Golf with Jim Meehan: Award helps Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen expand influence in industry

Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen wasn’t teaching, writing or talking about golf.

She wasn’t traveling to a golf-related event or giving an on-line lesson. She wasn’t taking a rare opportunity to belt a few golf balls on the Indian Canyon range.

Jury duty tends to alter one’s daily regimen.

Rest assured Gildersleeve-Jensen was probably thinking about golf during the day. She squeezed in a few evening lessons after completing her jury obligations.

The long-time area pro has always been devoted to golf, particularly instruction, but winning the 2014 PGA National Teacher of the Year opened other doors to expand her influence on the game.

“I’ve been talking golf all my life,” said Gildersleeve-Jensen, the first woman and first from the Pacific Northwest section to receive the award. “It’s put a different spin on the voice trying to get people excited about golf.

“Different platforms, different audiences, whether it’s PGA members, beginners to juniors to adaptive golf. That’s just my passion anyway and it kind of fits in.”

She still runs her golf academy at Indian Canyon in spring and summer, but she spent winter months teaching at Las Barrancas Golf Course in Yuma, Arizona.

Gildersleeve-Jensen and Las Barrancas director of golf Mark Croft, who lost part of his leg because of an infection, launched the PGA Hope (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program for military veterans in Yuma, and eventually in Phoenix and Tucson.

“There are Marine air stations, border patrol and just a lot of service people in Yuma,” said Gildersleeve-Jensen, who is working with area pro Chris Runyan on a Hope program in Spokane. “Mark really thought he could make a difference and he started teaching the day he got out of the hospital.

“We got into expanding it and doing adaptive golf, helping people with all kinds of ailments, missing limbs or cognitive issues. It’s been really inspirational being part of…

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