Bartlett played for just $5 through his membership in Youth on Course, a nonprofit that subsidizes rounds across the country for young players.
“Going out west and playing this really challenging golf course taught me things I never would have learned playing the municipal golf courses nearby, and all for the price of five dollars,” Bartlett said.
To pay for it, Bartlett will take part in the 100 Hole Hike charity event on Monday at Hollows Golf Club in Montpelier, Va., just north of Richmond. Yes, he will play 100 holes and drive about 33 miles of course with his golf bag slung over his shoulder and his dad playing by his side.
The two signed up immediately after receiving an email from the Virginia State Golf Association announcing the event, and together they raised nearly $1,200.
They prepared for the trek by playing as much golf as possible, often at least 18 holes a day. They expect it to take them around 8.5 hours.
“It’s definitely going to be a bonding thing, it’s just going to be five and a half rounds of golf in a row,” Bartlett said. “I’m nervous about it because I also have an 18-hole tournament the next day for high school.”
Bartlett, a senior from Meridian High in Falls Church, sparked his interest during his freshman year when his friends told him the team would take a trip to TopGolf, which sounded like fun. He had played a little with his father but had never taken the game seriously until this point. His love for her has transformed over the past three years, blossoming during the pandemic as he trained for six hours a day.
Keith Bartlett is grateful to Youth on Course for giving his son golf experiences that he never got to have at such a young age. The eldest Bartlett discovered the sport while working on a golf course during his sophomore year of high school in his hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut. He dreamed of continuing to play in college, but said the athletic director of U-Connecticut it would take him a year to hone his skills before he was considered for the team. Without a car to drive to the driving range for practice or the funds to play numerous courses, he gave up the sport for several years.
Through events such as the 100 Hole Hike, Youth on Course offers its 130,000 members access to nearly 2,000 golf courses across the United States and Canada. A number of local courses participate in the program, including East Potomac Golf Course in Southwest Washington, Andrews Courses in Alexandria and Redgate Park in Rockville.
The Bartletts are expecting a tough day, but are eager to demonstrate their commitment to the sport and Youth on Course.
“This organization has helped me 100% to develop my love for the game, to play on these beautiful golf courses, to experience what golf can really be in its most authentic form,” said Ethan Bartlett.