Golliday stacks it and smacks it a mile

Published 11:48 am Saturday, June 1, 2024

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Known as the “Jesus of Golf,” he can drive the ball into the heavens.

Colington native Jacob Golliday will put his awesome long drive abilities and all-around golf prowess to the test Monday in Summit, N.J. as he attempts to qualify for the 124th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2), which is set for June 13-16.

This final qualifying event, 36 holes at Canoe Brook Country Club, will determine his fate. If he goes low enough, he’ll head “home” to Pinehurst.

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Golliday, currently based in Raleigh, sounded upbeat about it all during a call last week. He played “lights out” and shot a 69 in the local qualifier at the Duke Golf Club in Durham several weeks ago, reported fellow amateur player Nick Nuzzi of Point Harbor.

“I had a hot start and finished three under, so I got in by the hair of my chin,” Golliday said. “It’s been a crazy run these last six years.”

Speaking of hairy chins, Golliday looks way different than he did as a senior standout baseball catcher at First Flight High School in 2008. He’s let his hair grow out along with a full beard and mustache – hence the Jesus of Golf moniker.

At age 33, he’s certainly not the traditional college golfer looking to get in the U.S. Open or the PGA Tour.

But he does have a solid sports pedigree and a college golfer mom, Nancy, who played for University of Minnesota in the late ’70s and once worked at Pinehurst running their North and South Amateur Tournaments.

“She ran the tournaments there from ’80 to ’83,” he said. “I go every year … in the early ’90s, I lived there off and on.”

His parents, Stu and Nancy, have been fixtures in the fitness and personal training fields for decades on the beach. They even opened the first ever gym here – The Outer Banks Nautilus and Fitness Center at the Sea Ranch Hotel in Kill Devil Hills in 1982.

In addition, they’ve maintained properties in Pinehurst and Jacob said he feels like he grew up around there, which could perhaps give him an edge when playing there.

Jacob explained that he did play middle school golf but since baseball was also played during the spring season, he opted to drop golf and play baseball for the Nighthawks.

Jacob played college ball at three different schools and graduated from Francis Marion University, a division II school in Florence, S.C.

After graduation, he struck out for California and rekindled his love for golf. Because hit could drive the ball so far, Jacob started competing in long drive events, which are like home run derbies in baseball, he said.

“They step up to the ball and go as hard as they can,” Nuzzi said. “They swing all out!”

Just when Golliday had “put his name on the industry” and made some money, COVID hit, he noted.

At that point, Jacob learned more about the corporate side of the golf industry and did some modeling and production, too. He dropped names of companies he’s worked for, such as “cool brands” like Top Golf, Lexus and Malbon.

According to Stephen Malbon, his company isn’t a golf brand – it’s a lifestyle brand influenced by golf, and that’s the way Jacob looks at his golf life.

Now, Jacob has developed his own brand as Jesus of Golf. To view some of his colorful images and posts, go to his Instagram page at @jesusofgolf.