If there’s one thing driving Wheeling professional golfer Jason Martin to success, it’s his undeniable passion for golf. Basically self-taught since the age of 13, Martin never fully intended to be a professional golfer but soon realized it was what he couldn’t live without. Jason Martin moved to Wheeling six years ago and became the head golf professional at Wheeling Country Club. Since then, Martin has been able to attend multiple national tournaments, most recently the PGA Professional National Championship.
The process of becoming a contender in that prestigious tournament is no easy task. The first step to qualifying is to score well enough in one of 41 section championships nationwide. For this particular geographical section, Martin said the competition is always steep. Upwards of 4800 PGA members from clubs across the United States all vie for a chance to compete at the National Championship, and then hopefully participate in the PGA Championship this August at Whistling Straights, with the likes of Jordan Speith, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.
Martin qualified through his section with ease and was off to Philadelphia to compete with the best in the country. He was one of 312 golfers to receive this opportunity, one that he doesn’t take lightly. Just to make it that far Martin described as an “unbelievable honor”. Out of those 312, only the top 20 golfers after 72 holes would advance to the next round. After Jason’s four rounds, he was in a five-way tie for 20th place, making him part of the top 25 out of nearly 5000 golfers nationwide. In the playoff round to earn that position, Martin was named the first alternate for the PGA Championship. His outstanding performance in this year’s Nationals exempts him from qualifying for the PGA Professional National Championship of 2016 where he is now an automatic contender.
In preparation for the competition season, Martin says he wasn’t at the driving range strictly practicing. He believes just doing his job of maintaining the club, hosting Junior Golf camps, and giving lessons are what would put him above his competitors. The one aspect of his game Martin says he could always work on is putting. “Putting is the difference between being just a good golfer and a successful professional,” Martin commented. Above all else, the most critical skill for not just Jason Martin but any upcoming golfer is confidence. In competitions on the national level, Martin has learned to keep his confidence up between rounds no matter what position he holds on the leaderboard, another quality which separates him from the rest of the field.
As the 2015 professional golf competition season comes to a close, Martin is already looking forward to next year. Whether it’s bringing new ideas to Wheeling Country Club or making the cut to compete in next year’s PGA Tour, Jason has high expectations for himself. He is also focusing on achieving some of his personal goals – such as becoming the West Virginia Player of the Year, as he has done three of the last four years. In the sectional rankings for Player of the Year, he already has a 100 point lead on his contenders. If he becomes the sectional Player of the Year, Martin would get the opportunity to play in the Greenbrier Classic. Playing at the Greenbrier, according to Martin, would be “an incredible opportunity to play in my home state.”
Martin’s ultimate key to success has been finding the perfect balance between running Wheeling Country Club, playing on the professional level, and being a loving and supportive father and husband. With those three facets in check, Martin is ready to take a swing at whatever the upcoming year brings.