19th Hole

Kate Sheppard
Senior Marketing Manager
BlueStar Resort & Golf
Scottsdale, AZ

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For The Love of The Game 

The truth is there’s no better time to introduce juniors to golf, and as patrons of the game it’s a drive we should all get behind.

 Scotland to Scottsdale, that’s my journey – quite different when it comes to weather and landscape, but similar philosophies in support of junior golf.  While in Scotland, I had the pleasure of working alongside Ryder Cup Europe in the build up to the 2014 Ryder Cup, hosted at the iconic Gleneagles – a bucket-list golf course if opportunity permits. During this period, the focus for Scottish Golf was simple. Make golf accessible to all. That began with free golf classes in elementary school, and translated back to public and private golf courses. As the groundswell of support continued, golf members across the country raised their hands to volunteer continuing the program at their club and introducing small groups of kids to the fundamentals of the game.

 Sure, there was some opposition to overcome in the early years, but as more juniors flooded to clubs so too did their parents. And, with that, a renaissance for Scotland’s long loved pastime. 

 Golf course operators saw opportunity to turn around falling membership numbers and fill open tee times, while families simply enjoyed the chance to learn a new skill and spend quality time together. For the love of the game, a new generation of players was initiated, helping to continue age old traditions and build new rituals for the future.

 Here in the Valley, we are fortunate to have a variety of junior golf programs, including the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and Girls Golf of Phoenix; kid-friendly events like the Bank of Hope LPGA Founders Cup and an abundance of golf clubs that see opportunity to grow the game with those new to the sport.  

 Over at Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, Club General Manager, Scott Mattiello is committed to making teaching and practice facilities available to all. Vistancia’s Guys and Gals program has introduced over 200 new adult golfers to the game. Mattiello is also one of many operators who has teamed up with Arizona Junior Golf, joining the likes of Westin Kierland in North Scottsdale and Gainey Ranch Golf Club to run after school golf programs for kids, aged between 6-14 years. A game-based curriculum using principles from US Kids Golf ensures that budding young golfers are challenged in a fun, friendly environment.


 As more and more millennials take to the course, I’m thankful that the game I love is in good hands. I’m sure there’ll even be a selfie to prove it!

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Kate Sheppard is the Senior Marketing Manager with Scottsdale-based BlueStar Resort & Golf, a management group with courses in the state and throughout the country. To sign up for Arizona Junior Golf classes at Vistancia, visit trilogygolfclub.com.