The fair way:

Golf Pro swings into summer, follows father's example with community vision

Chuck Cobb probably wouldn't know how to properly celebrate the Fourth of July if given the chance.

The golf professional at the Yampa Valley Golf Course for the last 32 years has never had that holiday off, or Memorial Day or Labor Day for that matter.

In fact, as a golf pro, Cobb doesn't even get to play the game as often he'd like.

Despite the envious looks Cobb gets for being employed to "work" where many come to "play," the job is often less glamorous than it seems at first glance, he said.

"If you want to golf all the time, don't become a golf professional," Cobb advised recently while rigging the golf course locker room to accommodate golf-bag stands.

"If you're passionate about golf, become a professional golfer. I look at myself as a professional of all aspects of golf, including the facility and the business."

On any given day, Cobb can be found behind a computer, giving a golf lesson, keeping up the grounds or fixing up the golf shop. Or, he may be working on the shop's plumbing, organizing a tournament or running a lawn mower.

"It's a great thing that I get to wear so many hats," he said. "It is a schedule that has flexibility."

One of the best parts about being a golf pro is witnessing the sport's wide range of talent, he said.

At his job, Cobb can interact with people as young as 6 and as old as 90.

"It's a game for a lifetime," he said. "It's one of the few sports you can play at any age. It can never really be mastered."

Cobb said he is fortunate to have worked with his family at the golf course at some point in his career.

His wife, Sari, and now-grown children -- daughter Morgan and son Tony -- also learned the ropes of the business.

And now they realize that the business means little time off for the summer.

"My wife hates it and loves it," Cobb said. "She's always very supportive, but she knows the hours are going to be long in the summertime."

Though the summer holidays are a lost cause, the winter provides more free time for the couple to travel.

"The good thing is I've never missed Christmas," he said.

Even the winter brings golf-related work, though the grounds may be frozen with snow and ice, Cobb said.

"It becomes a frustrating question when people ask you what you do in the winter," he said. "There's no doubt about it, that it's year-round work. There's always paperwork, billing and schedules. There are so many things going on."

Cobb's years with the golf course extends farther than his career, dating back to its groundbreaking in the mid-1960s.

Chuck Cobb's father, Jim Cobb, was one of the roughly three dozen community members who possessed a deep interest in creating a golf course for Craig.

The vision of a local golf course was viewed as a recreational and economic investment for the area, according to community leaders of the time, Chuck Cobb said.

Jim Cobb would recruit his family to help clear the fields of brush and weeds alongside other local families. With the manual labor and $38,000 in community donations, a local golf course was born. Watching an idea hatch into a reality with local support made an impact on Chuck as a young boy.

"That was good for a lot of people," Chuck Cobb said. "It was the same concept as a community barn-raising. It's these sorts of things I hope we can get back to doing."

Though hesitant at first, Chuck Cobb was recently lured into chairing the fund-raising campaign for Craig's new Boys and Girls Club.

After serving nearly a decade as a school board member for the Moffat County School District and being involved in other local activities for the last 20 years, Cobb said he was "looking for a break."

"When Pres (Askew) asked if I wanted to be involved, I told him that I just needed some time," Cobb said. Askew is spearheading the effort to establish the club.

But like his father envisioning a golf course, Chuck Cobb realized a Boys and Girls Club has the potential for long-term positive impact on the community. That prospect made it impossible for him to pass up the opportunity to get involved.

"People before us made the time to volunteer, to write a check," Cobb said, reflecting back on golf course's history. "From that kind of philosophy, maybe we need to step up and do something for the Boys and Girls Club. That's what this needs to be. Not just a mom-and-pop effort, but involvement from the whole family and everybody."

Walking around the golf course grounds, Cobb recognizes and is greeted by almost everyone he sees.

"This town's been good to me, and it's been good to a lot of people," he said.

"I guess I don't look at it as a right to live here," Cobb added. "I look at it like a privilege. I don't owe Craig anything, but it's hard to complain if you're not helping out."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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