Chas Holmes - Yakima Country Club
The Yakima Country Club is located 3 miles east of downtown Yakima in Terrace Heights. The 117 acre property overlooks the beautiful Yakima Valley. The club offers astounding views from the clubhouse and several luxurious amenities including championship golf, two golf practice facilities, state of the art tennis, pool/snack bar and first class dining. Play on the finest playing surfaces, experience incredible guest service, and enjoy exquisite dining.
Established in 1916 the Yakima Country Club is a private member owned Club located in Yakima, Washington. The Par 72 Championship 18- hole golf course is 6,500 yards in length from the back tees. Boasting several amazing characteristics it is indeed one of central Washington’s finest courses. This private course offers a great experience and challenge to members and guests of all abilities. Four sets of tees provide a challenge for any golf enthusiast: from the adamant expert to the casual weekend golfer. You can enjoy your game amidst the wonderful surroundings of the Yakima Valley.
Second to none in quality, the Yakima Country Club showcases stunning landscapes featuring exceptional rolling greens ranging in size from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet along with beautiful vista views. Our beautiful fairways are surrounded by apple orchards, ponds and century old trees. Our 18-hole championship Men’s and Women’s Golf Course, especially designed for the astute golfer, contains all the essentials required for a private golf course. The Yakima Country Club delivers a rewarding test of golfing ability that any keen player will enjoy. The neatly groomed course challenges every aspect of your game with a formidable combination of layouts.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I started golfing at a par 3 course in Federal Way Washington called Belmore Park. It was a mobile home park that my grandparents lived in. I made my first par at the age of 4 on a 90 yard hole with driver, 3 iron, putter.
My best friend in high school became a golf professional out of college and eventually convinced me to do the same. I loved playing golf competitively and enjoyed the business aspect as well so I thought I’d give it a try. 8.5 years later, I have no regrets and am grateful my good friend convinced me to consider golf as a profession.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
There are many different philosophies about teaching golf and the mechanics of the golf swing. Every person has different athletic abilities and movement constraints. I choose to work on an individual basis and teach around the movement of the big muscles in body. This has led to more consistency and repeatability in my students’ mechanics. I focus my time on research and readings that involve this same philosophy.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
The trending of creating more teeing areas including more forward tee options is exciting to me. I grew up playing junior golf and have built large junior programs in my time as a golf professional. It is nice to have forward tees to give juniors the opportunity to play the big course from a yardage that is reasonable for their talents. The right programming can be used to graduate them through the ranks and continue to move back tee boxes as their games progress. The same goes for players with lower swing speeds. Forward tees make golf more enjoyable as these players can often hit irons into greens in regulation instead of fairway metal or hybrids.
I also enjoy the trend of more families getting out and playing a few holes in the rare spare time they have together especially with small children. Some courses have developed 5 hole loops that can be played in 1 hour. Traditionally golf has taken 4-6 hours which deters many young families and young professionals with busy schedules. having a faster option is a great trend and one that I think will certainly help grow our game.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I choose not to specialize in order to be available to teach all players of any skill or age. Most players that contact me for lessons want to work on full swing shots. I always encourage at least 2-3 short game lessons in order to improve scoring and shot making ability around the greens.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I feel I am unique in my effort and enjoyment in serving others before myself. I was a born and raised a servant leader and have continued that outlook on life through my schooling years and into my career as a golf professional. I am involved in many community efforts and projects including Rotary, First Tee, golf in schools, mentoring programs, and continuing education programs. I am committed to serving our association through our chapter and section level board of directors. I have a passion for continued education and have enjoyed going through the certified and specialization programs through the PGA of America. I plan to continue my education efforts through the Master Professional Program as soon as I am eligible.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Professionally – I have recently had the opportunity to hire a third assistant golf professional and I look forward to mentoring all three of our assistant professionals through the PGA PGM program and helping them grow in their careers. I raised $5,000 this year to begin a golf in schools program in my area and I look forward to stating that up next spring. I am the Vice President of our chapter and have a passion for governance. I am excited for the opportunities I have in store for our chapter professionals next year.
Personally – I have a 27 month old son and a 10 month old daughter. I can’t wait to spend more time with them during the off season and watch them grow and develop in their childhood!
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
The golf swing is a very difficult move to make. It involves many moving parts and is executed in a posture that we do not encounter on a daily basis. Getting students to focus on the mechanics and the moves we are trying to make rather than the results of the shot is the most difficult part about teaching golf. The best way to handle this is by letting the student know before beginning lessons that things may get worse before getting better and that they should focus on the moves and not results. Making sure to give them practice drills that they can do at home on their own time is helpful. I encourage my students to practice everyday even if for only 5 minutes. This is much better than having a 3 hour practice session once per week.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I still enjoy playing competitively event though I make little time to practice with 2 young ones at home and an active community life. Last year I won our Chapter’s player of the year award and capped off the season with a 64 in our Chapter Championship.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
Professional Development, governance, and mentoring are passions of mine in this industry. Nothing specific stands out but my career is highlighted by my service to others. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time on local community board of directors as well as PGA chapter and section boards. I’m excited about our current team at my facility and guiding our young professionals through the PGA PGM Program. Watching others succeed is what inspires and motivates me in my career.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Teaching professionals need patience. You are going to experience many frustrated students and you need to stay level headed and focused on the process. Get your students to understand the process and how important practice is in improving golf swing mechanics. Scoring will only improve if you put in the time to practice. Also, do not lose your passion for playing the game of golf. You will spend much more time at the golf course if you make it a profession. Put aside the time to practice on your own and play golf leisurely with friends and competitively if you like to do so.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Golf is a great game. While it can be difficult at times, remember that it is a hobby for most and should be played for fun by the average golfer. Enjoy your time with friends, family, clients, or co-workers.
Anyone considering golf as a profession, feel free to reach out to me anytime if you need advice or guidance.
Thank you and play well!