Steamboat Golf Club hosts PGA junior golf program, hopes to improve youth participation in sport
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local golf courses are banding together to put on a PGA junior league program for golfers 17 and under that will be held at Steamboat Golf Club, starting June 29. The first-year director of junior golf at Catamount Ranch and Club, Luis Gaspar, hopes it’s the first step in developing a larger youth golf program at Catamount and in Steamboat.
The league allows golfers ages 7 to 17 and of any experience level to learn the game while being in a team environment. Weekly, participants will be able to play in scramble format. A scramble allows a pair of golfers to each hit the ball and move forward using the best shot until the ball goes in the hole.
“The cool part is you can have somebody at a beginner level and somebody super advanced, and we combine them and have them feel good about each other,” said Gaspar.
The program will run on five Mondays through June, July and August, with tee times starting at 3 p.m. People can register at pgajrleague.com and look for the program name: Steamboat Springs PGA Jr. League.
Gaspar’s goal is to attract all the junior golfers that may typically go to separate courses and bring them together. He also hopes to bring in newcomers and introduce them to the sport.
Typically, the PGA junior league brings teams to a regional playoff, but that won’t happen this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a small percentage of teams around the country are invited to one of 12 regionals. Gaspar hopes if the program holds strong, they can compete regionally and even nationally in a few years.
- June 29
- July 13
- July 20
- July 27
- Aug. 3
The PGA junior league breaks down a 9-hole game into three ‘flags’ or series of three holes. A player can play as little as three or as many as nine holes. Substitutes can take over at the beginning of each flag. A game consists of two teams, each comprised of at least eight players broken down into pairs. Each pair earns points over the course of a flag, and are added together to get a team total. A game consists of 12 flags. For a full explanation of the format and rules, visti pgajrleague.com/format.
Golf was one of the first sports to return as states and businesses reopened since the sport is already socially distanced. The Steamboat Golf Club was the first local course to open in late April, but under strict restrictions. Now, all four local courses — Haymaker, Catamount, Rollingstone Ranch and Steamboat Golf Club — are open.
Gaspar is hoping that this league can help grow the sport of golf in Routt County. He has a plan in his head of how to do that, with the PGA junior league being one of the first steps.
“It’s hard when the way we are structured out here is such a summertime sort of feel, you don’t get too many kids who are permanent (golfers). My goal, my mindset is, I’m going to build up a junior golf program no matter what,” he said. “In the winter, have a simulator. I feel like this is the first step.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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