Craig As another golf season approaches, a new and important member of the golfing community in Craig has made it to town.
The Yampa Valley Golf Course was without a head golf professional after the 2012 season, but it hired David Hardison in February. Last week, Hardison and his wife, Donna, arrived in Craig and got to to work.
Hardison has been a member of PGA America since 1990 and has worked at courses in Hawaii, Wyoming and Idaho. Most recently, he was head golf pro at Targhee Village in Driggs, Idaho, a small town across the border from Jackson Hole.
He brings a wealth of experience and is excited to get going in Craig.
“This job is based on being very consistent and fair to everybody,” Hardison said. “You have to be an expert in the rules, in helping people play the game honorably. The other thing is tournament operations — creating a place that makes people want to play, and competition is very big in doing that.”
Bringing golfers out to the course also is a goal of the Yampa Valley Golf Course board of directors.
“We want to rekindle the fire of having fun out here,” YVGC President Don Smith said.
Hardison arrived in Craig last week and had his first day in the pro shop Monday. Since then, it has been a steady diet of meetings and business for he and Donna as they prepare for the upcoming season. He said Craig has been welcoming.
“What brought me here was a love of outdoors,” he said. “I don’t think you can be a golf pro and not love the outdoors. Being from some kind of similar areas, it’s isolated. On the drive in, you can tell it’s isolated. But the community is very warm and approachable. Everybody, it seems like, has said hello.”
Smith said he was impressed with Hardison when they spoke because of his interest in Craig.
“One of the things that impressed me with them was they knew a lot about the community before getting here,” he said. “David and Donna did their homework and took the time to learn about Craig and about us before coming.”
The Hardisons’ arrival coincided with warmer weather coming to Craig, which could mean an early start to the golf season. He said the course could open as early as April 1.
As head golf pro, Hardison has big plans for his time at YVGC. He is a certified First Tee head coach and plans to start a junior golf program in Craig with that experience.
First Tee is a junior golf organization that teaches the game of golf to youths while also showing them life values through the game. Hardison has created successful junior golf programs at previous courses, and he hopes to do the same here.
“I’m huge on junior golf,” he said. “We will have a great junior golf program, as best as I can make it.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.