This month we interview Tanner Kelley, winner of the 2018 PNWPGA Assistant Golf Professional of the Year award! He stepped up during managerial changes at his facility, upgrading the club-fitting program and playing a key role in the development of the club’s new indoor teaching studio. He is also highly involved in the Central Washington Chapter PGA and in junior golf. Read below to learn more about Tanner Kelley and his junior golf program.

Facility: Walla Walla CC

Hometown: Okanogan, WA

PGA Member Since: 2015

Tell us a little bit about your career before this point. Who or what inspired you become part of the PGA?

My grandpa was my main motivation for becoming a PGA member. I would spend my summers with him in Lake Chelan. He would take me to the municipal course where we would either practice or play nearly every single day. The connection I was able to cultivate with him through golf encouraged me to become the golf professional I am today. Even though he passed away, the memories we shared golfing stay with me and that is what I love about golf; the memories and experiences shared with others never fade.

I played four years in high school and then enrolled in the Marketing & PGM program at the University of Idaho. While at the University of Idaho I was required to have three (3) Month Internships ( Bear Mountain Resort GC, Desert Canyon GC, and Walla Walla CC) and one 7 Month Internship (Walla Walla CC). I enjoyed working with the members and my co-workers at Walla Walla CC, and I consider myself fortunate to have gained a permanent position here after my internship.

You excelled in player development at Walla Walla CC in 2018. Can you tell us a little bit about your player development efforts/programs?

This year our Junior Golf Program, which runs for a week in June, was extremely popular with a turnout of 38 kiddos. This week consists of putting challenges, chipping challenges, full swing mechanics, and on course etiquette. Due to the number participants, I discussed with my Head Professional and Course Superintendent about the possibility of setting up special junior tees on the golf course for young golfers, with the idea to get them to come out and play with their parents.

We created a special Junior Scorecard with yardages ranging from 205 yards to 50 yards. Along with this, we set up a designated hour time slot on Sunday afternoons specifically for families. This has been a big hit and the time slot is usually filled with junior golfers with their parents/grandparents. Our effort is to make golf as simple and enjoyable as possible for our junior golfers. I believe with the changes we adopted into our player development this year, we have achieved that.