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King City
March 2, 2024

Funny Papers Again Column | Golf Program for Local Youth Hits a Hole-In-One

I do not know much about the game of golf. Not sure even if golf is referred to as a game, or a sport or a hobby or what. What I can see about the game, let us stick with game, is that a player is given a very small ball that must be placed into an only somewhat larger hole very far away and must do it in limited tries using a variety of clubs. And it can be done. Not by me, but many people do put those little balls into those holes in courses all over the world.

In my best years, I could not throw a ball with accuracy enough to achieve that outcome, let alone bang away at it with a club. With a baseball bat, maybe, but a golf club, no. It is safe to say, though, that if I, or any person a non-golfer, had taken up the game early in life we could become proficient enough to enjoy a round now and again.

Well, that chance exists for local youngsters at King City Golf Course (KCGC), which is the name of the golf course here in King City. (More on this below.)

A few years back, I knew a family of whom three were once golfers but circumstances changed, so after their clubs and bags and balls had sat in storage for years, they asked me to donate them to KCGC as there was a youth program there and the clubs would go to participants, thus saving parents a sizeable hunk of cash. Good deal.

A few days ago, a friend with a set of unused clubs asked if I wanted them (why, I do not know; we have known each other for over five decades and he has never known me to step on a golf course), but it reminded me of the youth program, so I ventured down to KCGC and made inquiries. A very nice young lady assured me I could drop off the clubs when ready as the program was still active; good news indeed as I am a big fan of moving unused stuff on to those who will use it.

Later I re-visited the fairway hoping to find out more about the small program here in South County and found out it ain’t small at all; in fact, quite the contrary. I spoke with General Manager Jeremy who provided me then, and later in an email, with some facts that were, to me, quite staggering.

The goal of KCGC and Pro Youth to provide 200 students with after school, 30-minute golf lessons at Santa Lucia School from November 2022 to December 2023 was washed out by Big Mama Nature’s rain on the land, but this was just a set-back, not an end. The program expanded when First Tee of Monterey took over on Nov. 1, 2022, and since has brought golf introduction to a large porting of South County; and expects to expand even more.

Working with King City Union School District and Pro Youth last March, PE teachers at Chalone Peaks Middle School received Level 1 First Tee training at Twin Peaks Golf Course in Salinas, and in April started PE classes three times a week until by the end of the year First Tee Golf and Life Skills were taught to 836 students.

The numbers are impressive: with Pro Youth here in King City at Del Rey, Santa Lucia and KC Arts Magnate, the Greenfield and KC Rec Departments, San Ardo School, KCFT KC Junior Golf Academy and Fort Hunter Liggett all involved, over 600 students have received golf instruction and life skills, such as STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). This brings the totals to somewhere around 2,000 South County students involved, which is staggering. And with plans to become more active in Soledad and Gonzales, the numbers can only increase and that means brighter futures for many young people. You cannot beat that.

There is much more, and better said, by Jeremy, so if you want a copy of the email he sent me, just get in touch using my email address below or ask him directly at 831-789-7473 or [email protected]. He can fill you in on youth opportunities and tell you how the golf course is coming back to life, but until all nine holes are complete you can golf on a six-hole loop with fees and cart for $23. During my short stay, there were at least 15 or more golfers on that course and all having a fine time. (It is not my habit of including last names in local topics, but the email address above will surely give it away to long-time locals; I personally knew four, the older Joe and Chet and the younger Mike and Craig.)

The experience of those of us raised in Greenfield, if the one may speak for the many, was we learned things about King City gradually. For example, I did not know the airport was not King City Airport until mid-high school when a buddy from San Ardo went there to solo that the name was Mesa Del Rey. To this day, though I know there is an airport district board of directors, as a non-user of the strip I am not sure who owns the land and buildings.

It was the same, until a couple days ago, with the golf course. I have known about it for decades and biked around it now for years but never knew the actual name, or actual owners. And while the name is surely descriptive, it is not overly original or colorful. I could not help but think of names with a bit more flair, so to speak. Neerdafair Golf Course is catchy, don’t you think? Or The Highway Fairway, Lettuce Leaf Links, Slow Creek Greens, Foothill Fairways? OK, maybe we just stick with King City Golf Course.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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