Several years ago, when Huy “Tommy” Nguyen and his wife left their native Vietnam to study at Iowa State University, golf was a complete unknown. Fast forward a few years and Tommy and his son, David, are now passionate volunteer coaches for First Tee – Central Iowa.
When Tommy helped enroll his son in First Tee five years ago, it would be his very first introduction to golf. After only a few days in the program, David started hitting the ball well, began making friends, and having fun – enough to ask his dad to sign him up for the very next session. David is now a junior at Valley High School, an avid member of their golf team, and a dedicated player-coach for First Tee.
Tommy admits he was a “drop my kid off and pick him up later” guy. That is, until
Program Director, Mikayla Olson, sent out an email earlier this year about the program’s need
for additional coaches. Tommy took a “leap of faith” and signed up. “I am so thankful for that
decision. Being a coach with First Tee has really changed my life” expresses Tommy. Through
his participation, he has met so many amazing people and helped the community.
This father and son coaching duo kept busy this summer, helping at several of our locations
including Copper Creek, Woodland Hills, West Grand Golf, and Warrior Run. They never
missed a single day during all four weeks of both the Copper Creek and Woodland Hills
sessions. What drives them to give so much of their time helping First Tee?
Having been in the program for several years, David experienced how his coaches were such
impactful mentors and wanted to pass that on to other participants. He never appreciated
what it took to be a coach until he fully immersed himself in the program. It’s not only being
there for the session, but learning the curriculum, arriving early to set up practice stations, and
staying after to tear down. David says, “First Tee sets up an environment where you can learn
so much about golf but also about Life Skills and that’s really wonderful.”
As a parent, Tommy didn’t care much about Life Skills being part of the lessons. Now, as a
coach, he appreciates and realizes that is what separates First Tee from other golf
programs. Tommy shares, “I believe golf does reflect life – especially reflecting your character
on and off the golf course. As coaches, we really can make a difference in their lives.”
We can’t thank Tommy and David enough for their time and effort in caring for our participants
and helping us Build Game Changers.
If you’re interested in becoming a First Tee coach, contact our program director, Mikayla Olson
at [email protected]