The allure of professional golf is a strong one for the high-level amateur golfers. The paydays, fame and chances to play on the best courses in the country when they are brought up to top conditions is indeed a tantalizing offer. But when the reality of the long drives and constant grinding for dollars on the smaller tours sets in, many elect to return to their amateur roots, where they can hold down a day job, practice when the chance presents itself, then compete against like minded (and similarly handicapped) individuals.
For Jeremy Gearhart, it was another factor that led to him applying for his amateur reinstatement about a year-and-a-half into his professional career. The arrival of his son, Reid.
"That was a life-changing experience," said Gearhart.
Life on the Hooters Tour wasn't making him rich, and with a child on the way, it was time to make a change.
"I was a bottom-feeder, no real success," said Gearhart. "I made a few cuts but didn't get any wins."
He gave up on tour and now finds work as a contractor and at the Chalk Mountain Golf Club in his hometown.
Since then, Gearhart has run off a slew of impressive results, including a runner-up finish in the 2007 Northern California Golf Association Amateur Championship, which earned him a spot on the three-man team at the USGA State Team Championship, where he, Brian Edick and Jordan Nasser steered the California team to a 31st place finish at Carlton Woods.
"It was really a pleasure to be there, it was a first-class experience," said Gearhart. "They really take care of you, ropes set up, Pro V's on the range. They cater to your needs, you have full clubhouse privileges. Everybody there was awesome, no complaints."
That same year, Gearhart went on to win the San Luis Obispo County Amateur, Atascadero City Championship and finish up the year with a 3rd place showing at the amateurgolf.com Christmas Classic.
The 2008 year seems to be more of the same, with a repeat victory at the S.L.O. County Am and a victory at the amateurgolf.com Silicon Valley Amateur. Looking forward, he will play in the California State Fair, Northern California Open and try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.