City College golfer Jesse Ferris has emerged as a top talent in Southern California while his team works to compensate for the loss of their top player last year.
The Vaquero’s 2009 men’s golf squad had a solid season, even though they ended the year with a disappointing showing at state championships.
While this year’s team has not shown as much promise, Ferris, a third-year student, has emerged as one of the region’s best young prospects.
“My game has really come full circle, I’ve never played this good,” Ferris said.?
Ferris, 21, started the season by winning the 11-team Bakersfield Invitational at Rio Bravo Country Club. He continued his success at the Rio Hondo Invitational at California Community College in Whittier Feb. 12 with a second place effort, and is currently the No. 1 ranked golfer among community colleges in Southern California.
“Jesse is very confident player and a great putter, he is aware of his capabilities,” said City College’s golf coach Chuck Melendez. He believes Ferris could compete at a division one level.
Melendez is no stranger to coaching young talent. He got a first-hand account of one of California’s best prospects last year, Andrew Perez. Perez is currently pursuing a professional golf career while Ferris takes his spot as the team’s number one player.
Ferris has played golf since he was six-years-old, competing in Junior Golf leagues and then moving on to play for his high school team. He admits that in high school, his focus wasn’t solely on golf.
“I spent a lot of time at the beach and lost some interest in golf,” said Ferris. “My game suffered.”
Ferris attributes his “laid-back” attitude to his upbringing as a surfer in Encinitas, Calif.
“To me it’s not always about playing well, it’s about the camaraderie in playing with friends, and just having fun,” said Ferris. “When I have fun out there I play better, that’s just how it works for me.”
Ferris’s unique perspective on competitive golf is centered on enjoying himself, and now that he is doing well, he is having more fun than ever.
Last year Ferris was declared academically ineligible to compete for not having enough credits. He served as the team’s assistant coach, a duty that coach Melendez said he wouldn’t have trusted any other player to fulfill.
Ferris’ future in golf is uncertain, however the taste of success has reignited his love for the sport.
“I didn’t get into this to be pro, but I am having more fun than ever. As long as that feeling continues, I will be golfing.”
UCSB’s golf coach Steve Lass recently contacted coach Melendez regarding Jesse’s possible future as a Gaucho.
“Jesse is an extremely talented golfer,” said Melendez. More importantly he’s a dependable person who has great character; with hard work he will succeed wherever he goes.”