Joel Juht is currently one of the hottest names on the Estonian golf scene, alongside many good golfers, and this is primarily due to a golf challenge that lasted five months: Joel, known as an adventurer and recreational athlete, decided to start golf training after successfully completing the desert marathon Marathon Des Sables.
Joel’s goal was to lower the HCP to 18.5 in order to get the right to play in the Estonian National Stroke Play Championship. He achieved this and was the first to register for the competition. Even more, by the opening day of the Estonian championships, he had lowered his HCP to 14.7 and was absolutely sure that he would do well in the competitions. “A week before the competition, I made practice rounds in Valgeranna, where my best round was 82 and my worst was 86 strokes, and I was relatively confident that I would do well,” said Joel. However, the reality in golf is not so rosy.
You can say that golf is like building the city of Tallinn – it is never ready!
By now, Joel is convinced that one can never fully learn to play golf. “Golf is like building the city of Tallinn – you are never completely ready! One day you can play a super game and win, but the next moment you make one wrong move and the whole game is ruined,” he gives his opinion. How does Joel look back on the challenge he set for himself? Did he enjoy the process or focus on the outcome? What was he satisfied with and what regrets does he still have? We asked him to answer these and many other questions.
One day you can play a super game and win, but the next moment you make one wrong move and the whole game is ruined.
I think I learned the most about self-discipline. I am always on the move and always hustling. Sometimes you just need to take time to focus. I think that my focus improved, and I was reminded to pay attention to that side as well.
I think the hardest part was lowering the HCP so quickly. I was busy doing that and I just didn’t have time to enjoy the game. I played and I was kind of happy, but then again you can’t say I was happy because I was playing to get the HCP down, not to enjoy the game and the weather. Now when I go to play, it’s just to enjoy the game. I don’t think about the HCP, and after the Estonian championship I have been like that: whether it’s because of the weather or something else, there has been a period of bad games. Nothing very good has come out.
If you look at why I decided to do the Estonian championship in the first place and what I had promised myself – I did it. But when it comes to my game, these days I was not playing the game I really should have been playing.
I think that it was largely due to the weather, but also to the lack of competitive golf experience. I think that might have been the reason. But maybe also that I’m just not that good of a player. Everything is possible!
If you make the decision to take part of a competition, you must definitely consider that in order to take part in the big competitions, you have to play quite a lot. Especially practicing the game at the moment of the competition. I couldn’t do it very much. I was just on the course playing with the goal of lowering my HCP all the time. And I actually played 18 holes most of the time during the summer. Those nine rounds did not come. Some people underplay their handicap with 9 holes, but that’s not the game.
For some reason, I believe that I will go back there next year. But we will see.
The Kanal 2’s heartfelt thank-you programme “You have left a mark” gave the youth of the JJ-Street street dance school established by Joel the opportunity to convey the gratitude to the creator of the school. Thanks to street dancing, Joel’s life has crossed paths with many young people, and he has changed some of them a lot.
Monika Kuzmina, publisher of Golf magazine and editor-in-chief of the Good News portal, invited Joel to Kreutzwaldi hotel with an excuse to evaluate a video. However, when there, Joel saw a video with thank you words for his contribution to the lives of his dance students Mari, Lenel, Brita, Eva and Kerli. Later, the girls and many other friends were waiting for him. There had been no performance more exciting for the girls than when they stepped in front of Joel to say, “Thank you!”
In the video, Lenel raised the question: “Does he know how much he has changed my life?” Joel came into her life when the girl was 16 years old, and it was a very stormy period for her, because her mother had cancer, the situation at home was difficult and she had no direct support from anyone. “I was angry that my mother didn’t want to fight, I felt like there was no way out, and because of that I got angry at everyone and everything. When I found dance, I found a way to become a better person, through dance I got rid of anger and pain. Joel’s sentence “You are not alone, we are here for you, everything will pass, it will get better” made a big difference,” Lenel recalled.
Mari’s tragic story happened three years ago, when the dancers were preparing to travel to Finland to perform. The girl decided to stay a night with her brother, so she called him, but the brother did not answer the phone, and since Mari had the key to his house, she went there. There she found out the tragic truth that her brother had decided to end his life. “The first thing I did was call my coach, and Joel, together with his partner, drove to my brother’s place at 3-4 in the morning. I had to give the sad news to other family members as well. Joel helped me understand that even when things like this happen, life must go on. For the family, it was a realisation that you have to take care of each other. During the two following months, my coach often travelled to Põlva to talk to us. Not only through dance, but through events like this, we have grown together. My coach has played the role of an older brother to me, and I will be grateful for that for the rest of my life,” said Mari.
Brita said that everything she has achieved in life has come from the circle of values that Joel created, and in a way, they can all say that Joel is their second father. “He’s always been there to help, especially when there have been moments where I wouldn’t have done what I did without him – when my still young mother died in the next room. A big competition was approaching, everyone was counting on me, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to participate. Joel saved the day, he instilled confidence in me, and I was able to give it my all. Joel was able to create an image of what a healthy life is like; this could not have been done by anyone who has not seen and dreamed of it before,” said Brita.
Not only through dance, but through events like this, we have grown together.
Eva said that all the people from JJ-Street’s dance have been like family to her for more than 10 years. Her mother left for Finland, but she trusted her daughter, knowing that she would not do anything stupid at the dance school run by Joel. “There was trust between Joel and me, he provided a sense of security, and that’s important for a young girl to have a father figure whom she can rely on. There aren’t many people like Joel, but there could be more,” Eva expressed her thoughts.
Kerl’s story was tragic, as she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. It was a difficult year, and her father has even said: “Let’s pretend that year never happened.” The day when the doctor called and said that the girl had been diagnosed with lymphoma, Kerli was sitting at the table with her mother, her father was in the living room. “I started to cry, my mother hugged me and then I said to my father: “Dad, I need money to buy a wig.” One night I felt that I didn’t want to live, but when I woke up, I knew that I was going to fight: I had the dance school, Joel, coach Kätriin and training partners; I knew I would come back.
I wore a wig for a while, but then I thought why, it’s not me. I publicly posted a picture of myself without hair and a story about what had happened to me. Joel immediately called and said he was proud of me for having the courage to do this. This gave me more momentum and I walked with my head held high from then on. Positive energy didn’t let me sink into a black hole, the dance school kept me up,” said Kerli.
Touched by the girls’ words of gratitude, Joel Juht said that he had not always understood how important he had been to the young people before he was recognized on the TV show “You have left a mark”. “When you do the work and it becomes your life’s work, helping people is a natural part of it, and it’s nice when someone gets help. But such good moments as today here, in front of you, often go unnoticed,” Joel thanks the show’s creators. Carmen Pritson-Tamme, the author of the show, replied: “Young people all over Estonia thank you for this deep and warm impression and for being able to bear this burden!”
When you do the work and it becomes your life’s work, helping people is a natural part of it, and it’s nice when someone gets help.
Joel Juht, about whom we can safely say: some people are born to this world because they have a higher purpose. He knows it and he won’t give up no matter what. Through the tragic stories of five young women, the real size and importance of the founder of the dance school and his contribution to the lives of several hundred young people was revealed on the show. This person has not only left a deep mark on the life path of many, but he has also saved the lives of numerous young people.
One of the memories from organizing the TV surprise for Joel is that at first, he almost refused to come, because there was a competition in Golf X Rae, where he had been registered, on the same day. We went back and forth for a long time, and I had to beg him several times and promise that he would make it to the golf tournament. In the end, however, we saw this man in the show, who is super energetic, with mega power, excited, tireless, with awesome ideas, strong and even smiling too often. Isn’t it the case that sometimes we think that people who are too strong seem to be superhuman?
The TV program “You have left a mark” showed the entire Estonian society who Joel Juht really is and what role he and the organization he created actually play in the lives of young people. Some of the young people’s stories were a big surprise to me too, and thanks to these stories we saw a man, an instructor, a role model, a real person, and a real soul! This is what our Joel Juht or JJ really is, even if he tries to hide this heart and warmth from the public with particularly powerful actions. Thank heaven that such people exist and thank the angels for my work that offers me the opportunity to be next to such people and that some of these great souls have also become my friends. Dear golf leaders, I believe we all have a lot to learn from Joel.