By Greg Gulas
For 13 years Jon Jones has been the go-to pro at the Youngstown Country Club for lessons.
It’s a position, however, that he never envisioned holding.
In 1991 his former boss at the Squaw Creek Country Club, Greg Matthus, told Jones he would be the top assistant.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches at Monday’s weekly luncheon at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center, Jones he said it was a position that needed to be filled on short notice and ultimately a decision on which he has never looked back.
“I had just graduated from YSU and was in Orlando competing on the professional mini-tour, just hoping to make enough money to survive and possibly advance my career,” Jones said.
“I was to be the second assistant when I got back to town on April 1 and for the most part, that is a position that confines your work to the pro shop and other things around the shop as necessary.
“I had never taken a lesson nor had I given one so from late February until my arrival at the club on April 1, I had what amounted to a six-week crash course of preparation,” he added.
Jones attended the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at Orlando’s Lake Nona C.C., taking a lesson every week until his departure.
“It was without a doubt an eye-opening experience and as I look back, those lessons shaped what I have done and continue to do when I am teaching,” he said.
Jones, who has been rated one of the top Northern Ohio PGA “Teachers of the Year” the past four years, is also the recipient of the 2008 award as Ohio’s top teaching professional.
He estimates that he gives between six to 12 lessons per week and approximately 150-200 a year.
He is always looking for cutting edge techniques, which is why he continues to study under some of the nation’s best instructors.
“Butch Harmon, who was Tiger Woods’ coach and teacher, has really been helpful and most recently, Jim Hardy and Stan Utley are two teaching professionals that I have spent additional time with,” Jones said.