DENVER – Golf is hard.

Even getting into golf is a tough task but it has nothing to do with the ability to shape a shot on the course. Getting into golf is a task that is often limited by funds (or more appropriately, a lack thereof) and equipment.

For the last decade, the golf culture at Denver West has been non-existent. Up until this year, the only team the Cowboys have fielded was a girls team about seven or eight years ago (to the best of coach Daniel Walter’s memory), but it was a one-off season.

This year, the Cowboys fielded a full boys team in the fall and have followed it up with a girls team this spring. The program also got a major boost from the Drive Fore the Future Foundation and GOLFTEC.

Those organizations are partnering to give back to the game by outfitting teams in need with equipment and resources to develop growth in the program.

“As people know, economics and golf don’t really go together,” Drive Fore the Future’s Ryan French said. “It prevents a lot of kids from playing so we’re trying to eliminate that from that part of the game.”

(Dan Mohrmann/

Stacked against the back wall of what is turning into West’s indoor practice area was bags on bags of old, outdated clubs. Those clubs are no longer needed. GOLFTEC and Drive Fore the Future outfitted both the girls and boys teams with new sets of clubs, donated a simulator that will certainly come in handy on days with poor weather and they even offered up clothing and even lessons.

These are all gifts that will help the Cowboys improve as a program not just for this year, but for several years down the line.

“We had the team in here all winter hitting (foam) balls against the wall,” Walter said. “That’s only fun for so long. Having the launch monitor is going to be great for keeping things interesting and exciting. And more importantly, understanding ball flight mechanics. When you’re hitting against a wall, all you see is contact. But if we can get them to understand ball flight mechanics, they can diagnose their own swing forever. And that’s where we want to go. To teach it.”

Almost immediately after the donations were made, the players lined up to hit shots into the simulator. The Cowboys served up pizzas to both the girls and boys teams as they treated golf a bit like a video game, something that Walter noted can be a big advantage to kids these days.

For the girls team, it’s an added bonus considering how temperamental the weather can be early in the spring season. West has competed in just one tournament so far this year and their days outside have been limited.

“It’s a good chance to have the ability to practice inside instead of just hitting balls down the hallway of the school,” West freshman Melissa Jaramillo said. “It’s better to have something there that we can use when it’s cold outside. This is a big opportunity for our school.”

The theme from Walter and both Drive Fore the Future and GOLFTEC was consistent throughout the donation: Golf is more than a game. It teaches everyone so much about handling tough situations in life. Someone like French who has benefitted from his longtime involvement in the sport was thrilled to have an opportunity to give back and give others a chance to see those same benefits.

“I love the game,” French said. “It’s a great way to meet people who hire people and shake hands. It teaches honesty, integrity and so much more. We want to teach them to get those skills and get a job that they plays this game for the rest of their lives. It’s a lifetime game.”