Golf shootout 'for the kids'

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Nine years ago, Bill Nickey saw the need for a junior tournament at the Steamboat Golf Club.

Every summer since then, the men's program gives up one day and a little bit of its time to make sure that need is filled.

The ninth annual Steamboat Junior Cowboy Shootout, which is sponsored by the men's program, is scheduled to take place Wednesday at the nine-hole course west of town.

"I started it nine years ago, and it's just a great little golf tournament," Nickey said. "It's so much fun to get out there with the kids and watch them enjoy the game."

The event is open to golfers 18 and younger and is the biggest junior event of the summer at the Steamboat Golf Club.

Junior golfers who want to participate need to show up at the club's pro shop before Monday to fill out the registration form and pay the $25 entry fee. Only golfers from Routt County will be allowed to compete in the tournament.

"That's always been a rule," Nickey said. "We started this tournament for the kids of Routt County and we don't want some kid visiting from Denver to take the trophy home."

Players will be divided into five age groups: 9 and younger, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, and 16-18.

Golfers age 9 and younger will play five holes, golfers ages 10 to 13 will play nine holes and golfers ages 14 to 18 will complete 18 holes (twice around the course).

While the event is focused on junior golf, Nickey said adults get involved in a different way.

An adult, usually a member of the club's men's program, accompanies each foursome. Nickey said the adult's job is not to coach, but just to make sure that all the players follow the etiquette of the game.

"We want the adults to encourage the kids ... and make sure that the kids learn the etiquette, which is the most important part of golf," Nickey said.

Scott Matthews, the golf club's manager, said the tournament is important to the members and the future of the course.

"This is a great opportunity for the kids to get out there and have some fun," Matthews said. "Bill has been involved with this tournament since it started, and he does a really great job with the kids."

Anyone interested in playing can call the Steamboat Golf Club at 879-4295. However, parents or golfers must show up in person at the pro shop to fill out the registration form and pay the entry fee. No phone entries will be accepted.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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