First Tee - Four Corners expanding reach to include Durango

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Luis Camacho, 13, of Kirtland, hits at the first tee, Thursday, June 18, 2015, during first tee golf lessons at Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland.

FARMINGTON — The newly renamed First Tee - Four Corners completed that simple name change for a reason: to expand its presence beyond San Juan County.

Already extending out to places like Cortez, Colorado, the golf organization will now include Durango, Colorado, as part of that broader reach.

“This has been in the works for two years… We knew it was on the table,” First Tee Program Director Tom Yost said. “It’s a win for us, it’s a win for the First Tee, it’s a win for Durango, the Four Corners community as well… We’ve been trying to extend into Durango for 10 years.”

Yost, also Piedra Vista’s boys golf coach, said First Tee “started to max out” what the organization could do with its facility being limited to San Juan County.

Yost also said the expansion will allow First Tee to reach thousands of young golfers in the region, and that new leadership in Durango made the move possible.

In normal times, PV already plays in early-season tournaments up at Durango’s Hillcrest Golf Club. Teams like Durango and Montezuma-Cortez also come down to Farmington for tournaments at Piñon Hills Golf Course, therefore Yost said the expansion made sense.

“Our communities are sort of intertwined already,” Yost said. “Our golf communities are really close… It just makes a lot of sense to get their kids on board. (Durango’s) got a very active junior golf program.”

Yost said First Tee originally planned to complete the expansion in 2020, but had to delay that process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yost also said increasing the number of avid golfers across the Four Corners region can financially help those communities be more solvent.

“It just helps each place get better and stronger in the golf community,” Yost said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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