UCCS golf students giving free lessons for Waldo Canyon families, first responders

It’s tee time for firefighters, first responders and families affected by the Waldo Canyon fire.

Students in the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs PGA Golf Management program will provide free lessons to firefighters and people affected by the Waldo Canyon fire during Labor Day weekend.

The event is from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 1 at Pine Creek Golf Course, 9850 Divot Trail.

The fire, the families and the first responders were on students’ minds when they returned to classes Aug. 20, said Mollie Sutherland, PGA Golf Management program director.

“Many of our students watched in horror from their televisions in hometowns and internship sites across the country as the fire advanced on our city and destroyed a significant portion of it,” Sutherland said. “They wanted to find some way to help those affected get a break from the stress of rebuilding and repairing their homes.”

Steven Mauser, a senior PGM student from Westminster, came up with the idea and teamed with Jonathan Swonger, a sophomore PGM student from Colorado Springs, to promote this event to the community. Pine Creek Golf Course, the PGM’s home course, agreed to host the event and donate all the practice balls.

“This is the least we can do to show our appreciation to the first responders and fire fighters who put their lives at risk protecting our city,” said Venkat Reddy, dean of the UCCC College of Business

The students will give the lessons and provide the equipment. The PGM program is designed to prepare students for leadership positions within the golf industry, often as course professionals. Teaching others the sport, or offering tips to improve skill levels, is a job requirement.