What’s it like to try and become a successful Sports Professional? Our Sponsored Pro Golfer Jon Gidney shares an insight into his career journey so far..
Where it all started..
At 11 years old, my Golf started as nothing more than a hobby at Church Stretton Golf Club in Shropshire, just like Football, Badminton, and many other sports which I was playing at the time. I was introduced to Golf by my parents, and I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve my skills and reduce my handicap.
From 15 years of age, Golf took over as my main hobby. At that time I had reduced my handicap to scratch and I was competing in National Championships. Over the following years I won numerous tournaments, including the Midlands u21 Championship for 3 years in a row, and I went on to compete in International Tournaments playing for England. This felt like a real achievement at the time – I had worked hard to improve my Golf and these experiences inspired me to try and become a successful Pro Golfer in the future.
At the age of 22, I turned Professional in 2010 with a handicap of +3.5, and like many other aspiring Golfers my aim was to try and perform well, win tournaments, play in Major Championships, and earn enough prize money to make a living. It’s definitely easier said than done! But if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know.
As a Professional I started fairly well, I made my first 12 cuts in Professional events (Satellite/Mini Tours in UK and Europe) and I was invited to play in several Challenge Tour Events. I was performing better than most players at Satellite/Mini Tour level, but I was yet to achieve those outstanding performances which are what’s required in order to qualify for higher level tournaments. I felt like I wasn’t far away though.
Towards the end of my debut season, I was finding it difficult to earn enough prize money to exceed the expenses that came with playing in Professional Tournaments. With very little sponsorship at the time, I had to learn fast. I needed to find ways to attract sponsorship, win greater prize money, and I also needed to manage my Golf expenditure better – to ensure that I could financially afford to continue my career as a Pro Golfer.
Of course, some players (Rory Mcilroy for one) are so good that they perform exceptionally well in their first year as a professional and earn promotion to high prize money events. This can happen, but for the majority things don’t fall into place like this, and I had to be realistic. I was performing well, but not well enough, and I needed to up my game in my 2nd year as a Pro.
Prosser Knowles became Title Sponsor
Towards the end of my debut season in 2010 I was making efforts – with great support from many friends and family, to attract some sponsorship to support my career. A few weeks later I got lucky. After meeting Prosser Knowles at a Golf Day I was thrilled that they offered to become my Title Sponsor from 2011. This was such a fantastic opportunity for me, and the support that I received from Prosser Knowles certainly shaped my future. It was a real boost and it came at the right time for me.
Since 2011 I have continued to play some Professional Tournaments with mixed success. I haven’t played well enough yet to earn the opportunity of playing in Major Tournaments or on the European Tour, but I’ve had some good highlights. I’ve reached Open Final Qualifying for the Open Championship on several occasions, playing in the group behind Jose Maria Olazabal, and Jean Van De Velde on 2 occasions. I also won a National Golf Trick Shot Championship hosted by Rory Mcilroy and Santander, and I made my first cut on the Challenge Tour. My best round of Golf so far came in 2014 which was 60 (-11) at a Corporate Golf Day at The Astbury. If only I could play like this more often!
My mindset is that if I am good enough, then I’ll breakthrough into Major Championship’s eventually – whether this is next year through Open Championship Qualifying, in 3 years, or never at all, only time will tell – but I have time on my side, and I want to keep the door open for this to be possible.
Brand Ambassador & Sports Management
With Prosser Knowles as my Title Sponsor, I am now also a Brand Ambassador for 8 other Businesses, and I am a Director of a Sports Branding & Management Company ( EltonGidney.com ) which I formed with a Business Partner in 2014. I am also a Sponsorship Consultant for a number of Sports Professionals and Businesses. As much as I have been dedicated to succeeding as a Tournament player – which I have been, I have also made sure that all of my eggs are not in one basket. Forming Elton Gidney and becoming a Brand Ambassador for numerous Businesses will hopefully create an income stream that can support my Golf Tournament expenses in the future.
Prosser Knowles Brand Ambassador in 2016
For Prosser Knowles, my time and effort to help their Business is unlimited, and I make every effort to ensure that I am giving back as much as I can to help their Business. This often includes playing rounds of Golf with their Guests, supporting the PK Golf Day, running a ‘Beat The Pro’ competition, and also more recently I have been helping Prosser Knowles to secure new Professional Connections and Business Opportunities. In addition to this, I use a Prosser Knowles Golf Bag and promote their Business on the front of my clothing at all of my Golf Appearances – including Corporate Golf Days, Tournaments, and rounds of Golf with Business Guests and friends. The support that I have had from Prosser Knowles since 2011 has been incredible, and as my main Sponsor I certainly have a responsibility to ensure that the association is successful for their Business. Prosser Knowles set the ball rolling for me and I’m very grateful for this.
Thanks for reading this insight into my career so far which I hope was interesting for you. For those who have attended the Prosser Knowles Golf Days over the past few years, you may have met me on a par 3 running a ‘Beat The Pro’ competition. I’ve really enjoyed meeting you all, even if you did manage to beat me! I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
If you would like to get in touch with me please email email@example.com & Follow me on Twitter @JGidney .
Would you like a game of Golf with Jon Gidney & Don Goodman?
Ex Wolves Footballer and Sky Sports Football Expert Don Goodman joined Jon as a Prosser Knowles Brand Ambassador in 2015, and Prosser Knowles would like to take this opportunity to offer 2 guests a complimentary round of Golf with Jon & Don at The Astbury during 2016.
If you would like to join Jon & Don for a round of Golf, please email Kay Crooke firstname.lastname@example.org
to register your interest.