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Resiliency at its Finest: Quentin Sasser, PGA, and the Journey to Finding Purpose

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Resiliency at its Finest: Quentin Sasser PGA and the Journey to Finding Purpose

By Jesse Dodson
Published on
Perseverance

While many people seek the game of golf, Quentin Sasser (PGA) found it. He wasn’t looking for the game as a 10-year-old, playing with his friends in a big open field in Atlanta, Texas.
Howard Warren, a highschool teacher, would also be found in that field, Booker T. Washington High School and Pruitt elementary. He would arrive after school and during summer with a six iron, some golf balls, and the old oak tree, as his target. The nearest golf course was 70 mi away.

“We would always bet him a dollar that he couldnt hit that tree,” Sasser remembers. “And thats kind of when I really knew anything about golf, or knew anything about African Americans playing the game of golf.

“Later on, when I was a freshman in high school, he ended up being one of my teachers, and he would talk about the Blacks in the game of golf, which was Calvin Peete, Teddy Rhodes, Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder. He ignited a passion in me for the game. But I didnt know that at the time.”

A yearning to learn
Fast forward to 2023. Sasser is a PGA Member and has enjoyed a successful career. He currently serves as a PGA Teaching Professional at Nibley Park, Salt Lake City. He still visits Texas to visit the man who introduced his to the game of a life time.
“I’m always sharing things with him because he’s always happy to see my progress and my progression in the game itself,” says Sasser. “He was my big introduction to the game, it all started with Mr. Howard Warren in a small country town where, at the time, Black people couldnt play the game of golf.
“Golf came to me, I really didn’t go to golf. I was a Black kid who couldnt play the game in highschool. It was not something I had any interest in. There was one private golf course in town. As a Black person, you could work there as a cook or maintenance person but nothing else.”
Sasser attended college at San Joaquin Delta College, initially as a walk-on football player. He later received a scholarship to play at Weber State in Ogden. He transferred to the University of Utah shortly thereafter with the intention of becoming a teacher or playing in NFL football.

“I felt like I wanted to be in a leadership position, whatever that role was, in giving back to the community in some aspect or helping kids along the way,” he adds.

As with most people, these plans changed over time. Sasser ran a clothing retail business called Sass for Men. It had a few locations in Salt Lake City. But he was looking to do more with his career.

He met Gary and Steve Schneiter who are now fellow PGA Professionals in Utah PGA Section. After a few stops in the old Nevada Bob’s golf retail store and several buckets at Pebblebrook Golf Course — which the Schneiter brothers own — golf came to him again.

“I’m the kind of person that has a can-do attitude. I felt I could really excel at golf and wanted more. I started going to Pebblebrook everyday, sometimes twice a day, hitting large buckets of range balls until my hands hurt.”

Originally

Sasser originally wanted to be an NFL player or a school teacher, but he found his calling in golf.
He made frequent stops at Salt Lake City golf courses Mountain Dell, Nibley Park and Bonneville with old clubs borrowed from a friend’s grandfather. He began to read everything about the game and played weekly money games with both professionals and amateurs.

“They loved taking my money,” quips Sasser.“I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m very detail-oriented. One reason why I’m detail-oriented, and its something a lot of people don’t know about me, is I’m dyslexic. I think it makes me unique in my own way — I see things that others dont.”

He started recording every golf tournament on TV that he could find, adding:“I must have hundreds of VHS tapes.”

He continued to play golf, and Steve Schneiter, the PGA Member who won both a PGA Professional Championship (1995), as well as a Senior PGA Professional Championship (2016), lived in the same apartment at the time.

“I was at his apartment all the time, picking his brain and trying to learn everything I possibly could. The relationship I have with the Schneiters . . they’re like my family,” says Sasser. I asked Steve if I would be able to serve as his caddy so that I could see how he navigated the course. He made an amazing shot from the trees, which curved almost 90 degrees and landed in the right corner of green at the first event. I was in awe and left there shaking my head. That was enough to get me going.

“After my experience caddying for Steve, I wanted more,” Sasser continues. “When tour events came to town, I would go to the course on Monday to see if I could get a bag. I was a caddy during the Franklin Shootout for the PGA Tour Champions. J.C. Snead was a great friend and one of my best moments. He spent four hours with me on the driving range allowing me to ask all kinds of questions about the swing.”

A little help from the PGA Family
A

Sasser has been a PGA Member since 2006. He is now a PGA Teaching Professional at Nibley Park, Salt Lake City.
Another mentor in Sasser’s life was Dan Roskelley, PGA, while he was the Head Professional at Logan Golf & Country Club in Logan, Utah.
“I was down in Houston testing for my PGA Membership, back when the PGA had it set up the old way, and I didn’t pass. Dan came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I broke down in tears when I revealed that I was dyslexic.
Roskelley informed Sasser the PGA can help him in this direction. Sasser reached for help and was able to pass his tests. He is now a PGA Member.

“Without him being concerned about me, I wouldn’t have my membership,” says Sasser. “Every time I see him I tell him, ‘Thank you.’ That was a big turning point for me in my life. I could never thank him enough.”

Sasser believes that giving back and resilience are the greatest lessons he has learned throughout his career.

“When I leave this earth, I will leave my mark here as the first African-American PGA Member and Titleist Staff Member in the Utah PGA Section, through my resilience, perseverance and believing in myself – knowing that I am good for the game,” says Sasser. “Anyone that’s heard me talk about golf can feel the passion I have for it. And I think that’s what we all need; that’s what will attract more people to the game.

“When I see a young Black kid that plays high school golf, I always offer to help and help them for free. When I get Black kids in our junior golf programs, I tell them to stay in the game and that anything I can do to help them, I’m willing to do.”
The story of a six-iron and an oak wood in a Texas field led to a PGA Professional who taught and shared his passion for golf with those who needed it.

Are you interested in a career as a golfer or PGA Member? Visit www.golf-membership.com for more information. pga.org/workingolf.

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