Locals chip in to support Youth on Course program

Courtesy of Lisa Elliott
Youth on Course member Sandip Nirmel, from left, YOC committee members Tom DeFilipps, Ann Baskins, Nancy Campbell and Clay Campbell, and YOC member Ronnie McDowell Jr. attend a recent fundraiser for the program.

Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club recently hosted the first private club fundraising event to benefit Youth on Course, a golf program supported by Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents.

Started by the Northern California Golf Association in 2005, YOC provides students ages 6-18 with access to potentially life-changing opportunities through golf, beginning with access to affordable golf (less than $5 at more than 330 participating courses) and continuing beyond the green with employment opportunities, paid high school internships and college scholarships.

The YOC steering committee includes four Los Altos/Los Altos Hills residents.

More than 120 members and their guests from throughout the Bay Area – including several from Los Altos and Los Altos Hills – gathered at Palo Alto Hills for the fundraising golf tournament and dinner.

The summer day began with a friendly golf match between guests and members. As an added bonus, YOC members Ronnie McDowell Jr. and Sandip Nirmel greeted participants on hole No. 2.

The two young golfers teed off on this hole for every player throughout the day with the goal to land as many balls as possible in a 10-foot diameter around the hole to raise additional money for YOC. McDowell and Nirmel raised an extra $3,000.

Dinner followed with an introduction from Adam Heieck, executive director of YOC, who discussed the organization’s history, mission and goals. Nirmel, president of the YOC Leadership Council, then shared his personal experience as a program member. Nirmel said he not only gained golf skills, but also life skills and opportunities, and is now giving back to the organization.

“I joined YOC when I was just a cheeky lad fascinated by the concept of $5 golf,” he said. “Seven years later, I am actively engaged in giving back to and shaping the future of YOC as the president of the YOC Leadership Council.”

Guests were later entertained by Mitch Juricich, host of the “Hooked on Golf” radio show. Juricich guided the audience through a raffle and live auction featuring donated items such as trips to Maui and Napa, and a gourmet dinner with wine pairings hosted by Palo Alto Hills chef Timothy Ralphs.

The event raised more than $60,000 for YOC, according to organizers. The funds are expected to provide 5,000 rounds of golf and 12 paid high school internships to kids participating in the program in Northern California and beyond.

To donate and for more information, visit

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