A North Texas golf pro helps rediscover the charm of one of South Dallas’ most iconic golf courses while using the game he loves to make a difference in the community around him.

“A fantastic property and we are proud of it. We think this is a real gem for the city of Dallas. And I think people have forgotten that, and we remind them,” golfer Ira Molayo said.

Every time Molayo sees the Cedar Crest Golf Course in South Dallas, he is reminded that it’s not just a place to fulfill his passion of being a golf professional and promoter – it’s also a flat -shape to make a difference.

“Golf is a sport that brings out the best in you,” Molayo said. “It’s an individual sport, you depend a lot on yourself, you have to make a lot of decisions. Even when you don’t have everything you need, you still have to find a way to get there.

Which describes Molayo’s approach to revitalizing Cedar Crest starting in 2007, when he decided to take on the job of head pro at a golf course in desperate need of restoration.

“The golf course was in pretty bad shape,” Molayo said. “What was happening in and around the golf course was not the right thing to have a public facility. So we had to take care of a lot of those things when I came on board.

He began to make noticeable changes to the course quickly, with his passion evident while discussing the fairways and greens approaching the full bloom that comes with spring, while dreaming of developing the game with local children, by launching the “I Am a Golfer Foundation” which offers golf lessons, part-time jobs and even scholarships to children, hoping to bring lasting change with a program that teaches more than just the game .

“The people you meet through golf, the relationships you build through golf, the networks you build through golf. I think that’s something that maybe underrepresented groups and marginalized groups haven’t always had access to,” Molayo said. “Golf is now in a place where it’s more inclusive and it’s deliberately focused more on inclusion, and in all honesty, for the history of the sport, it’s been deliberately very exclusive.”

That’s why Molayo wasn’t happy with his program that only teaches kids to golf in Cedar Crest. Instead, he also brings golf to the kids in the community.

Like the course he teaches third and fourth graders at St. Phillip’s School and Community Center in Dallas, teaching everything from golf swings to life lessons.

“This environment is a safe environment, so they can be safe, but they can succeed very easily,” Molayo said. “So golf is fun. Everything you see here is gratifying of what we are trying to teach. So they’re having fun and they don’t even realize they’re improving their golf skills at the same time.

Having fun and learning the game has meant a lot to Molayo as he continues to work with the kids and the Cedar Crest Golf Course, trying to use his platform and his passion to make a difference.

“I really think this golf course can be a catalyst for community renewal,” Molayo said. “And that’s really what we’re trying to do.”