Youth on Course program teaches kids about golf, life
Corporate giving • Chevron sponsorship keeps the program affordable for participants.
Published: June 28, 2012 10:25AM
Updated: June 28, 2012 10:18AM
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Michael Mangum | Special to the Tribune 9-year-old Salt Lake resident Tyler Gale, right, Blake Hession, 9 of Salt Lake, and Bayla Nelson, 6, of Salt Lake, practice hitting at the driving range during a youth golf clinic held at Nibley Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City.

Small children sit in a half-circle around Quentin Sasser, listening intently. He bends forward and starts the lesson with an important question.

“How does an elephant’s trunk move?” Sasser asks.

One boy, Conner, stands up and puts his arm up to his nose, swinging it back and forth.

“That’s right,” Sasser adds. “It moves side to side.”

He isn’t teaching biology at the Hogle Zoo. Sasser is a golf instructor for the Chevron Youth on Course Golf and Life Skills Program, a curriculum aimed at building students’ golf and life skills. This particular lesson was designed to help improve their chipping.

“It’s important to make it fun — to make sure they’re engaged,” Sasser said, “but we also want to make it challenging. We want to treat it like they’re in a classroom. Their parents paid a reasonable amount to get them here, and we want to do all we can to make sure they learn.”

The camp costs $50 because Chevron subsidizes the expense, while some of the kids are able to attend for free thanks to a scholarship offered by the company.

“Our camps remain accessible for everybody,” golf pro and youth instructor Stacey Camacho said. “Chevron does a great job for us to help keep these programs in our community.”

The Youth on Course activities are scheduled throughout the summer, covering all Salt Lake courses including Bonneville, Forest Dale, Glendale, Mountain Dell, Nibley Park, Rose Park and Wingpointe. The program also grants the students a Youth on Course card that allows for half-price buckets at all courses and $2 course fees at Jordan River.

Camacho said the majority of the children are returning students. He is thankful for the chance to give back to the sport he loves.

“It means the world to us,” Camacho said. “Being where we are now is because someone took the time to help us. It’s unbelievable to have the opportunity to be that person for these kids.”

Sasser, who didn’t take up golf until he was in his 30s, had to learn on his own. He caddied at local events and discovered the game little by little.

“Everything I learned I had to dig out of the dirt,” Sasser said. “These kids have a great opportunity here. The knowledge that we are offering to them is unlimited and comes from years of experience.”

At a glance

The Youth on Course program features beginning, intermediate and advanced classes.

The program also offers junior leagues, parent/junior scrambles and individual tournaments.

Registration packets are available at any Salt Lake pro shop or online at www.slc-golf.com.