Q: Did playing with The First Tee motivate you to also get involved with your school’s golf team?
For Ace-level player Isabel Trojillo, The First Tee of Howard County has been much more than just a golf program. Read our recent Q&A with the junior at Centennial High School to hear in her own words how the program has impacted her since joining at age ten.
Q: Why did you first get involved with The First Tee?
A: When I was 10 years old, I grew an interest in golf and started learning and playing the game. My parents and I wanted to take it a step further and looked for programs to improve my understanding and skills, and along came The First Tee.
A: The First Tee had a huge influence on me joining Centennial’s golf team, which is something I am extremely grateful for. My greatest accomplishments for my high school career were consistently qualifying for the county and district tournaments each year. During my most recent season, my coach assigned me as the team captain, which I was very humbled and honored by. I placed third at the county and district level, and qualified to play at the state tournament. After two grueling days of cold and windy golf, I was among the only two girls from Howard County to make the cut to play in the final day. It was a very memorable experience, one that I was take and learn from as I enter my senior year. Because of my progressing achievements throughout the following years, I am proudest of my growth as a player and leader for Centennial’s golf team.
Q: What has been your favorite experience with The First Tee?
A: During the summer of 2016, The First Tee gave me an opportunity to apply for the Life Skills Academy in Minnesota. My application was accepted and I was incredibly excited and thankful for this chance. I had the time of my life during my week in the program, and I can honestly say that is my favorite experience with The First Tee. I was able to develop friendships, most of which I still keep up with today, but more importantly I learned valuable lessons that will benefit my future.
I also loved how The First Tee allowed me to mentor young golfers. It was exciting to see their eyes light up because of the fun they were having. They brought me back to memories of when I started and it’s incredible to see things come full circle.
Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from participating in The First Tee’s program?
A: The Nine Core Values has had the most influence in my life. It taught me not only to play the game with etiquette, but also how to carry myself as a person and how to be the best citizen I can be. Overall, it taught me how to respect the game of golf, others and myself.
Q: How do you see your experience with The First Tee impacting your future?
A: There are many things to take away from this program, but I think the most important one is how The First Tee is able to shape their students to be respectable and dependable. Lessons like these prepare us not only to become great golfers, but also to have proper etiquette and overcome challenges. By using STAR and the 4R’s, I believe we are conditioned for whatever may come in the future.
Q: What would you tell other young girls who are considering getting involved?
A: I would definitely recommend young girls to become involved in the program. I met my best friends through The First Tee, and over the course of five years we’ve seen each other grow as players and individuals. We currently play against and with each other for our high schools; it is an experience like no other. Also, during the 2016 season, the top six girls who placed at the county tournament were all from The First Tee. It is important for the game of golf to be recognized and to appeal to more young girls because of the valuable life lessons it teaches and because it is simply fun. Therefore, I encourage more girls to join this amazing program because it trains them to become better golfers and individuals. It also has the capability of bringing people together in understanding the game and applying the lessons they teach in real-life situations.