Success Stories

Andrea Wong

Andrea and her sister joined First Tee–​San Francisco ​after stumbling upon the organization while playing Fleming ​9 hole Course with their Dad. Andrea describes First Tee as a second family that has taught her countless life lessons and she continues to stay connected with the coaches and kids. Her favorite First Tee memory is giving a speech at the player pairings party at The First Tee Open, where she spoke about the core values of the organization. Her favorite golfers are Tiger Woods and Viktor Hovland, and her favorite club is her putter, which takes you low.

Samantha Gong

Sam joined First Tee – ​San Francisco at 7 years old when her mom signed her up to explore more sports. She was glad her mom ​signed her up for First Tee because golf was the one ​sport she excelled at. ​Sam credits First Tee ​for giving her numerous opportunities to not only grow as a person, but as a leader. ​The program taught her how to develop personal goals and how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. After many years ​in the program, Sam describes the First Tee as her second family.
“First Tee –​ San Francisco is made up of extremely supportive and nurturing individuals who welcome others with open arms. First Tee also has a great shoulder to lean on.”
Her favorite memory of First Tee was when a group of kids ​from the program came down to Pebble Beach to support/watch her in The First Tee Open. The kids were super supportive and encouraging. That ​was Samantha’s first time ​having a peanut gallery cheer ​for her.

Catherine Batang

Catherine joined First Tee — San Francisco at 7 years old when her dad discovered the organization and signed ​her up for a few classes. She returned to ​First Tee 4 years later, ​and her real passion for golf took off. ​Catherine explains how the First Tee coaches and staff have always made her feel welcome and included in the First Tee family.
“First Tee – San Francisco has provided a good foundation for my golf and my personal development. Through the core values, I’ve become confident in how I present and conduct myself on and off the course.”
One of her favorite First Tee memories was playing at and winning the Coca-Cola Challenge at the First Tee Nature Valley Open at Pebble Beach. Not only did she get to play at the number one public golf course in America, but she was also partnered with golfers from the PGA Champions Tour. Her partner, John Cook, won the Coca-Cola Challenge and split the $24,000 ​donation between First Tee–Central Ohio and First Tee – San Francisco.

Stephanie Sunga

Stephanie joined the First Tee in the fifth grade at Visitacion Valley Elementary School. Before joining , her dad introduced her to the game ​of golf, by letting her come practice with him. When Stephanie’s dad found out that her school had a golf program, ​he encouraged her to join. She joined the program and learned more about golf and made new friends along the way. She rode a school bus to Visitacion Valley Middle School, where First Tee had one of their practice areas. Eventually, she attended middle school and became even more invested in playing golf with First Tee – San Francisco program.
At first, Stephanie was going for fun, to hang out with friends and practice during lunchtime and after school. As years passed, Stephanie started to improve and became more serious about the game of golf. This led her to playing on the women’s varsity golf team in high school and competing in multiple tournaments.
“I’ve been with First Tee – San Francisco for about 9-10 years now and over the years I’ve improved my golfing skills as well as built many strong friendships with my peers and coaches.”
First Tee – San Francisco has meant so much to Stephanie and the program has offered her many opportunities both on and off the golf course that she wouldn’t have received otherwise. ​These opportunities and experiences have helped her become the person she is today.
Stephanie joined the First Tee in the fifth grade at Visitacion Valley Elementary School. Before joining , her dad introduced her to the game ​of golf, by letting her come practice with him. When Stephanie’s dad found out that her school had a golf program, ​he encouraged her to join. She joined the program and learned more about golf and made new friends along the way. She rode a school bus to Visitacion Valley Middle School, where First Tee had one of their practice areas. Eventually, she attended middle school and became even more invested in playing golf with First Tee – San Francisco program.
At first, Stephanie was going for fun, to hang out with friends and practice during lunchtime and after school. As years passed, Stephanie started to improve and became more serious about the game of golf. This led her to playing on the women’s varsity golf team in high school and competing in multiple tournaments.
“I’ve been with First Tee – San Francisco for about 9-10 years now and over the years I’ve improved my golfing skills as well as built many strong friendships with my peers and coaches.”
First Tee – San Francisco has meant so much to Stephanie and the program has offered her many opportunities both on and off the golf course that she wouldn’t have received otherwise. ​These opportunities and experiences have helped her become the person she is today.

Katrina Camitoc

Katrina was born in the Philippines and moved to San Francisco in 2003 with her family. Her dad introduced her to the game of golf in the Philippines before moving to the United States. Katrina represented the Philippines in the 2000 and 2002 Junior World Golf Championship. A year later, First Tee – San Francisco launched, and Katrina was one of the first participants. First Tee – San Francisco opened a lot of doors for Katrina and gave her access to golf after school and over the weekends. Katrina had the opportunity to attend The First Tee Academy in 2005 and 2006 in Kansas, where she met other First Tee participants who lived throughout the United States, and she still keeps in touch with them!
Katrina’s favorite memories with First Tee – San Francisco are from her experiences at The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach! In 2005 Katrina and her partner, Jay Haas, got off to a great start during the 2nd round. Katrina birdied the first 4 out of 5 holes and on the 6th hole, her partner Jay made eagle. This made them 6 under through 6 holes, shooting them up the leaderboard. Katrina has also played with George Lopez and many influential business executives during this tournament over the years.
Katrina believes First Tee’s nine core values are important to the personal development of all participants. Perseverance is one core value that Katrina believes is important for everyone to live by. On and off the golf course, when things don’t go your way, staying patient, and learning how to pivot is a key aspect to any part of one’s life. Another important core value Katrina believes in is honesty. Katrina believes that everyone should abide by this value in their everyday life.

Kelly Woo

Kelly joined First Tee – San Francisco unwillingly when her mom signed her up 9 years ago! She was very hesitant about participating, but once Kelly joined she loved First Tee, and is now a graduate scholar and a coach for the program. Since Kelly joined 9 years ago, she would describe the First Tee experience like a big family. She saw success on the golf course, but more importantly Kelly created bonds with students and coaches that have transformed from friends to family.
One of Kelly’s favorite experiences with First Tee – San Francisco is when they traveled to Monterey and played against the First Tee – Monterey chapter. Kelly said, “While the golf was fun, the time we spent as a team was the best part, especially when we all went to get food together and hung out in the hotel rooms.”
First Tee – San Francisco has meant a tremendous amount to Kelly throughout the years. The First Tee organization has provided Kelly with the access to incredible local courses, lifelong friends that turned to family, and a scholarship to college to continue her education!