Sunday, May 31, 2009

Junior Golf of Cochise County, Arizona

Junior Golf of Cochise County was born from a love of the game of golf and the kids from this beautiful county. Cochise County, Arizona covers 6,219 square miles and has a population of about 128,000. There are eight golf courses in the county, seven public and one private, mostly concentrated around the counties largest city, Sierra Vista. Cochise County is a very rural county, with the entire southern portion sharing a border with Mexico. As you can imagine, there are many unique issues when you live this close to the border, which can create a great deal of temptation for kids; hence, why Junior Golf is so important. If we can get more kids involved in golf or any constructive activity for that matter, it could mean one less kid going astray and getting into trouble. Plus, these kids are the future of golf and if we don’t pass along this great game to them, where will we be in a few years?

In March 2006, I started working at Turquoise Valley Golf Course, Restaurant & RV. My first experience working with the kids in the area was helping some with the Bisbee High School Golf Team that spring. In May, I set up a junior golf program for the month of June. We had 35 kids in the program. By the time the next spring rolled around, I was helping full time with the High School Team and trying to figure out how to get more junior golfers into the summer program. We decided to expand and include kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Bisbee. In 2007, we had 38 in the regular program and 15 in the B & G Club program. We received donations of clubs, bags, shoes, balls and pull carts from all over, and thanks to these donations, by 2008, were able to expand the program to two months, and had a total of 55 junior golfers.

In January 2009, the Turquoise Valley Golf & Social Association decided to close their books after 37 years. They asked me if they could donate some money to junior golf. I said that would be great, and guessed that the donation would be enough to cover the upcoming summer’s Junior Clinic Tournament and meals. Much to my surprise, it was a lot more! However, there was one stipulation, I had to make sure the program grew and became something more than just a Turquoise Valley program. Eagerly accepting this challenge, I met with several local business people and we decided to start a true county wide junior golf program, which is how Junior Golf of Cochise County was formed and we are working to establish ourselves as a 501c3 Non Profit Organization.

The goals for our first year are to set up clinics at each course within the county, to distribute the 1,000+ golf clubs that have been donated and we have set the dates for the first Cochise County Junior Golf Championship, July 27 & 28, at Turquoise Valley.

Please visit the website we established, to get information out to all the kids, parents, schools and golf courses.

If you have any questions about our program, wish to volunteer your time, or contribute, please contact

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