Chase Gardner's GRGF Story: "Its all about opportunity."
When you are part of running or supporting a junior golf charity ………., the "best gift" is knowing you helped to make a meaningful difference in a young player's life.
We recently got this text from a GRGF student.
"Coach Jeff, Today I verbally committed to Oklahoma Christian University to play golf for them next year!!
Thank you so much for everything you have done for me and thank you for sitting at that table back when I was in 8th grade!! (GRGF booth at a local school).
Who would have known that this is how far I would have came!!.
It's crazy to think I went from not being able to hit a 7 iron in the air ….. to 4 years later signing with a Top 10 Division II school."
We met Chase Gardner in 2014, when he was in the 8th grade. He was considering going away from baseball ……. and wanted to try golf.
He and I began with the GRGF EXPLORE program. As Chase describes above, the first few lessons he was not able to get a ball airborne. Over the years, we've worked with 4,500 youth and many stop trying to get better at golf at this point. Through his own desire and persistence, with encouragement from us and keeping it simple and fun, he continued to work at it.
After about a month later, he told us he was sure he wanted to stay with golf, so we moved into our GRGF LEARN program and began to set goals.
Within a year, Chase was a consistent participant in our PLAY program and COMPETE program. He made his high school golf team as a freshman, and played during the summers in WJGA events and GRGF Junior Tour events. Keeping score while playing stroke play with other youth really advanced his skills and fueled his desire to continue to practice to get better. We reset even higher goals together, to make his varsity squad, and go to the state tournament.
In the past 15 years of GRGF, Chase has been one the most diligent developing players we've seen. Last year he played at state and we reset his goals to play in college. GRGF is not "in the business" of building college level players, but that can certainly happen within the students we have the privilege of working with.
Chase (PING hat) starting to play in GRGF Junior Tour events; with Coach Tom.
Chase volunteering to help at a GRGF funding event; learning to give back.
Chase in white shorts with fellow GRGF player Tyler Spalti, Coach Mike and Jeff.
Learning to complete and win in a scramble team format.
Chase (right) wins his age group at the GRGF Junior Tour series (2016)
Learning to compete and win as an independent stroke format players.
Through the help of donors support, GRGF did "get Chase started in golf, and guided him along his journey". But, he put in the effort, he took ahold of the many opportunities that GRGF provided, and we at GRGF are very proud of him and all out other students that seek to develop themselves within the context of golf through your support.
On behalf of the GRGF Board, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!