Jackson Zinn grew up golfing, working and coaching at Hyland Hills Golf Course, always looking for young players to mentor and finding ways to help out. Zinn was tragically killed in a car crash last March, but his parents, Greg and Jen, have worked to ensure his legacy will live on.
The 1st Annual Jackson Zinn Memorial Golf Tournament was held Aug. 7 at Hyland Hills and raised over $40,000 for a scholarship fund the Zinns have set up to benefit aspiring golfers and student-athletes.
Jackson Zinn was a prolific golfer, rising through the ranks and eventually leading the Ralston Valley High School Mustangs to a state championship and earning a scholarship to the University of the Southwest. But Greg said Jackson was always keeping an eye out for those less fortunate than himself.
“(Jackson) grew up at Hyland Hills,” Greg said. “We have a tight relationship with the people over there. We used to drop him off when he was just a kid. It was a great place for him to go. We’d drop him off with $20 — ‘Here’s your lunch money, we’ll pick you up after work’ — and he’d spend the day golfing and practicing and helping out with the youth program.
“He would come home after the youth program and be like, ‘You know there’s this kid that can’t afford it, can we help him out?’” Greg continued. “He kind of just had a heart for kids who maybe couldn’t play, couldn’t afford it.”
Jen said that she and Greg thought of the idea for a scholarship fund because they wanted to do something to honor Jackson’s legacy.
“I think Greg and I immediately, mutually decided we wanted to do something positive with Jackson’s passing,” Jen said. “He was just a tremendous kid. Golf really was a vehicle that helped shape his character and humbled him and brought out the best in him. We just wanted to do something with that.”
The scholarship will be handed out by a committee that will vet applications from student athletes who are hoping to continue their pursuits either in college or on the professional golf circuit, Jen said. Applications are open to anyone, but Jen said she and Greg would like to support kids in the Ralston Valley community, if possible.
“Golf is not cheap,” Jen said. “And Jackson did get a scholarship to play college golf, but it didn’t cover everything. And so, we want to try and reach the kids that dedicated their life to sports and maybe not academics and they can’t compete with a 4.5 (GPA) but yet they did all their sports. We’re going to have a scholarship committee that selects (recipients).
“A lot of it is on merit and character, their interview and application process, but we want to be able to cushion the expense of golf because we believe so much in the sport and to us, it’s so much more than a sport,” Jen said. “So, we want to be able to help students be able to get to college or be able to play the game in youth sports and then there’s some kids that are trying to get to the PGA that we’re trying to support.”
The 1st Annual Jackson Zinn Memorial Golf Tournament sold out, according to Greg and Jen. Next year’s event is already in the works and will be hosted at Hyland Hills. Donation to the Jackson Zinn Memorial Fund can be made at jacksonzinnmemorial.com.