Introducing The Golfer

Jordan Hovis, 25, on playing sport in the Golden State, learning golf from his grandpa, and how Paris stole his LA heart

Words by Samuel Bakowski
Photography by The Gaabs

I must have been three or four years old the first time I held my first "child" club. It was made of plastic. I would see my grandpa and older brother putting in the yard and wanted to do the same, but the plastic clubs were the only ones I could handle.

Some of my earliest memories as a child are on the golf course with my grandpa. The game reminds me so much of him because most of my memories with him involved the game in some way, whether it was "putting" in the backyard of his house or watching it on television.

I am a native of Valencia, California. It is a city located in northern Los Angeles.

I arrived in Paris in January, 2014, to finish my bachelors degree in international business. I quickly fell in love with the city and decided to continue my masters studies in finance at E.S.L.S.C.A Business School.

My favourite French tradition is meeting with my international friends at the Tuileries gardens for a picnic. It’s perfect with some nice wine being surrounded by all those beautiful historic buildings.

I miss the beach most in LA, no contest. When you grow up so close to it, you don't fully appreciate it until you move away. In and around Paris there aren't many places to swim in natural water, which can make the summer months challenging.

Sports differs so much on either side of the Atlantic There is no way I would be the athlete I am today if I hadn’t grown up in the Golden state.. I was blessed with having a family and childhood that was very sport-orientated. Living in the suburbs meant that facilities were everywhere and the weather enable all-year-round participation. Also, university sport is a big deal back home and it is a shame this is not the case in Europe.

The first time I felt proud from sport was collecting my first soccer trophy at the tender age of four. I also received a big trophy when I was small for my sportsmanship. My biggest sporting achievement was probably winning the Foothill League Championships in tennis This made me the first tennis player from my high school to earn an athletic scholarship to play for a university.

Sports were always a huge part of life growing up in LA. Being the middle child between two brothers meant we constantly competed with each other. Between the three of us we played competitive soccer, baseball, football, basketball, and tennis. Both of my brothers played university level baseball with scholarships, while I had the same for tennis. Golf for us was always a sport which we played between our other seasons and growing up in sunny California made it possible to play year round.

Golf is very therapeutic. Time seems to melt away, along with any stress I might have before. I feel calm and relaxed whenever I am out there on the course. I live for competition and sports gives me that outlet to release any tension I have built up. Whenever I'm on the court, course or field, I temporarily forget all my troubles and worries. I get lost in the sport and focus on nothing else as if I'm in an alternate reality.

My grandpa used to let me drive the golf cart even though it was against the club rules to drive without a license. I had to promise not to say anything to my mom or he'd be in real trouble when we got home!

My grandpa recently passed away, but when I am out there on the course -  I can’t help but feel he is with me.

He used to play everywhere! In every city that he visited. He would search for the nearest clubs and take one day out of the trip just to play golf. He was a great player and had played most of his life. It was his happy place to be out there on the green.

I would love to one day play at the Golf Son Gual course in the heart of Mallorca. It’s my favourite tennis player Rafael Nadal’s home course. He is originally from this Spanish island and he is also a big golf fan and player himself. The course is beautiful and scenic with a view of the sea.

I have great hand-eye coordination but I think if I were were able to improve my flexibility, I would have a better body rotation and follow-through. After playing so many other sports that have slightly similar movements - such as a baseball or tennis - I find advantages and disadvantages arise from these differing techniques.

This last year has taught me that you should seize opportunities, be yourself and harness positive energies. I've managed to travel to over 12 different countries over the past year while living in Europe and have many more traveling plans to come. I learned that if you really want something, you'll make it happen.

Next time I’m back home in LA, I want to play golf with my family. It's so rare for all of us to be together at the same time, so playing a competitive round of golf together in LA would be the ideal situation for me.

I am happiest after winning a long hard-fought golf match, when my endorphins are released and I feel really proud of my efforts. That feeling you get when you know all your hard work has paid off.

By this time next year, I will have finished my masters degree and hope to be working for a sports management company based in western Europe. As much as I love Paris, I am ready to start a new adventure, wherever that might take me, and work hard to build my career in the world of sport and entertainment.

Sporty Henri offers their sincerest gratitude to Mr Eric Vignot and his team for their warm welcome during the Preven’s Purell Trophy on the iconic golf course designed by Mr. Palmer at Crécy la Chapelle.

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