It doesn’t matter whether Dallas Jones has spent long periods engulfed in golf or not. His level of play has always returned to a high standard even after a couple of significant layoffs.
Now, at 23, the Ladysmith resident and Mount Brenton Golf Club member decided he might as well put himself to the test. He’s going on the professional Gecko Tour in Spain, starting in January of 2019.
The tour actually begins in November, but Jones and Kyler Bourgeault of Qualicum will be joining it in progress for the last 12 of 20 events.
“I guess we’ll go and see what happens,” said Jones. “I expect to play well. My game feels good.”
That’s been a familiar refrain for him over the years since taking up the game in his youth.
“My dad put me in the junior program when I was really young,” recalled Jones.
Dad Phil helped him get his start and the kid proved to be a natural in those early years. But, like every other red-blooded Canadian youngster, he wanted to play hockey so he quit golf to do that for a while.
Jones returned to golf in Grade 10 and his final three years of high school put him on the map as a player of great ability.
“I just got hooked,” he remembered after picking up the clubs again and laying down the hockey stick.
Jones won a junior club championship and took advantage of all the opportunities afforded through junior coordinator Pat Irwin to play in the John Hicks Memorial tournament locally and others around the region.
“Lots of good competition,” said Jones of the circuit.
His first-ever win came in Nanaimo and he placed first in a few other events.
Golf occupied a lot of Jones’ time during those days before high school graduation, but he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I came down here all day in the summertime,” he said of the Mount Brenton course. “I had a couple of buddies and we’d go around and around.
“Growing up at the golf course was pretty sweet.”
Jones took lessons in Victoria for a year, but otherwise honed his talents on his own. He just started working with former Cowichan Golf and Country Club assistant pro Gordi Melissa from Pheasant Glen about a year ago.
“I found my game had kind of peaked and wasn’t progressing very much,” he conceded. “I see Gord about once or twice a week.”
After high school, Jones played on the Vancouver Island University golf team in Nanaimo for a year. Then, while getting into the working world, and continuing his schooling, he took a year off and spent six months travelling in Australia and Southeast Asia with friend Dustin Jordan.
Jones didn’t play any golf during that trip, but didn’t miss a beat when he returned.
“I just went straight back into it,” he noted. “I came back and my game was right there. It was crazy.”
Jones has juggled golf with trade school and eventually regular work as an electrician since coming back in April of 2016. Now he’s hitting the road again for the Spain tour that could still lead to other golf tours in England and elsewhere.
The last couple of years Jones has played in the B.C. Amateur and entered the Canadian Amateur this summer at Duncan Meadows to keep his edge in high-level competition. It was his third time in the Canadian Amateur and he previously played in the Canadian Junior tournament once.
Jones has also made his mark on his home course as two-time defending low gross champion in the Mount Brenton Men’s Amateur.
“I’d like to just turn pro and stay pro and make it happen,” said Jones.
If it doesn’t work out, he’ll have his electrician trade to fall back on.
Every day he gets off work Jones has headed straight to the golf course, extending the playing season as much as he can before Spain.
“I’d really like to improve on my putting this winter,” he said.
A total of 88 golfers got together at the course Saturday to raise money to help Jones with travel and entry expenses on the trip.
“I’m going to have to upgrade some equipment,” he noted. “It’s going to be an expensive trip.”
But he’s anxious to get it going, especially after being out there during some exceptional weekend weather.
“It’ll be fun – just like back in high school when I was golfing every day,” Jones enthused.
He’s become more captivated by golf than ever.
“It’s addictive, hitting that shot you have pictured in your mind and then you hit it exactly as you pictured,” Jones reasoned.