Game Changers

Resiliency at its Finest: Quentin Sasser, PGA, and the Journey to Finding Purpose

By Jesse Dodson
Published on
Perseverance and self-belief have carried Quentin Sasser to a career in golf that he loves.

Perseverance and self-belief have carried Quentin Sasser to a career in golf that he loves.

Many people seek out the game of golf, but for Quentin Sasser, PGA, golf came to him. He wasn’t looking for the game as a 10-year-old, playing with his friends in a big open field in Atlanta, Texas.
However, in that same field, between Booker T. Washington High School and Pruitt Elementary, Howard Warren, a high school teacher, would show up after school and during the summer with a six iron and some golf balls, using the old oak tree as his target since the nearest available golf course was 70 miles away.

“We would always bet him a dollar that he couldn't hit that tree,” Sasser remembers. “And that's kind of when I really knew anything about golf, or knew anything about African Americans playing the game of golf.

“Later on, when I was a freshman in high school, he ended up being one of my teachers, and he would talk about the Blacks in the game of golf, which was Calvin Peete, Teddy Rhodes, Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder. He created a passion within me for the game. But I didn't know that at the time.”
A yearn to learn
Fast forward to 2023. Sasser has been in the midst of a successful career as a PGA Member since 2006, now serving as a PGA Teaching Professional at Nibley Park in Salt Lake City despite the challenges he faces being dyslexic. He still travels back to Texas to visit the man who introduced him to a game of a lifetime, too.
“I’m always sharing things with him because he’s always happy to see my progress and my progression in the game itself,” says Sasser. “He was my big introduction to the game, it all started with Mr. Howard Warren in a small country town where, at the time, Black people couldn't play the game of golf.
“Golf came to me, I really didn’t go to golf. Being a Black kid and not able to play the game in high school, I just never had any interest in playing. We had one golf course in town, and it was private. As a Black person, you could work there as a cook or maintenance person but nothing else.”
Sasser began college at San Joaquin Delta College as a walk-on to play football then later accepted a scholarship to play for Weber State in Ogden, Utah. Shortly after, he transferred to the University of Utah with plans on becoming a school teacher or playing in the NFL.

“I felt like I wanted to be in a leadership position, whatever that role was, in giving back to the community in some aspect or helping kids along the way,” he adds.

Like most people, those plans changed, and then changed again. Sasser owned a retail clothing business called Sass for Men in 1989, with a couple of locations in Salt Lake City. But he was looking for something more in his career.

It was then when he met Gary and Steve Schneiter, now fellow PGA Professionals in the Utah PGA Section. After a few stops in the old Nevada Bob’s golf retail store and several buckets at Pebblebrook Golf Course — which the Schneiter brothers own — golf came to him again.

“I’m the kind of person that has a can-do attitude. I felt like I could be really good at golf, and I wanted more. I started going to Pebblebrook everyday, sometimes twice a day, hitting large buckets of range balls until my hands hurt.”
Originally wanting to be an NFL player or school teacher, Sasser instead found his calling in golf.
Originally wanting to be an NFL player or school teacher, Sasser instead found his calling in golf.
He made frequent stops at Salt Lake City golf courses Mountain Dell, Nibley Park and Bonneville with old clubs borrowed from a friend’s grandfather. He started to consume anything and everything he could about the game, which also meant playing in weekly money games with local professionals and amateurs.

“They loved taking my money,” quips Sasser.“I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m very detail-oriented. One reason why I’m detail-oriented, and it's something a lot of people don’t know about me, is I’m dyslexic. I think it makes me unique in my own way — I see things that others don't.”

He started recording every golf tournament on TV that he could find, adding:“I must have hundreds of VHS tapes.”

As he continued to feed his passion for golf, it just so happened that Steve Schneiter, the first PGA Member to claim both a PGA Professional Championship (1995) and a Senior PGA Professional Championship (2016) lived in the same apartment complex at the time.

“I was at his apartment all the time, picking his brain and trying to learn everything I possibly could. The relationship that I have with the Schneiters . . . they’re like my family,” says Sasser. "I asked Steve if he would allow me to caddy for him so I could see how he worked his way around the course. At the first event, he hit this unbelievable shot from the trees that curved almost 90 degrees and caught the right corner of the green. I left there shaking my head in amazement. That fired me up even more.

“After my experience caddying for Steve, I wanted more,” Sasser continues. “When tour events came to town, I would go to the course on Monday to see if I could get a bag. During the days of the Franklin Shootout on the PGA Tour Champions, I ended up caddying for Lee Elder, Bobby Stroble and David Lindstrom in Park City. One of my finest moments was when I met J.C. Snead. He spent four hours with me on the driving range allowing me to ask all kinds of questions about the swing.”
A little help from the PGA family
A PGA Member since 2006, Sasser is now a PGA Teaching Professional at Nibley Park in Salt Lake City.
A PGA Member since 2006, Sasser is now a PGA Teaching Professional at Nibley Park in Salt Lake City.
Another mentor in Sasser’s life was Dan Roskelley, PGA, while he was the Head Professional at Logan Golf & Country Club in Logan, Utah.
“I was down in Houston testing for my PGA Membership, back when the PGA had it set up the old way, and I didn’t pass. I remember Dan coming to me and asking what was going on. When I told him I was dyslexic, I broke down in tears.
Roskelley informed Sasser that the PGA offers help in that direction. Sasser reached out and with the ADA resources provided by the PGA, he passed his tests and became a PGA Member.

“Without him being concerned about me, I wouldn’t have my membership,” says Sasser. “Every time I see him I tell him, ‘Thank you.’ That was a big turning point for me in my life. I could never thank him enough.”

Sasser believes resilience and giving back are the biggest lessons learned throughout his career.

“When I leave this earth, I will leave my mark here as the first African-American PGA Member and Titleist Staff Member in the Utah PGA Section, through my resilience, perseverance and believing in myself – knowing that I am good for the game,” says Sasser. “Anyone that’s heard me talk about golf can feel the passion I have for it. And I think that’s what we all need; that’s what will attract more people to the game.
“When I see a young Black kid that plays high school golf, I always offer to help and help them for free. When I get Black kids in our junior golf programs, I tell them to stay in the game and that anything I can do to help them, I’m willing to do.”
What started in a field in Texas with a six iron and an oak tree, led to a PGA Professional teaching and sharing his passion to those who need it.

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