Amateur golfer Blake Jackson, of Oklahoma, came to Kauai earlier this month on vacation.
“My in-laws made a deal a couple of years ago that we could chose what vacation it was. If we paid for tickets, they’d pay for hotels and stuff,” Jackson said over the phone Thursday. “I wanted to go to Kauai. I’ve heard amazing things about it. I can say only amazing things about it now.”
While here, he took to the links at Princeville Makai last week.
Jackson has played since he was 4 years old, and he also played at the collegiate level at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma. He was confident in his game, but kept his expectations to within reason.
“The day I got there, I asked what the course record was. They said a kid from Pepperdine shot a 63 from a collegiate event,” he said. “I thought I wasn’t going to get close.”
Over the course of two days, he shot a 30 (6-under-par) on the front 9 and a 33 (3-under-par) on the back nine to record a 63 and tie the course record.
During those rounds, he shot a hole-in-one on the course’s 3rd hole, which is 183 yards.
“I was downwind, so I didn’t have to hit it too hard. But I guess I hit it hard enough,” Jackson said.
He also holed out from 130 yards away on the 17th hole to save par and keep his sights on the course record. He then birdied the final hole to finalize the course-tying score.
“I thought I shot a 64, but I did my math wrong in the front 9,” Jackson said. “I was a little shocked. Not shocked about shooting 63, but shooting a 63 considering it was my first time seeing the course.”
“It was one of the best rounds I’ve put together. I didn’t dream of shooting 63 at the Makai course. It was definitely memorable for sure,” he added.
Jackson graduated from college in 2013 and is working as an estimator and project manager. But he still has aspirations of playing professionally.
“I’d like to turn pro, but it’s one of those things where turning pro is a big financial commitment. It requires a lot of time and financial commitment. It’s tough when you’re married and trying to support your family,” he said. “I have plans next year. I’m an amateur, but I plan to try to play in some PGA qualifiers in Dallas. … The dream of professional golf is still there, but for the moment, it’s on hold.”