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The City Journals

Glenmoor gets its groove back with PGA Junior League programming

Jul 08, 2019 03:37PM ● By Jennifer J Johnson

“Save Glenmoor!” was a phrase oft-uttered/heard in South Jordan for the years the beloved, historic golf course was doing its tentative victory lap. (Glenmoor Golf Course)

By Jennifer J. Johnson|[email protected]

The words pack an extra punch, when delivered from pint-sized reporter Warren Fisher, proclaiming his YouTube broadcast to be a “world-famous” report.

The “news?” South Jordan’s once-beleaguered Glenmoor Golf Course is alive and well and the secret to its viability?

Think small, now.

The secret to its newfound viability is its junior-league golf program.

“Glenmoor has one of the largest teams in the entire country!” the young Fisher exclaimed with an emphasis on “entire.”

The Glenmoor gameplan

Sponsored by the Utah Golf Association (UGA), young Fisher is spot-on with his analysis. 

According to Executive Director of the Utah Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Devin Dehlin, PGA National is studying Glenmoor’s success with its junior program, looking to learn and then share best practices with golf courses across the country seeking to be more family friendly and more profitable in so doing.

It’s a nice reversal of fortune for the golf course that, in a knee-knocker of a wait-period, seemed destined to result in a yip — a complete loss of the 50-plus year-old course that in the early days was considered a “hidden gem” and is now a South Valley staple.

According to Dehlin, PGA National even sent a camera crew to South Jordan several months ago, but the world-famous Fisher Report has apparently scooped the PGA, as Dehlin reported that the PGA vid is not live yet.

“The National PGA has been very interested in the program Darci (golf pro Darci Olsen) and the people out there have done,” he told the South Jordan Journal.

Thanks to Olsen, Utah’s only female head PGA golf pro in the state, Glenmoor runs three Junior PGA leagues, with more than 150 youth involved.

Golfing alone?

While many individuals prize golf being a sport they can play alone even in a foursome kludged with strangers just to score a tee time, that kind of thinking does not fly well with golf courses needing to be profitable—or at least keep the lights on.

As a result, the PGA has studied the success of Little League Baseball, and realized that, to help make golf as American as apple pie, perhaps borrowing from Little Leagues’ playbook was a good strategy. Hence the birth of the PGA Junior League—a program that SoJo’s Glenmoor jumped on.

“Golf has the old-retired-guy-with-a-lot-of-money persona,” said Glenmoor golf pro Olsen. “All ages, all types, something for everyone and family-friendly” is how she described Glenmoor’s current suite of customers.

The Glenmoor score card 

For those not familiar with the story of Glenmoor, here is the CliffsNotes version of the rise/fall/rise again of the SoJo links site. 

  • 1968 – Course opened half-strength, a nine-hole staple of the Westland Hills Country Club
  • 1970s – Westland changes owners and becomes the Valair Country Club
    1977 – Cecil Bohn assumes principal ownership, after Grant Affleck lost the course 
  • 2015 – Bohn passes away; remaining owners’ irreconcilable differences lead to court dissolution of the property, to be sold to highest bidder
    2015 – The golf course property was zoned A-1, entitling subdivisions of one-acre, single-family lots
  • 2017 - SoJo golf patriots lobby for an alternative solution
  • 2017 – Upon learning of the owner’s intention to develop the land, the South Jordan City Council, in a 4-1 vote, votes to delay a building permit or a change in zoning thwarting the developer’s stated intention
  • A private buyer sticks the landing and purchases Glenmoor (the audience in SoJo City Council Chambers cheered, upon hearing the news)

PGA Junior Golf fits Glenmoor to a tee

And that takes us to right now — high golf season, a late-starting, green-grass summer, on the heels of the wettest spring on record.

And just as spring signals rebirth and summer joy, Glenmoor is in its newfound salad days, with its junior golf program to thank.

Taking a page from Bubba Watson’s 2012 Masters’ clinch, Olsen tears up, telling the South Jordan Journal just how “awesome” the kids in her program are and how things at Glenmoor have “turned out better than I could have hoped.”

This is a woman who loves — no lives — golf, and apparently, has a community behind her that feels the same way.

As part of the Warren Report YouTube video, SoJo City Councilman Don Shelton recounts that his inviting SoJo Mayor Dawn Ramsey and his other colleagues to watch one of the junior league tournaments at Glenmoor influenced the Council’s decision to ultimately rezone the land to keep it from being developable.

“It was very impressive to them, to see all of the young people that were out on the golf course, hitting golf balls and recreating in the outdoors, instead of being inside, playing video games,” Shelton asserted on-air.

“Mayor Ramsey, thank you for saving our golf course,” young Warren tells Mayor Dawn Ramsey, who also appears in the video.

Catch the full Glenmoor Golf Course glory on UGA’s Warren Report

This link takes you right to Warren Fisher’s segment on Glenmoor:

Otherwise? Look for “Utah Golf Reround 2019 S5 E1” on YouTube and either watch the whole show, or fast-forward to 8:40.

(Editor’s Note: South Jordan Journal ran a piece on Glenmoor in December 2017, with some factual mistakes. This article has attempted to remedy those, but admittedly, this is a complex issue to study, when all should be out on the links.)