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ment and Growth of the Game), and his staff coach some 400 kids, all members of


Youth on Course. The facility has the advantage of a short 9-hole course that is perfect for junior development, and is located in a populous area. Between its 18-hole course and its short course, Santa Teresa provides some 7,000 rounds a year to Youth on Course members, the most of any facility in the program. “Youth on Course has definitely


changed the whole climate of golf for juniors in this area,” says Sullivan. “The first year, when it lowered the junior green fee from $15 to $5, we almost instantly went from 20 kids in our junior club to 100. Where we used to get maybe 15 kids for our weekly tournaments, now there are


close to 80 each time. We’ve also seen a lot of kids from the San Jose First Tee come over to join Youth on Course and play.” Sullivan takes particular pride in helping produce high-skill play- ers through instruction and weekly tournaments. “We’ve seen our Youth on Course kids making their high school teams, and some going on to play in college, and a couple have even turned pro,” he says. “But no matter how good they get, just playing is a great experi- ence. If you compete in golf, you make very close friendships, and your love for the game tends to be stronger. Naturally, every course has selfish reasons for developing lifelong golfers. But the main thing I see is more kids becoming better people through the game.” Jim Collins, general manager and


PGA professional at San Ramon GC, where more than 2,000 rounds a year funded by Youth on Course are played, has a similar message. “I look at what Youth on Course


provides—kids playing a great game in a nice environment where their parents know they’re safe, the whole deal helping the courses and growing the game—it’s a beautiful thing.” The internship component of Youth


on Course, which provides paid jobs for high school students at participating golf courses, is another way to develop future emissaries of the program. “We are proud to be part of mak- ing our industry and the game more diverse by providing some oppor- tunities,” says Tom Smith, general manager at TPC Harding Park, which participates in the internship program and provides Youth on Course rounds on both its courses.


26 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2015


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