Golf: Dallas-Based Tan Sisters’ Careers Begin Using First Tee, Golf News & Top Stories
SINGAPORE – The world’s top male golfers have currently converged on TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Dallas for the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament. Ten of the world’s top 25 golfers are in attendance this week, including Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and local hero Jordan Spieth.
Yet the famous golf course is no stranger to the Tan sisters of Singapore.
Belle, 23, based in Dallas, Janane, 21, and Miyoko Tan, 17, had the chance to play at TPC Craig Ranch several times, as part of the First Tee Greater Dallas program.
The sisters can also count Pebble Beach, Poppy Hills and TPC Sawgrass as some of the other world famous golf courses they have had the opportunity to play on, making them the envy of golf enthusiasts the world over. .
First Tee is a non-profit organization that aims to provide accessible golf programs to the community and to empower young people with life skills and character development through sport. Its network spans all 50 US states as well as Japan, South Korea and Australia.
In fact, the Tan Sisters’ journey with First Tee started in Singapore. The Dallas-based family had returned to Singapore in 2006, due to their father’s work as an avionics specialist in the Singapore Air Force.
While studying at Naval Base Elementary School, Belle and Janane played golf as an after-school activity, after taking golf lessons at a local club in the United States.
Belle, 23, a 2.8-year-old disabled who is pursuing a master’s degree in accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas, said: “We took a bus to school every morning carrying our golf clubs and people were looking at us because they were literally the size of us. “
It was a teammate from their CCA who introduced them to First Tee Singapore.
When their father had to return to work in Dallas in 2008, the family moved again and the sisters continued their golf development at First Tee Greater Dallas, with Miyoko following in her sisters’ footsteps soon after.
Although they showed promise and wanted to play college golf, the journey was arduous with finances posing a major challenge.
Belle said: “We always knew that we should all strive for a college golf scholarship because my parents couldn’t really afford our college education.”
Another challenge was the high cost of participating in major golf tournaments.
Janane, a junior who plays for the University of Texas at Arlington women’s team and dreams of turning pro, pointed out, “The problem is if you don’t have the resources or the money to afford it. participate in big tournaments, which will obviously give you more visibility but also cost more … The American Junior Golf Association has one of those tournaments where most of the junior golfers would play and the costs of flights, hotels and tournament fees can really add up. “
But luckily, those concerns were alleviated by First Tee Greater Dallas, who offered them help and support in all facets of their journey.
In addition to providing them with golf scholarships to help cover their college tuition fees, First Tee also provides them with national opportunities, including subsidizing their entry to golf tournaments for greater visibility as well as programs. development programs like the Life Skills Academy.
The Tan sisters also gained invaluable networking opportunities, meeting other juniors, golf coaches, as well as professional golfers like Spieth.
Speaking about the opportunity to play with Spieth, Janane said it was “very nerve-racking to meet someone who is so deep in the world of golf”, but who felt inspired by him. “Being able to see how hard he works to make his dreams come true inspires me to keep working towards my own dreams,” added the 21-year-old.
A long-time participant in the First Tee Greater Dallas program, Miyoko was also selected to be part of the ClubLife Gateway program, piloted by First Tee and ClubCorp, owner of TPC Craig Ranch. This gives him a free junior membership in the Hackberry Creek Country Club, which gives him access to a high quality facility to train and get mentorship in the form of club members.
As one of two Singaporean families to have benefited from the First Tee Greater Dallas program, the Tans are grateful for the opportunities available to them.
“My family isn’t rich or anything. We just got very lucky with the First Tee. They gave us so many opportunities, like helping us access golf courses and golf tournaments.” added Belle, who represented the University of Arkansas at Monticello Golf Team.
And now they are giving back to the community through the program. Belle and Janane interned with First Tee Greater Dallas as coaches for their summer programs. Miyoko, who works towards a college golf career like her sisters, is an active and volunteer junior coach with First Tee.
Miyoko, a junior from Coppell High School, said: “After trying it I was like, ‘Oh wow’, it’s really fun teaching kids in general … and it’s not just teaching, but we also play games with them and learn life skills while having fun, so it’s good to give back to the community. “