Junior Golfer uses TGR Learning Lab skills and experiences to expand golf among youth
As a 13 year-old junior golfer who has been playing the game for 5 years, I know firsthand that golf can be a frustrating and lonely sport sometimes. It wasn’t until my mom found the TGR Learning Lab (TGRLL) when I was ten years old that I really enjoyed playing and practicing golf.
At the TGR Learning Lab, I met my coaches: Coach G, Coach Titus and Coach Andrés. Every week we learned a new golf skill and I met new friends. I don’t like waking up early, but I was the first to wake my parents up on Saturdays to make sure we got to the learning lab on time. The lessons were so much fun. We had putting competitions, which I believe helped to make me a good putter. Putting is key to being a good golfer. My parents were proud of my commitment and improvement, which motivated me to work harder.
My parents came to the United States as refugees from Vietnam. They came over with nothing, and they have always taught me to be humble and grateful for what I have.
I am also inspired by Coach G and the other coaches. Every week they selflessly sacrifice their weekends to teach kids who would not otherwise have the opportunity to play golf. As my skills improved, so did my confidence in golf. I recently placed 7th out of 43 girls between ages 12 to 18 at Arrowood Golf Course. I’ve even beat the scores of girls who have full ride scholarships to Division 1 colleges.
I am now one of the top juniors in my age division, but playing golf is only part of my passion. Because of the impact the TGR Learning Lab has had on me, I’ve always wanted to share my experience and passion for golf with people unfamiliar with the game or just beginning the sport, especially other kids.
At my alma mater, Castille Elementary School in Mission Viejo, California, I turned to a program called Starting New At Golf (SNAG) that introduces the use of equipment to students. I got the idea to bring SNAG to my school because a similar program was one of the ways I was first exposed to golf. Using teaching techniques that I have learned from the TGR Learning Lab golf program, I help students improve their swings during my lessons. Some drills I have used include the feet together drill and the one-footed drill. Coach G always tells us to “have fun, but also be safe.” These are the two most important rules that I reinforce before every lesson.
My students have extraordinarily progressed since they started, but more importantly they are having fun. I currently have ten students who attend a five-week program with their parents. My mom helps me as an assistant coach, and we have three stations: a driving/hitting station, a chipping station and a putting station. I also have a waiting list for the next session to start sometime next year in January. The program is free of charge, and I only ask students and parents to be committed to the program.
Although I have won multiple tournaments, some of my best golf memories are from the learning lab, like when I won my first TGRLL Tournament and beat two of the best boys. I also played on the TGRLL fall team and helped us win first place in the Fall League. My top memory is when I placed second and advanced in Drive, Chip and Putt when the event was held at the learning lab this year. Even though I was participating as an individual at the event, I felt like I was representing TGRLL. Coach G, Coach Titus, and Coach Andrés all took a picture with me after I placed. I will always be honored, humbled and grateful for everything Coach G and the people at the TGR Learning Lab have done for me.
Redefining what it means to be a champion