January 27, 2009 (UPDATED Jan 30) —Charley Hoffman is the PGA Tour player with the blonde surfer hair and carefree attitude. His clothing line logo–apparel can be purchased online at CharleyHoffman.com–features a silhouette of Hoffman swinging and hair flowing. But behind the 'flow' is a solid golfer who was a member of the 1998 UNLV Golf NCAA Championship team and the 2007 champion of the PGA Tour's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Hoffman lives in Las Vegas, and recently spent an evening giving a clinic to about 100 Las Vegas junior golfers who gathered at Las Vegas Golf Club, thus filling his 'Good Karma' level for the year. Hoffman's Karma resulted in a 5-under 66 and a tie for second after round one. LIVE SCORING.
Hoffman grew up playing in the San Diego Junior Golf Association, and has also taken over the reigns as host of a large benefit golf event that was formerly hosted by Craig Stadler. A few of the PGA Tour pros that joined Hoffman last year at the event included Phil Mickelson, Kevin Stadler, Pat Perez, John Mallinger, Jason Gore, DJ Trahan, Bill Hass and Dennis Paulson. But Hoffman also loves Las Vegas, and giving back a bit to the kids in his adopted hometown was a great opportunity for him. Hoffman was an All-American while playing at UNLV, and still is active in Las Vegas. He can be spotted attending UNLV sporting events with fellow PGA Tour pro Bill Lunde, and Hoffman plays and practices at TPC Las Vegas.
"It was great!" reported The First Tee of Southern Nevada Executive Director Danielle Gladd, when asked about the clinic. "Charley was amazing with the kids. We had about 100 out there. Charley talked about how he warms up when he goes out to practice/play. He talked about the importance of school, growing up in a junior golf program, what it is like traveling all the time for the Tour, and how important his friends are to him while on the Tour. He answered literally dozens of questions from the kids, and there wasn’t a problem getting them to ask … (they asked) everything from his favorite club to hit with (driver) to are you a Christian? (yes) to what do you do to relax? (play video games, Mario for Wii is his favorite) to are you a millionaire? (yes)."
Las Vegas Golf Club is a city-owned Las Vegas golf course, and the oldest course in the area. Way back when, the course hosted a PGA Tour event, but these days it is the place where the true local–and some visiting Las Vegas golfers–tee it up for a fun and challenging round. The course annually hosts the Las Vegas City Amateur, a major event on the schedule of the Southern Nevada Golf Association. "For a casual, relaxing round on a traditional course that won't strain the budget, Las Vegas Golf Club is as good as it gets," wrote VegasGolfer Magazine editor Bill Bowman. Las Vegas Golf Club is operated by EAGL Golf, and a sister Las Vegas golf course is Painted Desert Golf Club, the orginal desert golf course in Las Vegas.
Hoffman also appeared on the SportsZone with Kevin West, a Las Vegas sports television show, and commented on how important junior golf was to him growing up. Hoffman told West that he learned a lot about the game and it really helped prepare him for not only playing golf, but for life in general. Hoffman has also commented in the past about how watching the best players in the San Diego area helped drive him to success. "Growing up, obviously Phil (Mickelson) was older than me but I always looked up to him because he's a San Diego guy," Hoffman said. "In San Diego Junior Golf, he was always the guy winning all the tournaments. So you obviously knew who Phil was. Tiger is a couple years older than me, but (we played in some of the same events). Chris Riley was a few years older than me also, but we went to school at UNLV together. Those are all guys from San Diego and Southern California."
Hoffman is one of eight PGA Tour players teeing it up in the FBR Open January 29-Feb.1 in Phoenix. Also playing in Phoenix will be Pat Perez, who just won the 50th Bob Hope Classic Hosted by Arnold Palmer. Hoffman finished in a tie for 19th at that event, his first of the season and just days after the clinic. Perez is also from the San Diego area and grew up playing in the junior golf association. Other golfers who have lived or live in Las Vegas playing in the FBR are Tommy Armour III, Chad Campbell, Alex Cejka, Ryan Moore, Scott Piercy, Nick Watney, and Dean Wilson. As of this writing, former UNLV golfers Bill Lunde and James Oh were listed as alternates.
The First Tee of Southern Nevada is dedicated to introducing kids to the best in life through the game of golf, and the staff and volunteers work hard to organize a summer schedule of tournaments in addition to a year-long calendar of clinics and other open play days. The Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy is now operated at several Las Vegas golf courses including Angel Park Golf Club, among others. PGA Tour players who grew up playing in this program include Craig Barlow, Robert Gamez and Edward Fryatt. LPGA Tour player Stephanie Louden also played in the program.