By Bruce Meadows
Schmuhl’s goal: Revitalizing youth golf
Windsor pro Jason Schmuhl, himself an outstanding performer on the golf course for Analy High, thinks high school and junior golf has fallen off recently.
With that in mind, he is hoping to revive something similar to the GEL (Golf at the Elementary Level) made popular and nationally recognized by former Piner-Olivet Elementary School teacher Paul Nikol.
Nikol started a program that enlisted the help of local pros in an effort to bring golf to a lot of youngsters who might otherwise never get the chance to play the game. He and volunteer area pros provided instruction and equipment. Some of those kids continued to play and are still playing today.
Schmuhl is interested in starting a program for local kids, including elementary as well as high school students.
“The tough part for the younger kids is that you teach them the game and give them clubs but a lot of them have a tough time finding a way to get to the golf course,” said the 42-year-old Schmuhl. “We’d like to provide golf for the younger kids but would also like to see a class for high school students, too.”
He still has people to talk to, such as Windsor High administrators, but thinks the program, which could be an after-school program with class credit, might catch on at other high schools as well.
He hasn’t talked about it much with fellow pros but if they respond as they did to Nikol’s request, the program could become a reality.
Schmuhl knows kids are the future of golf, “but I haven’t seen junior golf growing and some high school teams have trouble fielding teams,” adding that a number of youngsters who might like to play come from families where parents do not play or sometimes resources for things like golf are not available.
Schmuhl, who played at Santa Rosa JC then USF before graduating from Sonoma State and is a regular at NorCal PGA events, said there are NCGA programs for kids as well as First Tee, but costs can be prohibitive.
“I need to talk to the right people to see if we can make this happen,” said Schmuhl, who wants to get things going this coming spring or next fall at the latest. “I’m pretty sure local pros would help as they did before.”
If you have some ideas or questions for Jason, call him at Windsor GC, 838-7888.
‘Where are they now?’ list starts to grow . . .
Last week we mentioned that a lot of good young golfers from this area go on to play in college, some making it all the way to the pro ranks. We want to acknowledge them and list them on ysn365.com for you to see.
We heard from a number of readers and were able to add a few names to our small but growing list. That would include Brett Walker and Dominic Brutacao from Ukiah High, and Patrick Steiner from Windsor.
Walker, son of Robert and Betty Walker, is a senior playing at New Mexico State. He was a four-year letter winner at Ukiah, a first-team all-league selection in 2008-2009-2010 and All-Empire in 2010.
The 6-2 Walker was North Bay League MVP in 2010 with a scoring average of 75.92. He also earned four letters playing baskeballt, scoring over 1,000 points (14.2 points per game) and averaging 8.7 rebounds
He has been a standout at New Mexico, averaging 73.56 his junior year with 17 rounds under par and made the All-Western Athletic Conference second team. Walker, working towards becoming a pro, is playing well as a senior and was recently co-medalist with 7-under-par 206 in the Wimberley Tournament.
Brutacao. Ukiah’s MVP in 2011, took over the school’s boys’ team when Chris Philbrick, who still coaches the girls, stepped down in 2013. Dominic was Ukiah’s MVP in 2011.
Steiner, who played at Santa Rosa JC and then Cal State Monterey Bay, is an assistant pro at Windsor working towards getting his PGA Class A credential. The 22-year-old, plans to go back to school at Sonoma State to get his degree in communications and pursue his pro golfing dream.
Lost ball hardly a lost cause . . .
Adobe Creek was closed for a year and, somewhat surprisingly, some golfers still don’t realize the Petaluma course is open for business.
To help create interest, Adobe has come up with a “lost ball promotion,” which started last week. While losing your golf ball is never a good thing, it can pay dividends for the golfer who happens to find it.
Adobe is in the process of handing out special balls , which could end up anywhere, not just Sonoma County seeing how golfers like to pack their clubs when they go on vacation in far-off places. The special balls will say “Good for 1 free round of golf at Adobe Creek Golf Course.”
Balls are being handed out to “regular players, staff members, friends and family” according to spokesman Matt Byrne.
So anyone finding one of the balls — locally or anyplace in the world — can redeem the ball for a free 18-hole round of golf. The 18-hole East Petaluma layout has undergone a lot of work since new operators — the same people who run Windsor and nearby Rooster Run — took over and are anxious to have you check it out.
So if you find one of the special balls, call 765-3000 and say you want to book a tee time with the “lost ball” promotion. There are no restrictions on when you can play although you have to bring the ball with you and turn it into the pro shop — the “lost ball” will be replaced with a new one for you — and free rounds must be played before Dec. 15, 2015.
When it comes to Adobe Creek, some other golfer’s loss could be your gain.
Date change at Vintner’s GC
The last event of the year at Vintner’s GC in Yountville was switched from Saturday, Dec. 13, to Sunday, Dec. 21, because of wet conditions. It is scheduled as an 8 a.m. shotgun event.
Golfers can play a make-up from Dec. 13 to Dec. 20 if the Dec. 21 date doesn’t work for you. Call 944-1992 to sign up.
It’s good to hear from you
Since we started GOLF 707 a few weeks ago, we have had a slow but steady response from readers. The success of GOLF 707 will depend on contributions from local pro and amateur golfers, golf courses and golf-related businesses, and hopefully some support from sponsors/advertisers.
So if you have an item to share with golfers, send it to me and we will go from there. We are interested in just about anything golf-related, including information on tournaments, clinics, lessons, special offers, and don’t forget those little personal stories that made my old column so popular.
Email me at [email protected] or [email protected]