RIALTO - Police have turned around the lives of troubled children through their PRIDE platoon boot camp program. Now they're using a different tactic to keep children out of trouble: Golf.

The department held its first Golf With a Cop clinic Saturday at the Colton Golf Club, and it featured PGA tour winner Brendan Steele, as well as other instructors.

"We really believe that's the way we're going to affect the community the best," said Rialto police Cpl. Cameron Nelson.

Nelson dreamed up the idea several months ago at a University of California Riverside dinner honoring members of the school's golf team, who won the NCAA division championship in 2004.

He and Steele were both members of the team at the time.

PGA winner Brendan Steele demonstrates a golf shot at Colton Golf Course during Rialto Police Department’s first Golf With a Cop clinic on Saturday.
PGA winner Brendan Steele demonstrates a golf shot at Colton Golf Course during Rialto Police Department's first Golf With a Cop clinic on Saturday. (Courtesy of Rialto Police Department)

Nelson asked his teammate if he'd be interested in helping him with a golf clinic for children.

"He loved the idea and it just kind of grew from there," Nelson said.

Steele, a UCR graduate and Idyllwild native, finished sixth at the Phoenix Open on Feb. 3. He won the Valero Texas open in 2011.

"It's a really great opportunity and doesn't really give anybody any excuses not to want to show up," he said.

Other instructors expected to teach children about golf will be the head women's and men's coaches from UCR and local PGA-certified golf instructors.

Children who hit the green Saturday will be able to return for free, with a caveat: They must maintain a 2.5 grade point average in school.

"We're giving them an option because it's free now and we're trying to motivate them through education," Nelson said.

Police say about 30 children have signed up for the clinic, but they'd like to see it grow to an Inland Empire-wide event. They plan to hold the clinics every three months.

People interested in signing up may call Nelson at 909-820-2515.


Reach Melissa via email or call her at 909-386-3878.

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