Golf used to be called a “rich man’s sport,” best suited for snooty country club types like lawyers, doctors and corporate executives. People of color? Forget about it! That all changed when Tiger Woods ushered in a new generation of heroes that look more like modern day America. Like local San Diegan Pat Perez, to Kevin Na, Carlos Ortiz and dozens of others have proven, golf has no borders or stereotypes.

Woods started playing as a young boy and inspired other youngsters to give the game a try. Then non-profit organizations like The First Tee came along, teaching our youth about the sport along with the inner strength, character and self esteem it promotes. The First Tee was launched in 1997, and now has hundreds of chapters throughout the nation, although with exceptional growth in states like California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida where year around play is possible.

In San Diego, headquarters for The First Tee is Colina Park Golf Club, a well maintained pitch and putt course located in the sprawling ethnic community of City Heights. There you can inquire about First Tee’s duel Pro Kids and Pro Kids Academy programs, professional instruction, proper equipment needed and classroom sessions. Due to COVID-19 precautions, classes are limited to 12 children and all safety guidelines are strictly enforced.

An annual First Tee membership is $225, or $25 monthly, and includes frequent tournaments, academic enrichment activities and additional outdoor experiences. Programs are tailored to accommodate individual skill levels and age categories. Advanced players are also able to obtain special discounts toward green fees at many regulation courses throughout the county. It’s a great way to get the entire family involved in a special golf outing.

Got the golf bug and want to splurge for a local weekend getaway? There’s no better spot than the Singing Hills courses at Sycuan. The championship Oak Glen and Willow Glen layouts are amazing, and so is the challenging Pine Glen executive course. You can book a three night stay at the Sycuan Resort including two rounds of golf starting at $382. This deal is available through Golf Pac Travel by calling 888 848-8941.

About Steve Randel

Steve Randel, former MLB scout and high school coach. Freelance journalist for 47 years covering all things Latino. Managing editor for

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