Jalyn Robinson, 17, loves her golf.
The Will C. Wood High School junior in Fairfield, California, has had the chance to spend a lot of time at the golf course both as a player and a caddie.
Robinson said she began playing golf in middle school, starting out in Girls Golf and eventually the First Tee of Tri-Valley.
“Through these programs, as well as my middle school team,” Robinson told The Caddie Network, “I was introduced to Youth on Course. Youth on Course was brought up to me as another way to expand my golf knowledge, improve my skills but to also get more involved in the golf industry as a whole.”
The Northern California Golf Association started “Youth on Course” in 2006 (formerly known as the NCGA Foundation). The purpose was to increase the accessibility and affordability of golf for Northern California youth. Within five years, the program was thriving and expanded opportunities for its members to include a caddie program, paid high school internships and college scholarships.
A resounding success, the program expanded nationwide. Youth on Course operates as a separate 501(c)3 that partners with state and regional golf associations across the country.
To date, Youth on Course has expanded to 31 regions, subsidized more than 750,000 rounds of golf, hired more than 115 interns and 362 caddies, and awards $250,000+ in scholarships annually.
Members of Youth on Course have access to 1,100 participating courses that they can play for just $5.
This is how Youth on Course’s caddie program – of which Robinson is a member – works, according to the organization’s website:
The Youth on Course Caddie program is a fun and exciting way for teens to join the workforce and make a minimum of $50 per round!
Youth ages 14-18 can apply for our caddie program. We will show you everything you need to know about being a caddie at a group orientation. We provide uniforms for a small fee ($10).
You will earn $50 a loop, but one of the best parts of caddying is that if you do a good job you can make great tips as well. Caddies to College (based on financial need) will earn an additional $50 into a college scholarship fund after every loop.
“What I enjoy most about Youth on Course is that it teaches you more than how to swing a club or how to manage the course for a tournament,” Robinson said. “Youth on Course opened up my eyes to a side of golf, beyond the course, that I didn’t even know existed. It is because of this that I’ve been blessed with many opportunities and made connections with individuals that other kids my age, in general, would dream to have connections with.”
Some of those connections are with members of, or close associates to, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
As a Youth on Course member, Robinson has met and, in some cases, caddied for the likes of Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Dell Curry and PGA Tour winner Cameron Champ, among others.
“My favorite aspect of caddying is the people I get to meet and talk to,” Robinson said. “Yes, the caddies are there to carry your clubs and help you through each shot, but, in my opinion, Youth on Course Caddies do so much more than that. My ultimate goal when I’m caddying is to make sure my player is having an amazing round of golf, despite whatever his/her score may be.”
Robinson said that her participation in the caddie program has opened many doors, too.
“Through Youth on Course I was able to attend summer camps (ie. Jim McLean Summer Camp), caddie for the Warriors multiple times and get a summer internship at Contra Costa Country Club,” she said. “Now I know this may all seem very minuscule, but every single loop I had was another connection made, every camp I was able to attend was more improvement to my game and the internship just tops it all. The Youth on Course Summer Internship Program is the absolute best I’ve come across. During this internship I’m doing more than just sitting behind a counter. I am out meeting members and working multiple departments to see each and every aspect of more than just the country club, but the golf industry as a whole.”
Along with caddying, Robinson has the opportunity to play a lot of golf, too. She said she practices 3-5 times per week and spends weekends playing in tournaments.
“There are many reasons why I love golf,” she said. “For one, golf is almost impossible to master, so it keeps me coming back. Golf is not a competition against others; it’s a competition against yourself. It’s so easy to blame others for my mistakes but golf keeps me honest. Golf draws many parallels to life. The contrast between beauty and struggle are vividly apparent in each. When I hit a bad shot in golf, I look up and see the beautiful landscape that surrounds me. Similarly, when I mess up in life, I can step back and realize that I am blessed with many other things. Golf teaches me to not stress the little things. It is the culmination of shots that make up a good round. In life it is the combination of your actions that make up who you are.”
Some incredible perspective – that we should all apply – from a teenager immersed in golf.