Playing championship golf at Pebble Beach is an opportunity not many will experience in their lifetime. Eighty-two juniors golfers from The First Tee are in for one legendary week as they arrive in California for the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee.
With the tournament kicking off in just a few days, one alumnus of The First Tee has a message to each junior golfer. Derrick Ow knows firsthand what it feels like to play alongside PGA TOUR Champions at the iconic course, teeing off with professional golfer Michael Allen in 2015.
Here is what Derrick wants to share with this year’s junior field.
Welcome to Pebble Beach!
Congratulations on being one of 82 junior participants to play in the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee at Pebble Beach! It is a remarkable achievement not only in your junior golf career, but also for the rest of your life. No matter what your score is on the scorecard, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And, in a blink of an eye, it will all be over. Enjoy the week and all of the festivities that come with it and soak up the scenic atmosphere at Pebble Beach.
My name is Derrick Ow, an alumnus of The First Tee of Monterey County (class of 2016) and I was in your shoes two years ago. Almost every participant who advances in The First Tee wants to play at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where PGA TOUR legends like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods have won US Open titles. Although I did not make the cut when I played in this event, nor was shown on TV, the one-on-one experience I had with my pro was out of this world. Regardless of if you’re paired with a major champion, a Hall of Fame member or a player trying to add to his legacy (or all three!), be sure to learn as much as you can from him.
Here is some advice for you to consider throughout the week.
#1. Be a sponge.
Soak up the advice that your pro gives you – golf or life advice. Do not be afraid to ask questions about how they started golf, which is their favorite course or which sports teams they like the best. Remember, they are human just like you and me, so don’t be shy at all.
#2. Always smile and create friendships.
If you have a bad round, just remember how you got here and where you came from. You are inside the ropes, and you’re the main attraction. When they announce your name on the first tee, make sure you wave to the crowd no matter how big or small and always tip your cap when the spectators clap for a good shot.
#3. Create new friendships with fellow juniors.
Make sure you take a lot of selfies and post them on your various social media platforms (it will double your followers and likes!). After the event, make sure you keep in touch with them because you never know when the friends you made this week could change your life forever.
Again, congratulations on making it to this life-changing event. I wish you nothing but the best of luck going forward as you continue to make history on and off the golf course.
Alumnus, The First Tee of Monterey County