UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - As we celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Q13 News is highlighting a local award-winning golf pro and instructor who is helping grow the game by teaching community members lessons they can use on - and off - the course.
Something special happens at Chambers Bay in Pierce County, and it goes way beyond the game of golf.
Ryan Young is the director of instruction at the home of the 2015 U.S. Open.
"He’s just always inspired me to try my hardest and he’s talked me out of quitting so many times, just when things get hard," student Charlene Kim-Aun says.
Young runs more than two dozen programs, overseeing and organizing them, as well as teaching, of course, starting with the junior academy.
"We take anybody, any level of golfer, where they are now to where they want to go," said Young.
"If you’re having a tough time, he helps you understand why," said student Zavier Feasey-Allen.
PGA’s Pacific Northwest Section has honored Young multiple times with their player development award, including last year.
Just four years after Young founded the Chambers Academy, close to 2,000 golfers took part in programs last year, about 10% more than in 2019, despite the three-month stay-at-home order due to COVID-19.
"He puts everything into it," Academy Instructor Matt Montecucco said. "Every student, he’s all involved…he puts that extra hands-on, that, ‘Hey, I’m not just a guy that you’re going to see to get your one fix. We’re going to grow together. I’m going to get you there, but it’s more we’re going to get you there.’"
He’s also helping others – recently playing 100 holes to benefit Treehouse, which supports kids in foster care.
Young’s also made an impact instructing local veterans as part of a free program for those who’ve served.
"I want to help do a little tiny, small part to hopefully getting everybody included in this game. Inclusion, diversity, trying to get this game a little more diverse," Young says. "Just provide that opportunity for everybody, because the game of golf needs to go there and it is going there. It’s becoming more inclusive."
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