Jake one of our best juniors, says Jack
Seventeen-year-old Jake Higginbottom has a big future according to one of Australia’s great players and junior supporters, Jack Newton.
Newton has watched Higginbottom since he was a 10-year-old competing in various Jack Newton Junior Golf tournaments around the state.
Jake Higginbottom (Credit: Anthony Powter)
“I rate him as probably one of the best players we have had,” Newton told The Golf Grinder.
“I think he has a real chance and one of his strengths is his consistency and there are no real weaknesses in his game. He has a pretty solid all round game.
“He makes the right decisions on the golf course more often than not, which a lot of kids that age don’t.”
What also impresses Jack is the young teenager’s ability to move out of the junior ranks and compete so successfully among the more senior amateurs.
“The thing is that he has stepped outside his comfort zone of the juniors and taken on the seniors and he’s doing a pretty admirable job at it,” said Newton.
Such high praise humbles the popular Newcastle lad.
“I feel good that great players like Jack himself, who has been a phenomenal player, says something like that, it makes me feel really good because I think I am heading in the right direction,” said Higginbottom.
Higginbottom has been working very closely with his coach, Gary Barter at the Australian Golf Club, where he holds a Junior Scholarship.
The dedication paid off where in the month of May he went on a hot streak, winning the Men’s Queensland Amateur, the Keperra Bowl and the Handa Junior Masters.
With such solid results against some top opposition comes the burden of expectation, but that doesn’t faze Higginbottom.
“I don’t think about it, I think I am too laid back to worry about it,” he laughed.
“Obviously everything I am playing in now is working towards a career.
“I do think about my future a little bit but I am just trying to stay in the moment and take it one shot at a time.”
While Higginbottom has won almost everything in his junior ranks, including last year’s jack Newton Junior Golf Player of the Year award, it is his ability to perform well overseas that shows he has what it takes to compete on the world stage.
Last year he won the China Amateur Open and was also runner-up at the Aaron Baddeley International, losing by one shot to America’s Byron Meth.
But Newton advises there is no rush to head to the professional ranks.
“I would like to see Jake stay amateur for another couple of years at least and then look at what might be around the corner,” said Newton.
“The bottom line is if you can’t beat the amateurs you can’t beat the pros, but I have to say Jake is certainly well on his way to mastering the amateur ranks.”
Higginbottom plans to play the UK and US Amateur seasons next year and he agrees with Newton that leaping into the professional ranks is not ideal right now.
“I would like to turn pro in maybe three or four years,” he said.
“I am only 17, I have heaps of time – we are not all like Rickie Fowler and Jason Day.”
And while Higginbottom is looking forward to a few more years in the Amateur ranks, he is also fine-tuning his game for this year’s Australian Open, where he will compete against the likes of Geoff Ogilvy, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson.
“I am just working towards the Open and it is my goal to be at my peak,” he said.
“I just want to play well and if I play well it will all come.”