as a teenager, Simon Jackson became the first player in Pontefract & District’s history to win both the junior and senior championships in the same year.
In 1991 he won the Leeds & District Union’s junior title and accepted a golf scholarship at a USA university, in Boston.
He had also won a Yorkshire Order of Merit title – the Auchterlonie Spoon – by seven shots from Hull’s Richard Finch, who would go on to become a successful member of the European Tour, winning two titles.
Jackson seemed set on the same path, but it was more than 20 years later before he finally started a career in golf – not as a player, but as owner of Findagolfbreak.co.uk, a company that arranges bespoke golfing trips in the UK and Ireland.
He had ditched his plans to pursue a career as a tournament player when his father died.
“I got accepted onto a golf scholarship in America when I was at a college in Pontefract, but my dad died when I was 18,” says Jackson.
“There was just my mum at home and it did not feel like the right time, so that never really panned out.”
He had worked in banking until, after successfully organising golf trips for playing pals at Pontefract, he decided to launch Findagolfbreak.co.uk, which now has over 200 venues on its site.
They include golf resort chains such as QHotels, De Vere Venues and Macdonald hotels, to elite ‘bucket list’ venues like St Andrews, Gleneagles and Turnberry.
“We are available to help with one-night Sunday drivers or seven-day golf holidays, whatever the customer desires,” says Jackson.
The down side of the enterprise growing is that Jackson has little time for playing golf, particularly since he has two young daughters, aged 12 and eight.
Although he will go on a trip to Newcastle with 20 friends at the beginning of next month – and it’s easy to guess who will be in charge of organisation.
“That’s how it all started, really,” he says.
“Obviously, I played golf and I like to travel and I was always looking for good deals as well holiday-wise.
“People started asking me if I could get deals on trips or things like that for them and I organised a couple of golf breaks for lads I know.
“It just moved on from there and because I have played golf in Yorkshire and further afield, I have a good knowledge of a lot of places.
“It’s taken me two years to build it up, getting all the venues, sorting the deals, creating the website etc.
“We’re starting to see visitors through the site and getting more enquiries and so it is picking up.
“There is not much time for playing golf at the moment; any spare time is spent with the family.”
Recalling the days when he dreamed of travelling the world as a professional golfer, he says: “I was off three when I was 16.
“I did have in mind when I was young the dream of being a a Tour player.
“I played for Leeds Union and I had training with Yorkshire on a couple of occasions and I thought I might be in with a shout, but I never played for Yorkshire.
“Eventually I got down to scratch by the age of about 20, but although I had some decent results along the way, I was not good enough to play to the standard you need to.
“Maybe if my dad had been still alive he would have been able to fund me to play and not work, but at that time you had a lot of good young lads – people like the Pullan twins, Stephen and Mark, and Simon Hurd – who were all playing all the time.
“That is what you had to be doing to get recognition.
“One of the best results I had was when I won at Selby in the the Auchterlonie Spoon. I was playing with Richard Finch, who has obviously gone on to do some great things, and he finished second behind me by seven shots.
“ I was a bit of a runaway leader that day. It was one of those days where things went right, your putts all drop – that was one of the highlights of my career.”
Findagolfbreak offers to take all the hassle out of organising a trip by booking everything from rooms to tee-times.
“Sometimes it is quite straightforward and people want to do, say, three or four days at the same venue, but sometimes people are more specific and want to go to different places in the same trip and stay at specific locations,” he says.
“Leaving it to us saves the customer a lot of time and hassle as I do all that for them and sort out the packages, a lot of bespoke stuff.
“We can book tee times, dinner – the whole package. The customer does not have to do anything after they have told us what their requirements are. We sort everything out and give a package price.”
As owner and one of three directors, Jackson is looking at expanding and incorporating European venues.
Anyone wanting further information should go to www.findagolfbreak.co.uk.