Park area of Sacramento to Cameron Park, when Jake was 6 years old.

Growing up, Oscar Johnson had the biggest influence on Jake’s golfing career. He helped his son with his swing and mentor him until Jake was about 11. That is when his parents decided hire a professional instruction to improve his game.

Cathi Johnson said a major reason for moving was so Jake could have as much access to golf as he wanted.

“From sun up to sun down in the summer time, Jake was raised on the golf course,” Cathi Johnson said.

Cameron Park Country Club was the biggest factor in his developmental years. Jake would use the golf course to hone his golfing skills, and the members there, as competition.”The club was his playground, he literally spent every waking minute at the club,” Oscar Johnson said. “He would play early morning to dinner time.”

Cameron Park Country Club is where Jake met Steve Frye, the club’s head professional.Frye worked with Jake Johnson and enhanced his natural talents to higher level of play.Jake Johnson said he owes a lot of his growth to Steve Frye.

“He took me from a level of just liking golf and turned it into a more serious career,” Jake Johnson said. “Steve worked with me a lot. I have to thank a lot of my golf career to him. He really got me motivated in it.”

Johnson took what he learned from Frye and put them into action in various tournaments. Johnson played on the Sacramento Area Youth Golf Tour, where he displayed his talent from the ages 12 to 18. He participated in those tournaments twice a year.

When Johnson started high school at Oak Ridge High, he really began to flourish. He played all four years on the varsity golf team, simultaneously playing in the Junior Golf Association of Northern California and Sacramento Area Youth Golf Tour. He participated in roughly 15 tournaments a year for the Junior Golf Association of Northern California.

“Senior year of high school is when I began to really to put in a lot of effort with working out, staying in shape and working on my golf swing,” Jake Johnson said. ” I really stepped up what I was doing.”

When Johnson was 16, he played on the Future Collegians World Tour. The tour was for 16- to 18-year-old kids to play in tournaments across the country.

The tour allowed Johnson to play in three or four tournaments a year at famous courses.Johnson also developed a close relationship with swing coach Philip Dawson. Dawson was introduced to Johnson through Frye. The two continue to work on Johnson’s game.Jake Johnson’s friend, freshman Jake Pineo, said he works really hard at his game.

“He is ultra competitive and that really influences the way he practices and plays,” Pineo said.

That competitiveness helped to lead Jake to a second-place finish at the Purple & Red Invitation on Oct. 3.

He has aspirations to continue golfing at the next level.

“In the end, I do want to turn pro after college,” he said. “I do want to turn this into a career.”

Sergio Saldana can be reached at [email protected]