Jason Golden first started hitting the wall in middle school, and from that point on, had a racket in his hand whenever he could.
Esplanade Golf and Country Club Director of Tennis Jason Golden first started hitting the wall in middle school, and from that point on, the Summerfield resident had a racket in his hand whenever he could.
Golden began taking tennis lessons twice a week from his eventual high school tennis coach. Golden also played basketball, but he felt most at home on the court.
“I liked that it was something I could do by myself,” Golden says. “Whenever you hit the wall, the ball kept coming back. It was both mentally and physically challenging.”
Following his collegiate tennis career at Lakeland College, in Plymouth, Wis., Golden served as the head tennis professional for a club in Maui, Hawaii, before moving to Florida and turning his attention to coaching.
“Coaches have a lot of influence,” Golden says. “Coaches teach for the purpose of being in people’s lives and helping them reach a level they necessarily can’t reach by themselves, whether it’s in sports or life.”
Golden now is preparing for his fifth and six marathons, the Goofy Challenge and the Celebration Marathon, respectively, which he plans to run in January.
He ran his first marathon six years ago after discussing the topic with a friend.
“It intrigued me,” Golden says. “I picked up my training, and it’s taken off from there.”
Golden tries to run one or two marathons a year. Eventually, Golden, who has run roughly 100 half marathons, a combination of both road races and individual marathon training routes, has aspirations of running an ultramarathon, a run that’s longer than 26.2 miles.
Hitting the Court
In addition to running four days a week, Golden also hits regularly. He also gives tennis lessons and clinics, which helps him stay active throughout the workday. It also provides Golden with the opportunity to share his passion for athletics with club members.
“One thing athletics has taught me is that everyone is on their own journey,” Golden says. “It’s a process regardless of activity.”
Golden used to be a vegetarian before deciding to start adding fish to his meal plan.
He’s a firm believer that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Although Golden tends to take a more black-and-white approach to nutrition, he admits it’s OK to make the occasional exception, especially if it involves frozen yogurt.
“I think it’s OK to go ahead and cheat with what you eat and not be so stringent, but just do it in moderation,” Golden says.
Golden played youth football, basketball and tennis growing up. Tennis has remained an integral part of his life as an adult, and over the years, he has added running to the mix. But don’t expect Golden to be teeing off anytime soon. He admits golf is the one sport he has no interest in playing.
“I just don’t have the patience for it,” says Golden, whose wife, Wendi, is a former Ladies Professional Golf Association player and high school golf coach.
However, Golden wishes he had played more soccer growing up because it encompasses running and valuable life lessons.