By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — Newton senior Brock Jamison came to the game of golf naturally.
For those who know Jamison, his success — given the zest for everything he does both academically and athletically — is no surprise.
Jamison will finish his prep golf career Friday and Saturday, when he plays in the Division III state tournament at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course.
“I can remember as a little kid being out in the back yard with my dad (Newton coach Randall Jamison) with plastic clubs,” Jamison said. “I didn’t really playing golf seriously until junior high. Pretty much everything I do, I try to be the very best I can be.”
It was no different with golf.
And in a small community like Pleasant Hill and Newton High School, players like Jamison are instrumental in the golf program.
Newton had a team for several years when Kyler Booher played for the Indians and it returned Jamison’s freshman year.
“When I first talked to Brock about it (coaching Newton) in eighth grade, he was the only golfer,” Newton coach Randall Jamison said. “Newton is a small school. There are other fall sports, so there just aren’t a lot of boys. We have had a program for the last four years and we hope to keep that going.”
Randall Jamison said his son’s success is easy to understand.
“First, he has a love for the game,” Randall, who shares that same passion, said. “And he has worked very hard for everything he has gotten. But, he couldn’t have done that without a love for the game.”
Brock first qualified for district as a sophomore — but both his sophomore and junior years he came up short of qualifying for state.
“I always felt like I would get to state if I played well,” Jamison said. “I always thought it was going to happen.”
He spent the last two summers playing in a number of tournaments in the Southern Ohio PGA Junior Program.
“There are a lot of nice courses they play on,” Brock said. “There is a lot of really good players playing. Basically, it was just a chance to play a lot more golf.”
At the same time, he has also worked at Turtle Creek Golf Course near Greenville.
“Brock (Jamison) just loves the game,” Randall said. “Working out a Turtle Creek was a real blessing. He could go out after he got off work and chip and putt or hit balls. We are very thankful to Turtle Creek Professional Derek Ary for the opportunity he gave Brock.”
Jamison was CCC Player of the Year as a junior and very close again this year.
He has steadily improved each season.
After a nine-hole average of 46 as a freshman, it decreased to 41 as a sophomore, 40 as a junior and 38 this season.
All the work he put in gave him confidence heading into the district tournament — and it was rewarded when he shot 73 to share medalist honors and advance to state.
“Pleasant Hill is a small community,” Jamison said. “I have heard from a lot of people (since qualifying for state). Everybody is so supportive.”
At state, he will play a course he has never played before. The Scarlet is host to a Web.com Tour playoff event and has hosted U.S. Open qualifiers in the past.
“I have checked it out online,” Jamison said. “I have checked it out online. I can’t wait to play it. Because I haven’t played it before, I probably am not going to be as aggressive. I am probably going to have to be more conservative.”
He will play a practice round on Thursday and Randall Jamison will handle coaching Brock the same way he always has.
“I won’t say anything during the practice round,” Randall said. “I will make notes and watch how he plays it. Later, we will talk and I will make suggestions. I give him ideas and let him make the decision what he wants to do with it. I don’t put any pressure on him. He puts enough pressure on himself. This weekend, I am sure I will be a parent, not a coach. “
Brock is appreciative of his father’s coaching style.
“It has been great to have him as a coach,” Brock said. “He knows how to coach me because he knows me so well. It has worked out really well.”
Brock also is as pleased with what the Newton team accomplished this year as much as what he has done individually.
“We beat Arcanum (the CCC champions) twice this year in the postseason,” Brock said. “That shows you how far we have come.”
In fact, Newton lost a tiebreaker for third at the district tournament, missing qualifying for state by just four shots.
“Hopefully, we can get more kids interested in golf,” Randall Jamison said. “Maybe Brock can come back and help with a summer program. That would be way to thank Newton for everything they have done for Brock.”
He said the key for Brock this weekend is simple.
“There is a fine line between taking it too seriously and putting too much pressure on yourself and not taking it seriously enough,” Randall Jamison said. “If he can do that, he will be fine. If he doesn’t (find the fine line), he is going to struggle.”
And while he will be the low Jamison at the state tournament this weekend — he may just be setting a mark for his younger brother Chet to shoot at.
“He definitely has a big foot in the door (towards playing at state),” Brock said about Chet, who shot 84 at district this year as a freshman. “All his scores this year are lower than mine were when I was a freshman.”
Brock is still undecided about his future in golf.
“I have looked at a few colleges,” Brock said. “But, I am looking more at academics. If I end up with an opportunity to play golf in college, that would be great.”
Finishing his high school career at state — that just seems natural.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.