One-on-one interview with professional golfer, and Oshawa native, Jake Patte.
Where did you learn to play golf and what was your favourite memory when you were just starting to play the game?
I first got introduced to golf by my father Jon Patte at 4 years old. I immediately fell in love with the sport; watching it on television, spending countless hours in our back yard pretending that I was playing in the Masters with whiffle balls, and sometimes even sleeping with my clubs just to make sure they were safe. My dad is no longer with us, but to this day remains my biggest influence and supporter of my golfing aspirations. I feel his presence every time I am on the course.
What are your fondest memories from your university and professional career?
University — I enjoyed a successful and very enjoyable four years at the University of Akron, competing against the finest amateur golfers in the world. At Akron, as teammates we pushed each other to be better every day on and off the course. I became a much better golfer, and person as a result of my team golf experience at Akron.
Professional — My fondest memories from my pro career include a win in a team event with my good friend and mentor John Rushnell. It was my first professional tournament as a club pro, and a 2 person scramble format. We played very well the entire round and finished with a clutch eagle on our final hole to shoot 63 and force a playoff which we eventually won.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments as a golfer?
My greatest accomplishment from my playing career was my third place finish at the 2011 Canadian Amateur. As I readied to fly to Winnipeg for the tournament, it was clear that my dad’s fight with terminal cancer was nearing its end. If I had of stayed home, it would have broken his heart, so he promised to watch the live scoring with my mother and be home for a massive hug when I came back. I played the most inspiring golf of my life, finishing third in the tournament just two shots away from being the Canadian Amateur champion and receiving an exemption into the Canadian Open the following year. When my dad was in good health, he was more than just my father. He was my caddy, my coach, and my biggest fan. I returned home from Winnipeg on August 15th with my bronze medal and a huge hug for my dad. He passed away two days later. It was a roller coaster of emotions that I could have never have prepared for. As I said earlier, I feel my father’s strength every single time I am on the golf course.
Is there a coach that you had during your career that had a significant impact on your game?
Many coaches have influenced my career, however, I would have to say that John Rushnell, teaching pro at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club, has impacted me as a golfer and now coach more than any other. I am very grateful for John’s guidance over the years!
How have you been involved with junior golf in Durham Region?
I was very active with junior golf at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club over the last two years and recently accepted a job to be head coach and partner in the Geared to Golf Performance Center. This is a golf performance center with an emphasis on junior golf development at all skill levels. My partner Ryan Starr and I are very excited to realize our vision of an all access center for junior golf development.
Are there any other achievements or milestones that you have reached?
I have won five professional tournaments, and enjoyed successful junior and amateur careers, but to this day my greatest award was being honoured as the Mid-American Conference Sportsman of the year in 2010. This award was voted on by the players and coaches in my NCAA conference and was a great honour as it represented more about who I was as a person than a golfer. Golf is a game typically measured by numbers, however, there is so much more to it than the numbers on the scorecard. This is a lesson that I try and teach to all of my junior athletes.