Coach, employee and long-time player inspires, welcomes young golfers
Jeff Wasinger, better known as “Coach Wass,” is a high school golf coach, instructor and lifelong devotee of the game. He’s also the ultimate ambassador for the sport of golf in general and Indian Tree Golf Club in particular. He has spent an impressive portion of his life at the facility, as a coach, employee and a player from boyhood to today.
Jeff grew up in the neighborhood; he and his brother used to go duck hunting on the grounds of Indian Tree, when it was still owned by the Schneider family. After the course was built in the 1960s, the two boys spent most of their summer there. “A junior pass was $25 and the greens fee was 25 cents. It was a perfect place to spend the day.”
Jeff taught business education and coached multiple sports at Arvada High School for 32 years. He began coaching the AHS golf team at its inception in the early 1990s, and he is now the head coach of the boys’ golf team at Ralston Valley High School.
After he retired from teaching in 2014, he headed straight for a part-time position at Indian Tree. “I took the weekend off – I retired on May 29 and started work at Indian Tree on June 2.”
Jeff works closely with Alan Abrams, Golf Operations Manager, and Rudy Castaneda, Assistant Golf Operations Manager, toward the common goal of a top-notch and welcoming place for area high school golf teams. “The staff is like family. Everyone knows and helps each other, and all the teams are so welcomed and accommodated.” During the busy season, as many as eight teams are practicing at Indian Tree all at once. The staff does a great job of providing a quality experience to all the groups and the golfing public, Jeff says. “They keep track and make everyone feel special.”
Jeff, Rudy and Alan have a successful track record when it comes to young golfers. Whether it’s Rudy working with participants in the junior golf program at Indian Tree or Jeff working with members of the high school teams, the key is to keep youngsters coming back. “Golf is just one of many choices,” Jeff says. Young lives grow ever busier and faster-paced, and golf is somewhat slower paced by comparison. As far as its reputation for being hard to learn and play, Jeff takes a Zen approach. “It’s a fun and easy game when you’re not trying to be good.”
It can also be challenging for team members to hone their tournament skills without making a huge investment of time and money. During the summer, Jeff spends many Tuesdays at Indian Tree, running mini-tournaments in the afternoons to give kids some tournament practice, and informal golf in the evenings for Ralston Valley High School team members, parents and siblings. “That helps build connections for the upcoming season,” Jeff says. The boys’ team season is in the fall, and girls play in the spring. This year, the varsity girls’ squad is looking strong, and hopes are high for an outstanding year.
For more about teams, tournament activity and the golfing community at Indian Tree Golf Club, visit indiantree.apexprd.org