Joe Padon, 24, is starting off the year as the new Moffat County High School junior varsity golf coach. Padon, in his third year as a work studies teacher at the high school, is preparing his team for its next match, scheduled for Monday in Glenwood Springs.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Joe Padon, 24, is starting off the year as the new Moffat County High School junior varsity golf coach. Padon, in his third year as a work studies teacher at the high school, is preparing his team for its next match, scheduled for Monday in Glenwood Springs.

Teacher takes on role as JV golf coach

MCHS boys junior varsity golf schedule

Host, Date, Time, Place

Glenwood Springs High School, Monday, 9 a.m., away

Moffat County High School, Sept. 10, 9 a.m., home

Rangley High School, Sept. 16, 10 a.m., away

For Joe Padon, helping youths has become something of a pastime.

Padon, 24, a Moffat County High School teacher, already volunteers his winters helping the high school boys basketball program, and starting this year, the junior varsity golf team.

A 2007 graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., Padon originally majored in finance.

"I did a lot of volunteer work in college," he said. "I realized I liked volunteering and helping out kids more than I liked finance."

Now in his third year as a work studies teacher at the high school, Padon said he likes the balance the job brings.

"I took this job because I can incorporate consumer math, saving and investing," he said.

Joining longtime golf coach Ken Harjes made sense for Padon, an avid golfer.

"I really enjoy golf, and I like coaching - it's one of my passions," he said. "I like sports, I like being around the kids, and it's fun."

Golf runs in Padon's family.

His older brother, Richard, 27, along with Nick Bomba, Justin Gallegos and Brett Etzler recently won the McGladrey qualifying event in Brighton.

From Oct. 26 to 28, the team will travel to Pinehurst, N.C., for the McGladrey Championship.

Although Joe hasn't been in golf as long as his brother, he still can hold his own on the course.

"I golf a lot," he said. "I work out at the (Yampa Valley) Golf Course in the summer so I can get free golf."

Padon said he picked up golf later than his brother.

"I just didn't golf a lot until recently," he said. "I started going more and started getting better and better."

But he said he still has some time before he can challenge his brother.

"My brother has always been good, since he was young," Padon said. "He's golfed a lot more than me, so a lot of it is just time."

The two golf a lot, Padon said, and in time he will be on the same par as his brother.

"I'm not there yet - once I get better and once that handicap starts to go down, we'll definitely have some battles," he said. "It's not quite as fair right now."

When it comes to his young MCHS golfers, Padon said he hopes to teach some important lessons.

"Mainly, their mindset," he said. "I want them to learn not get too frustrated with themselves, because this is a frustrating sport."

To help ease the frustration, Padon doesn't want his golfers to take shots that lead to big misses.

"We will be focused on course management - when to chip for the fairway and when to go for the green," he said. "Also, at new courses you don't have to pull out a driver every time. Sometimes, you just aim for the 150 marker, get some punch on, get a par and get out of there."

Padon usually is a calm customer on the links.

"I usually don't take it very seriously," he said. "Unless I'm in a tournament. Then I take it very seriously.

"I just try to stay positive and have fun. A bad shot isn't the end of the world."

Padon said his golfers would stay with the sport so long as he stays positive in teaching them.

"If I can show it's a fun sport, I think they will stay with it," he said. "I won't make it like a job with a lot of pressure, because then they'll hate it."

As the improving Padon can admit, more course time leads to lower scores.

"I try to tell them everything will come through, so long as they put work in, and keep practicing," he said.

Padon hopes a positive coaching approach produces some positive player results on the course by the end of the year.

"I would like to see consistent scores in the low 90s at every course," he said. "Or, getting into the 80s, feeling the grove of smart shots and smarter play."

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