Our Story 

The mission of Pro Kids | The 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. Year-round afterschool programming is available to youth ages 7-17, with college and career financial scholarships and internships open to program alumni. Pro Kids was founded by former AFL/NFL player Ernest H. Wright, Sr. and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1994. Ernie often said, “golf is the hook; education is the payoff”. He recognized golf as a sport that could help kids build character and develop core values. 

For 25 years, Pro Kids has been providing opportunities and opening doors for youth in communities plagued by poverty, gang violence, and poor high school graduation rates. We expanded the footprint of our flagship City Heights location with the construction of a new learning center in 2001 and in 2012, grew our program reach to serve North County with a new facility in Oceanside. A cornerstone of our program is academic support, culminating in the Pro Kids scholarship; since 1999, we have awarded over $2.5 million to 250 scholars, most of whom are the first in their families to pursue higher education. 

Pro Kids couples on-course instruction with a curriculum designed by The First Tee which seamlessly integrates instruction in life skills and core values. Kids build confidence and develop character as they master a difficult sport that introduces them to new people and places. This program supports our overarching organizational goal: to expose kids to the exciting possibilities that lie beyond high school, to cultivate their educational aspirations, and to ensure that success is par for the course. 

Pro Kids | THe FIrst TEe of San Diego mEdia

Media Contact:

Andrew Holets 

Chief Executive Officer

Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego

4085 52nd St. San Diego, CA 92105

619-582-7884 x 124


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Pro Kids Success Infographic

Pro Kids 25th Year Logo

2019 Stories

Rancho Santa Fe Review: “Pro Kids: San Diego 25th Anniversary Celebration”

San Diego Union Tribune: “Column: ‘Fun Phil’ Mickelson dives into social media while helping San Diego kids”

PURE Insurance Open Coverage: “Pro Kids | First Tee of San Diego Teens Selected to Compete in PGA TOUR Champions PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee”

Live Well San Diego: “Partnership Drives Opportunities for Girls in San Diego”

PGA Jr. League: “Join the Team Promo” Airing April 27th on CBS Sports 

“Building a Bridge” The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe and Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego in PGA Magazine, February 2019

Murrieta’s Rickie Fowler Gets Kids into the Swing of Things at Torrey Pines: https://www.kusi.com/murrietas-rickie-fowler-gets-kids-into-the-swing-of-things-at-torrey-pines

Poway Alum Charley Hoffman Continues to Give Back in His Own Backyard: https://www.kusi.com/poway-alum-charley-hoffman-continues-to-give-back-in-his-own-backyard/

Charley Hoffman Foundation Celebrates 10th Anniversary https://www.pgatour.com/impact/2019/01/22/charley-hoffman-foundation-celebrates-anniversary-record-fundraiser.html

New book details racial indignities overcome by family of Chargers great Ernie Wright https://www.pgatour.com/impact/2019/01/22/charley-hoffman-foundation-celebrates-anniversary-record-fundraiser.html

Top 2018 Pro Kids stories in the San Diego Union-Tribune










Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego: Joh and Xiong 

What people are saying

“Pro Kids is a pillar of the community, and I’m happy to support such a tremendous organization.” – Bernie D’Amato

“I remember reading a short news item in the paper when Pro Kids Oceanside opened looking for volunteers.  I thought it sounded like a great combination, golf and kids!  Before my volunteer interview I studied the many opportunities available and made a mental list of what I was interested in. The last thing I thought I wanted to do – tutoring – is actually what I enjoy most, especially with the young kids. I love learning from them, especially new math, and watching them when they experience an ‘aha’ moment. No matter how I feel when I walk in to Pro Kids I know I’ll walk out with a smile on my face. The program, kids, staff and other volunteers are amazing!” –Volunteer Maralee O’Meara

“Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego and Colina Park Golf Course come together to provide amazing opportunities for school-aged young people. The educational support, golf instruction, and opportunities to serve give these youths chances to succeed and reach their God-given potential. Thank you!” – Michael Williamson

“Golf plays a big part in the Woytek family for the competitive spirit and general fellowship it provides. It is our hope that our grandson, Kaleb, not only learns to enjoy the game but also the valuable life lessons that are an inherent part of the sport.” – Brick Woytek

“I have volunteered at Pro Kids (The First Tee of San Diego). I know that the staff, volunteers, and the kids who attend the programs reflect the best of human nature found anywhere on this earth.” – Bob Hagler

“Pro Kids is such an amazing program; teaching kids the great game of golf while also teaching life skills is a brilliant approach. The organization is invaluable to our community, My agency is proud to support the program.” – Lindsey Lawson

“Your program helped my son grow into a generous man! He graduated from Harvard University with Honors and is now working on his PHD in Cancer Biology at Stanford University! Thank you Pro Kids! – Nimpa Akana

“The golfing, field trips, and activities with other peers my daughter’s age have really added to her development. We’re really grateful to Pro Kids.” – Cora Bernat

“Thank you for educating and inspiring our youth! The valuable life experiences provided by these programs truly do impact and change lives for the better.” – Kaitlin Oliveri

“I picked Pro Kids because I found a way to combine two of my passions in life – golf and giving back to my community. I’m so grateful to Pro Kids for giving me the opportunity to help make an impact in a young child’s life, and to be able to share my passion for the game with them.”  – Volunteer Joel McGranahan