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Foundation for Community – Crane Creek Country Club has created a culture of fun and achievement for junior golfers

Luke Sestero takes heart in the sight of families sharpening their skills together at the driving range at Crane Creek Country Club in Boise, where he has been a PGA professional for nearly a decade. If it’s not the range, it’s kids hitting balls before heading off to the pool.

“There is always a lot of action here,” Sestero says, before praising the membership for being so supportive of junior golf.

The abundance of kids on the course at Crane Creek is no accident. The country club’s membership is composed of many families, many of which live nearby the recently renovated Crane Creek.

More than that, though, Sestero, third-year assistant PGA Professional Aaron Koerner, and head PGA Professional Ron Rawls, have created one of the most productive junior golf programs in the Pacific Northwest.

The program is based on a simple concept: introduce kids to golf and keep them active in the game. But Sestero, the 2018 and 2020 Rocky Mountain Section PGA Assistant Professional of the Year and winner of the 2019 Rocky Mountain Section Youth Player Development Award, and Koerner, recently named a U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Coach, take a truly holistic approach to that concept.

Open to members of Crane Creek, the junior journey begins with a summer program for beginners as young as five. Players graduate to play the PGA Jr. League – Crane Creek fields a full roster of four teams. The most motivated players work up to the Young Guns Program, a comprehensive three-level program in which the top level hone their skills for competition at an elite level.

“The variety and the structure has been a success,” Sestero says. “The program has gotten bigger and better over the years and we’ve got it down to where we have a place for all ages and abilities.”

The program isn’t just long days beating balls at the range. Sestero and Koerner engage kids on their level by hosting fun events, whether that be an off-season tournament on a golf simulator or the season-ending drive, chip, and putt championship.

“Having friends who play is always a driving influence in kids playing longer,” Sestero said. “Getting them active on the course and creating unique opportunities to compete is a huge component in retaining golfers.”

The junior program grew last season to more than 120 participants. The second level of its Young Guns Program doubled in participation from 2020 to 2021. And Crane Creek’s PGA Jr. League all-star team won the section championship two years ago.

The program continues to expand, too, including an eight-week U.S. Kids Pathway to Progress program in the fall, extending the golf season at a time when many junior golfers in the Northwest put away their clubs.

“It’s unique that we are able to accommodate a player from the first time they touch a club to someone who is working toward making the high school varsity team or work their way toward a (golf) scholarship,” Koerner says. “We have the tools in place to get the most out of every golfer.

“It’s been really cool, what we’ve built.”

Crane Creek Country Club is a private, neighborhood club nestled in the foothills just minutes from downtown Boise. Crane Creek is where lifelong friendships, sporting passions and memories are built.

Crane Creek Country Club
500 W Curling Drive
Boise, ID 83702

Take an aerial tour of Crane Creek Country Club