A week prior to the first Foothill League meet of the season, the Saugus girls golfers were struggling with judging the distance on their putts.
Cents coach Cal Linam didn’t fret. He simply called in backup, which in this case is Mark Kagaoan, the Director of Golf at Sand Canyon Country Club.
“I’m going to give them a few tips on how to control the distance of their putts and help them out,” Kagaoan said. “I don’t charge them anything. It’s kind of more like giving back I guess.”
As the Director of Golf, Kagaoan handles pretty much anything to do with golf operations at Sand Canyon. He manages the tee sheet, makes sure member needs are tended too, handles merchandizing duties and gives lessons.
Working with the prep golf teams that practice at Sand Canyon is one of his favorite things to do. He’ll walk the range Monday through Thursday as Canyon, Golden Valley and Saugus practice, always at the ready if any of the golfers need some tips.
“With the kids, especially these, they’re more of an open book. I can mold them into something,” Kagaoan said. “These guys are brand new, so by getting them the fundamentals right away and getting and working on their technique, they don’t develop as many bad habits.”
Kagaoan can relate to the prep golfers he works with. He grew up golfing and when he reached high school, he spent many days at the course picking the brains of pros that were there.
Now, he’s returning the favor.
“When he does a lesson, he gets so fired up,” Linam said. “Every time. His energy level is here. Puts you on camera, compares your hips to Tiger Woods, all that stuff.”
Linam and Saugus golf began practicing at Sand Canyon nearly one year ago, shortly after Canyon and Golden Valley made the move due to overcrowding at their previous home course, Vista Valencia. According to Linam, Kagaoan was also a major reason his team switched.
“If there’s ever an issue with chipping and putting or practicing, he always figures something out for us,” Linam said. “He always has a backup plan. It’s never, ‘No, you’re out of luck.’”
In addition to dispensing advice to young golfers, Kagaoan and Sand Canyon developed the “Canyon Club,” in which student members pay $29 per month and receive a large bucket of balls every day.
He’s also developed different lesson packages that address a range of topics from mental game to physical fitness to on-course instruction that revolve around his “ABC Effect” teaching style.
“Doing the things that we do here, it’s just helping out the community,” Kagaoan said. “What it is, is giving back to the community. I have three kids of my own and a wife that grew up out here and this is our home. And I love this place.”