Golf is the hook; education is the payoff




The mission of Pro Kids | First Tee of San Diego is to challenge underserved youth to excel in life by promoting character development, life skills, and values through education and the game of golf.

connecting youth, sports, and education

Through a unique set of programs that combine sport, study, and service, we provide youth grades 2 – 12 with equitable access to opportunities that will set them on the path to success in adulthood, with support and scholarship service for program alumni.

Pro Kids serves as a welcoming home to kids across San Diego County with primary program locations in City Heights and Oceanside – both San Diego communities marked by poverty, gang violence, and poor high school graduation rates. We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential – to become Pro Kids – and provide access to transformational opportunities that the youth in these communities wouldn’t usually have access to. Nearly 75 percent of our enrolled youth qualify for and receive income-based or military status scholarships covering full program membership fees, strengthening our promise to provide impactful educational and enrichment services to San Diego’s most vulnerable and challenged youth.

Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego from Pro Kids on Vimeo.

BRIEF History

In 1994, former San Diego Charger Ernie Wright and a group of community leaders launched Pro Kids, with the idea that teaching underserved youth the game of golf could help them develop the character and life skills required to find success in school and in life. That year, a small group of kids participated in the program at Colina Park, a run-down golf course in City Heights, one of San Diego’s poorest and most challenged communities at the time. The program started with a small group of dedicated volunteers, including local golf professionals, and served as a model for the PGA’s First Tee program (now an international organization). In 1998 we became a charter member of The First Tee, becoming Pro Kids |  First Tee of San Diego. Pro Kids is a qualified charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

While our founder Ernie passed away in 2007, his passion for helping kids succeed in life continues at Pro Kids today. Since 1994, we have seen over 25,000 kids transform through the values intrinsic to the game of golf—honesty, confidence, and respect.