(Photo accredited to Christian Scott and Golf the Round)
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
If there was someone who was born to eat, sleep and dream golf, it would be Ken Clark – a local PGA Professional at Golf the Round.
Having been in the golfing industry for nearly his whole working life, Clark certainly shaped his career around something that made him happy every day. Though he picked the sport that is deemed unconquerable, he has enjoyed the challenge it has presented for the last 40 some-odd years: both in teaching and playing.
His passion for the game started when he was young, specifically in middle school. Having been raised in the Salt Lake area, Clark grew up playing the local city courses with his friends.
He recounts his first experience hitting the white-dimpled ball as tough but enjoyable. After walking off the ninth green – nine holes mind you – at Nibley Park Golf Course, he marked his scorecard with a total of 69. The 36-over-par score; however, was enough to strike a burning desire within him.
Clark got his first set of clubs from an aunt, who was quite the good golfer herself. He then used those clubs to hit whiffle balls around his parent’s property into make-shift holes that were made from old soup cans – a common practice for many kids who liked to play their version of the Masters Tournament.
As Clark got older, he would go onto play golf at Olympus High School and Utah State University. He lettered every year he played for both schools. Clark; however, never finished his schooling at USU due to the draft and the Vietnam War. Because the draft was later stopped after he dropped out of school, Clark never fully entered the service.
Following his very brief stint in the military, Clark ran off to Mick Riley Golf Course to become an assistant pro – having had a successful amateur career as a young man. During his time there, as well as certain moments growing up, Clark had also become fascinated with the mechanics of the golf swing. He wanted to teach and help people understand the basic mechanics and how to enjoy the game; this was a big reason why he became a teaching instructor.
Following his time at Mick Riley, Clark took his talents to the west side of the Salt Lake area: Glenmoor Golf Course. He was the head pro there for a few years before settling into his current position at Golf the Round – a place Clark has taught at for the past 25 years.
If one were to look at Clark’s resume, they would see a career filled with success and accolades. He was the first pro in Utah to have and use video tape replay in his teaching. Clark, on average, taught 1,000 lessons a year. He taught the likes of Mehmet Okur, Raja Bell, Deron Williams and Greg Ostertag – all former Utah Jazz stars. Clark was even honored to be the Utah Section PGA Teacher of the Year in 1994 and 2000.
As the world has tried to define success as one with monetary stature, Clark had other ideas on how to be successful: hard work, being honest, and doing one’s best – a formula that has worked for him time and time again during his stint as a PGA Professional.
When Clark isn’t teaching, he spends his time fishing at Strawberry Reservoir and being with his family. Ken Clark, and his wife Tammy, enjoy trips to Wendover, going on golf-centered holidays, and seeing their daughter and three grandchildren.
Ken Clark’s impact has been profound in the state of Utah. Generations have been blessed for his effort and tenacity toward the game we all love. Ken Clark, we thank you for your continued service in our golfing community.