It was a typical summer day in Southern California, where junior golfers from The First Tee of the Inland Empire pushed through weather conditions of 100 degrees and high humidity just to compete and play the game they love. But this day was different than just a normal golf day. This day reflected The First Tee Nine Core Values more than ever and brought kids from opposite ends of the world together through golf.
On July 27, 2018, The First Tee of the Inland Empire was asked to play in a friendly competition with the Jerry Wong Golf Academy. Jerry Wong runs an academy at Oak Valley Golf Club in Beaumont, California where his passion runs deep for hosting a number of students that come over from main land China to learn the game of golf. Thinking the opportunity would be a wonderful cultural exchange for The First Tee students and the kids from China, both groups jumped at the idea.
1) Have fun
3) Make Us Proud
And that’s exactly what they did. The First Tee participants were paired with the kids from China in a match play for eight groups of two players, consisting of both boys and girls. Groups were matched based on their ability levels and ages, each fitted with The First Tee of the Inland Empire t-shirts . For most of these junior golfers, this was the first time they had played in a match play event. Not only did the tournament provide a rewarding experience for the kids, but parents from The First Tee also got involved as they followed their kids on the course and helped cheer on the kids from China when they made a good shot.
“What made me the proudest was seeing the Nine Core Values come out of our kids. Honesty, Courtesy, Respect, Perseverance to name a few.”
– JT Visbal, Co-Founder & Board President of The First Tee of the Inland Empire
This experience has prompted the chapter to create a tournament team to help prepare students for matches of this nature with the Jerry Wong Academy moving forward. After all, in the end, it’s all about the kids.
With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds—no golf experience needed! Each chapter has their own unique opportunities, like The First Tee of the Inland Empire. If you know a kid interested in golf, visit our location map to find a local chapter!