All-American alum, Jason Allred, wins at life even when it’s not all fair(ways).
Childhood dreams cannot become a reality without steadfast determination, perseverance through routine and — for those lucky enough to have that certain magic in their genes — talent. Former All-American and Pepperdine alum Jason Allred has been chasing his childhood dreams ever since he was, well, a child. As a star member of Pepperdine’s golf team during his collegiate career, Allred made his mark on campus beyond just athletics, being named the senior Scholar-Athlete of 2002. Allred found the love of his life, Kimberly, while attending Pepperdine and the two have now been married for 11 years with three children, the youngest of whom was born shortly before he played in the Honda Classic. Currently, Allred continues to pursue greatness in the field of golf, most notably tying for third place in February at the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, not far from his old stomping grounds here in Malibu. Although it may be easy to see Allred’s personal and professional accomplishments as just another Pepperdine success story, to do so would be to miss the heart and soul of this athlete’s journey.
True, Allred has played on the PGA and the Nationwide tour and is currently playing on the Web.com Tour. True, Allred is supported on all sides by family, friends and old teammates. True, Allred has found his vocation to, in his words, “glorify my awesome God by bringing to the table every talent that I have been given to deeply enjoy and be my very best in each moment” and “to offer my very best to the Lord, not out of duty, but with gratitude and joy knowing that my every breath and the promise of eternity with Him is 100 percent a gift.” With all of these truisms, however, Allred recognizes the journey he has been on. He acknowledges the “joys and challenges, some successes and many struggles” that have brought him this far.
Growing up in Ashland, Oregon, Allred said that the game of golf impacted his life at a young age. His father introduced him to the sport and taught him how to play (and still helps him with his game today), but it was the competition of the sport that drove him to spend “countless hours at the course with my dad,” Allred said. Living in a family of three boys further fueled his competitive spirit. Playing professional golf was the dream. Hard work was the method. Talent was the gift.
While attending Pepperdine, Allred obtained his degree in communication and was able to engage in even more competition with the golf team, an “incredibly talented and fun group of guys.”
“I can look back and say that as a result of amazing experiences I had being part of the golf team, that I graduated with a stronger passion and more refined skills to pursue a career in golf than when I started four years earlier.”
The years following graduation proved to be extremely challenging for Allred, as those years often are for any aspiring professional athlete, as he strove to fulfill the dreams that had been growing since childhood. He played in both the PGA Tour and the Web.com Tour, all the while honing his skills. Countless hours spent drilling the techniques of the long game, short game, head game and more, culminating with every tournament score as he fought the good fight with perseverance, tenacity and an unparalleled positivity. A dedicated individual and not one to shirk from honest assessment, Allred confesses that even now he tends to “try so hard to do so well that I often get in my way a bit and don’t play with the joy and freedom that I know the Lord has made available to me.” There were good days and bad days, days when he didn’t make the cut and days when he was on fire, sinking every putt.
Through his golf journey, Allred has been able to experience firsthand the bumps in the road, the turns around the sandpits and the spots where the gravel didn’t quite line up perfectly along the fairway. Nevertheless, through every tournament and every success or less-than-success, Allred held steadfast to the values he now believes Pepperdine impressed upon him: community, joy, discipline and service. He says he feels grateful that “the foundational atmosphere of Pepperdine allowed me to catch this value of living to serve and bless others.” Allred did not hole up in his own private struggle with the game of golf, but rather welcomed friends, family, church members, mentors and even junior golfers to speak into his life. Those closest to Allred testify to the impact he had on their lives with his incredible work ethic, love for the game and for his family, and dedication to humbly use his God-given talents.
Allred’s recent third place finish at the Northern Trust Open was his best ever thus far as a professional. He says he felt the support of the Pepperdine community — a community that he believes has had perhaps the greatest long-lasting impact on his life to date. It seems that all he needed was a little California ocean air and the close proximity to his alma mater for all his labors to manifest themselves on the course during that tournament. In any case, Allred’s talent and conduct was exemplary of the values he believes were so firmly ingrained in him from his experience at Pepperdine. Indeed, Allred took the oft-repeated motto of “freely ye received, freely give” to heart as he states that he was “profoundly encouraged during my time at Pepperdine to use what I had been given to joyfully make an effort to be a blessing to others.”
Whether he is engaged in a tournament, practice rounds, drills, conversations or everyday interactions, Allred has truly born this mission of freely giving beyond the four short years spent at Pepperdine. Not only is Allred actively involved in his church and in his family, but he regularly makes time to take junior golfers out to the range or putting green or even to play a round of 18 with him. His striving “to be a blessing to others,” was not left behind in a dorm room or classroom. Instead of being overwhelmed by the somewhat daunting outside world that met him once he left the “Malibubble” surrounding Seaver Drive, Allred chose to meet this outside world with gratitude for the blessings he has been given, as well as a passion to bestow whatever blessings he could on those around him. With a passion for people and a desire to glorify God, Allred continues to be an ambassador of Pepperdine and its values.
We as students of Pepperdine have much to aspire to. The pressure to succeed can overwhelm even the most capable student, and comparison with our fellow peers only reveals how much harder we have to work and how much further we have to go to achieve our dreams. Meeting daunting deadlines is our destiny. There are no breaks to be caught. Even those who believe the future is as clearly outlined as the cart path at the Augusta National Golf Club (home to the annual Master’s Tournament) must recognize that, inevitably, there are upsets to our perfectly outlined strategy of play. What we choose to do with the upsets as our life hurls into a sandpit or (heaven forbid) into a large body of water will determine whether we can continue to be such ambassadors as Allred has been of his school, his values and his character.
Indeed, the journey for Allred is not over by any means as he has many years of competition-driven, childhood-fulfilling dream chasing to accomplish. For Allred, the Northern Trust Open may have been affirmation to continue investing the time and energy into the sometimes seemingly impossible-to-perfect game of golf. Allred sees golf as his calling, or his vocation to put it in Pepperdine terms. An inspiration to all of us here at Pepperdine who are looking forward to our futures, Allred has set the benchmark high. Perhaps childhood dreams are not out of reach after all.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330