Jes Høgh – the footballer who loves golf
Danish professional footballer Jes Høgh’s all-round qualities as a player made him much sought after and he enjoyed a successful 15-year career with Aalborg, AaB, Brøndby, Fenerbachçe, and Chelsea as well as being a lynchpin of his national side with 57 caps for Denmark in midfield and defence.
Like many ex-players, retirement from the pitch led to TV media work and that would no doubt have been the end game had not Jes suffered a devastating stroke one night after commentating on a match. His gradual recovery and the role golf has played in it, demonstrates the redemptive, therapeutic and peaceful nature of the sport to help restore the faith and good health of the many people who have suffered life’s ills, finding a haven for themselves with friends on the links.
Jes is one of 18 EDGA golfers who are featured in a new book called ‘MULLIGAN – tough love and second chances’. The inspiring stories of these players are sure to be of interest to many readers (see end of article), while for each copy secured by donation, a hospital/clinic also benefits from receiving a free copy.
One January night in Copenhagen, Jes returned to his hotel room after having had dinner with his TV colleagues. He got into bed and soon felt he was losing the right side of his body, “first it was my leg, then my arm and finally my head,” says Jes who “was just trying to survive … everything was chaos, and all I could think was what happened, what happened, what happened?”
There then followed five long months in the hospital, including hours of patient rebuilding work. Jes had to reconstruct both a damaged body and a damaged mind. Using his athlete’s mentality, he turned to his trusted training mantra from his playing days of, “train, eat, sleep and repeat”.
He was “working like crazy” to wrestle back function in the right side of his body and relearning how to speak. Gym and speech therapy sessions occupied much of the following three years, as Jes slowly but surely progressed.
Jes already knew golf even in his football days and played regularly with other teammates; with a handicap of four, he was a confident player able to hold his own. After his rehabilitation, it became crystal clear just how vital golf was to him.
Today Jes plays several times per week and says, “in the summer months…there is something about going to the course around eight in the evening to play a few holes alone”. Here the tranquillity he finds to be alone with his thoughts; just swinging and walking are priceless.
With a handicap of 34, but with the tactical awareness of someone who has played the game to a much lower handicap, Jes is a great partner to have in four-ball matches. Just as in his best central defending days, he is hard to beat. And now the second half of his match is just getting started.
Please visit www.edgagolf.com/book for details of the Give and Gift campaign, and the opportunity to donate and receive a complimentary copy of ‘MULLIGAN – tough love and second chances’ as a token of EDGA’s appreciation.