Sport - Golf - Jackson Bell
Jackson Bell (TFA, JGE) with the 2022 - 2023 UAE PGA Matchplay and Order of Merit Trophies Image Credit: Supplied

GULF NEWS Caught up with 28 year-old Jackson Bell, winner of the 2022 – 2023 Emirates PGA Order of Merit.

Tell us about where you work and your time in the UAE?

I am a Teaching Professional at the Tommy Fleetwood Academy at Jumeirah Golf Estates. I have been four years in Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates and before that was one year at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.

How did you take up the game as a youngster?

I played football a lot as a youngster and took up the game of golf late at 17 years-old, I do not have a golfing background like many of my peers. My uncle is a Head Golf Professional in Northern Ireland and he got me into doing my PGA Qualifications. We all wish we had started golf earlier – but it is what it is!

What were your golfing expectations for this season?

I made it my goal this season to play as much as possible and practice hard, especially when I was not coaching. Every few minutes before, during and after lessons, I tried to hit balls – I became a golf ‘nerd.’ It took a lot of my social life away from me but in the end, it was all worthwhile.

I was injured previously for 15 months so this time away from the game gave me a goal.

What were your highlight results this season?

I played in around 20 events over the 2022 – 2023 Emirates UAE PGA season plus the Matchplay.

In the Matchplay I had a tough draw, I played Louis Gaughan (Dubai Hills GC) who won the UAE PGA Championships at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Tom Buchanan (Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club), Stuart Fee (UAE PGA), Mike Major (Dubai Creek), Sujjan Singh (CH3, The Els Club) in the semi and Matt Brooks (UAE PGA) in the final which I won by 3&2 over 36 holes at Arabian Ranches Golf Club.

In the semi-final I was three under-par after nine holes and three down at one point. On the back nine, thankfully, I had a nice run with a few birdies and an eagle to take the lead and win one up. I played really well in the final as well.

What are your future plans moving forward?

I still feel I am learning the game, how to play and I know I can get better. I just missed out on the Qualifying Round for Challenge Tour’s UAE Challenge at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. I hope this UAE PGA Order of Merit title will enable me to receive invites to perhaps the Challenge Tour and other events next season. I have great support from Tommy Fleetwood and some good people around me to lean on when I need it. The goal is plain and simple really; I want to test my game and play against the best players in the world – even once. Let’s see how we go!