Classic Winners

First Tee – Silicon Valley Classic had a successful tournament at Baylands Golf Links on September 20th raising $116K!  Low Net First Place winners were Arnold Hummel and Ron Plemmons scoring Net 63. Low Gross First Place winners were Michael Kenyon and Ryan Sloane scoring Gross 66.

The real winners are all kids in need of financial assistance who will receive access to our youth development program. Donations to our chapter allow us to continue creating experiences that empower kids and teens, especially underserved youth that need to feel supported, safe and better prepared in life.  Andres Herrera and Athina Chen who spoke at the tournament are a great testament to the impact we are having.

Click here to see all the tournament winners and player photos.

We would like to extend a very special thank you to supporting Board Directors, the Baylands Staff, Emcee Dan Rusanowsky and all our Sponsors!

Presenting Co-Sponsors: SAGA Foundation and PGA TOUR Superstore;

Contributing Sponsors: Hallagan Huston Family Foundation, PwC, Johnson Lumber, Verizon:

Beverage Sponsors: Anhueser-Busch, Coca Cola, Body Armor Clos La Chance

Hole Sponsors; and all our Twosome/Foursome Sponsors that participated in the tournament, raffle and live auction.

Please contact Judy Dixon Deaton if you would like discuss sponsorship opportunities.


Meet FTSV’s New Board Members

First Tee – Silicon Valley recently added a new Director, Evan Rosenberg and 2 new Ambassadors, Tiffany Tai and Kunal Shalia, to our Board. Evan Rosenberg was attracted to FTSV because he saw the value of his experience with golf as a caddy in Long Island at age 16. It gave him access, molded him and he made connections – all similar to what FTSV does for underserved kids.  He has worked the last 10 years starting as an Intern to now VP, Private Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley in Menlo Park. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island for his BA degree and SCU Leavey Business School of Finance for his Masters.  He is married with a newborn living in Los Gatos. Evan wants to give back to the community with a program/sport he is passionate about.  For more info: Tiffany Tai recently moved to Redwood City after spending a couple years at Canva in Australia. She recently started a new job as Executive in Residence with Wing Venture Capital in Palo Alto.  She is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated from Darmouth College. The last time she lived in San Francisco was 2013 to 2015 working for CloudFlare and DropBox.  She has also spent time in New York after graduating at Deutsche Bank and then again before she left for Australia for almost 4 years at InVision.  Tiffany researched what was in the community and due to her love of sports especially golf she pursued FTSV not only as an Ambassador, but also a Volunteer Coach. She brings over 3 years of experience coaching at Harlem RBI.  For more info: Kunal Shalia was an ACE participant in FTSV’s program, played in the FT Open at Pebble Beach, and was a FTSV junior coach prior to attending UC Berkeley in 2012 where he received a BS and MS degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.  FTSV CEO, George Maxe has served as a mentor to Kunal over the years and is proud to have him be considered as our first program alumni to serve as an Ambassador. Kunal shared that FTSV has had a big impact on his life – “the life skills I learned were instrumental to my success at Berkeley and in the workforce.” and “utilizing the core principles developed my values and provided me a Go-To team that I trusted for advice.”  Kunal started his career as an Intern at Deloitte in SF and FedEx in Memphis where he worked after graduating from UC Berkeley.  He has spent the last 21/2 years at eBay in various Analyst roles, currently as Technical Product Manager, Buyer Risk.  For more info: Board Directors vote, provide planning, performance, legal and financial oversight and raise sufficient funds to ensure FTSV’s success. Board Ambassadors give advice, assist with projects, represent the organization in the community at events, help raise funds, and expand FTSV’s network throughout Silicon Valley and beyond. Click here to meet all our Board Members. Contact Judy Dixon if you have interest in learning more about a volunteer Board opportunity.
Evan Rosenberg Tiffany Tai Kunal Shalia

Be a positive role model – Be a volunteer coach!

First Tee — Silicon Valley is looking for high quality caring people that are interested in making a positive impact on youth. Volunteer coaches make the core lessons come to life by finding and using coachable moments. They also work together to make the classes fun and engaging and build a space where mentoring relationships can be formed and grow. Coaching makes a big difference. When we ask and survey our advanced participants about their experience in First Tee, them overwhelmingly credit their coaches for improving their communication skills, and their ability to overcome challenges. Additionally, they say they are appreciative of the relationships they formed and the confidence they gained from having their coach believe in them. In a national study across the First Tee network, 87% of First Tee alumni said their relationships with their coaches were meaningful and grew stronger over time. These relationships were based on empathy, high positive expectations, and advocacy (e.g., open doors and eyes to new experiences). According to our participant surveys over the last year, on average:
  • 86% said their life skills have improved.
  • 95% said their golf skills have improved.
  • 97% said their coaches made the classes fun
  • 93% said they felt part of the group.
When participants have a group of coaches who care about them and work to make learning fun, it results in increased acquired skills and positive youth development. Our surveys also reinforce the need to model character and our Nine Core Values. The majority of our surveyed participants said they learned best by doing and seeing the skills. Participants model the behaviors of their coaches, so having a positive approach and demonstrating the values that we expect makes an impact. Coaching is fulfilling and beneficial!
  • Coach Matt – “FTSV has introduced me to wonderful people and helped me form indispensable relationships. FTSV helps me better the lives of my students and myself!”
  • Coach Misa – “Coaching has given me the opportunity to strengthen my skills as a coach and learn how to navigate and create new relationships with each student and point them in the right direction to help them achieve their short and long-term goals. I am reminded every week of the inclusivity that FTSV has and am proud to be part of this organization.”
  • Coach John – “I get to see players achieve their goals for golf, school, and careers. This helps me with my personal goals in my life and to continue to persevere through my own obstacles.”
  • Coach Robby – “FTSV has become a family to me, both accepting me as who I am and encouraging me to develop further.”
  • Coach Gabby – “Coaching boosted my confidence in my communication skills and gave me a platform to be a role model for the youth.”
  • Coach Jack – “FTSV encourages personal growth and responsibility in a FUN way among friends and caring coaches in a sport that can last a lifetime.”
  • Coach Rob – “Understanding how much the juniors look up to the coaches and how much of an effect we have on their lives is impactful.”
What if I am not an expert coach or golfer? Our coaches come from all walks of life with different life and golf experiences. We provide life and golf skill training as well training on coach strategies, techniques, and on our coach philosophy. Our goal is to make sure every coach feels supported. Additionally, we have lesson plans created so everyone is working together and supporting one another in the content and delivery. There will always be a lead coach for each class coordinating the group of coaches. What is the time requirement?
  • Volunteer coaches can choose from several class options by location, day of the week and time.
  • Time commitment is 2.5 hours a day, once a week for an 8-week season. 2.5 hours include a pre-class meeting, 1.5-hour class, and a post-class debrief.
How do I get started?
  • Visit our volunteer page and click on the volunteer form.
  • Or contact Julie Donnellan at 408-508-4882 or [email protected]
  • Click here for our volunteer tri-fold for more information
  • We are accepting volunteers year-round, but to be able to coach in the next season you will need to complete the on-boarding steps by 8/15 for Fall, and 11/15 for Winter, 2/15 for Spring, and 5/15 for Summer
Join our team, learn/develop coaching skills, make a difference in the youth, and give back to the community! Please help us spread the word. The more positive and dedicated coaches, the better the program, and the more impactful it is for our youth.  

Coach Spotlight: Robby Keith New Coordinator

First Tee – Silicon Valley is thrilled by the addition of Robby Keith as a new, full-time Program Coordinator. Robby was a long-time FTSV participant who completed our program achieving Ace Certification. He attended Valley Christian High School in San Jose, then graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont with a degree in kinesiology. He has been a part-time FTSV Program Instructor ever since his high school graduation. Robby brings a wealth of knowledge of FTSV and our curriculum to his new role. “We’re looking forward to big contributions to our core staff from Robby.” said George Maxe, FTSV President & CEO. “He was a shining star as a participant who will make FTSV better and better as a full-time employee. Robby passion for FTSV and building the character of kids is contagious.” FTSV’s Program Coordinators may be either full-time or part-time. Either way, they take on the role of FTSV Program Instructors with a greater responsibility for FTSV’s program logistics. Each Program Coordinator has a focus regarding certain aspects of our program in addition to being responsible for all administrative components including registration, coach facilitation, and much much more. They play a critical part in maintaining and improving the quality of our instruction. You can learn more about our Program Coordinators by reading their bio’s on our Staff & Board page. Robby may be reached at [email protected] or 408-288-2934.

Baylands Project Moves Forward

First Tee – Silicon Valley is very pleased by the Palo Alto Parks & Recreation Commission’s unanimous decision on Tuesday, September 28th to recommend that City Council direct city staff to pursue a letter of intent or memorandum of understanding for FTSV’s proposed project at Baylands Golf Links. There are three key components of the estimated $4.3M project:
  • raising the range nets so that the short game hole may be used by the public and FTSV,
  • adding safety nets along Embarcadero Road, and
  • completing the Youth Area between the range and Embarcadero Road for FTSV to use for classes and Baylands’ golf instruction.
FTSV is endeavoring to raise the necessary funds and manage the improvement project in exchange for long-term use of the youth area and other facility spaces. There is high demand for FTSV’s program that we believe can grow to annual participation of over 1,000 class youth at Baylands and another 5,000 outreach students in Palo Alto USD, Ravenswood USD and local youth-serving organizations. Also, paving the way for FTSV participants and their families as well as all youth to enjoy Baylands on their own is an important part of FTSV’s vision. The commission’s unanimous decision is just a first step in making this mutually beneficial project – a win-win for the public and FTSV – a reality. To learn more about FTSV’s project at Baylands, contact George Maxe at [email protected] or 408-288-2937.

Thank You Classic Sponsors

First Tee – Silicon Valley is excited for the return of our Classic 2-person Best Ball Golf Tournament on Monday, September 20th at Baylands Golf Links with a 12:30pm shotgun.  The event will expand this year to include a dinner program and live auction in addition to golfers receiving 18 holes of golf, a tee prize, box lunch, raffle prizes and on-course beverages, snacks and contests. We would like to extend a very special thank you to our Presenting Co-Sponsors: SAGA Foundation and PGA TOUR Superstore; Contributing Sponsors: Hallagan Huston Family Foundation, PwC, Johnson Lumber: Beverage Sponsors: Anhueser Busch, Coca Cola and Body Armor; several Hole Sponsors; and all our Twosome/Foursome Sponsors. Presenting:

  Hole Baylands Golf Links DGDG Mazda CX-5 Hole in One D&V General Engineering Contractors Moreno & Associates, Inc. Pinnacle Bank SH Roofing & Construction StubHub Wade Financial Advisory, Inc. All Sponsors Above Supporting Board Members: Chair: Shane Oberg and Doug Moffat, Ron Hallagan, Jay Stewart, Steve Guerrero, Jr.; Steve Almassy; Merry Ayres; Frank Wilde; Ernie Moreno; Lucas Watson; Dick Budelli Jackson Thoreson and all their guests participating and supporting our fundraiser tournament. Proceeds will help us impact the lives of youth by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. We believe that all kids deserve the change to grow in a supportive environment with mentors guiding them. We are dedicated to building programs that are accessible, welcoming and as impactful as they are fun. Please contact our Development Director, Judy Dixon Deaton 408-508-4881 – [email protected]  to discuss additional sponsorship or underwriting opportunities.

Athina Achieves Ace Certification

First Tee – Silicon Valley is so proud to announce that Athina Chen achieved Ace certification. She has demonstrated an outstanding work ethic, a dedication to self-improvement, and a commitment to helping others. We are fortunate to have had her in our program for 9 years. Athina expressed how FTSV has impacted her, “Through classes and junior coaching, FTSV has taught me life skills and given me opportunities to build relationships with others. I am very grateful to have talked to so many people, and I really enjoyed going to a national opportunity where I met people of very diverse backgrounds. Overall, it was a fun experience, and I really appreciate all the participants, friends, and coaches that contributed to my First Tee experience.” “I am impressed with the number of hours and effort she put in to not only complete the Ace binder, but to complete all of her requirements throughout the First Tee curriculum. Well done, Athina! I have no doubt she will continue to use the skills learned in FTSV to help shape a better world,” stated Program Director Chris Moreno-Hunt. Athina is now part of a select and distinguished First Tee Alumni group and network which provides access to additional education, leadership, career, internship and networking opportunities. Achieving Ace certification involves meeting all 4 FTSV level (PLAYer, Par, Birdie, Eagle) requirements and completing the 4 Ace projects (Career, Golf, Education, Volunteerism) with their corresponding independent study work. Upon completion, the work is reviewed by the First Tee headquarters. Congratulations, Athina! Even though she has completed the program, she remains an active advocate and member of FTSV. This month she will be speaking at our Classic golf tournament on September 20th at Baylands Golf Links to share her FTSV experience with supporter. We thank her for being an outstanding role model for others.

Community Partner Outreach Program Re-Launch

In the coming months, we plan to slowly re-launch our Community Partner outreach program starting with 8 San Jose schools led by CORAL, an after-school program within the Catholic Charities organization. Unfortunately, COVID put a pause on our Community Partner outreach program for over a year and a half, but our staff worked hard throughout the year to create a robust resource portal for our community partners. The online portal includes varied lessons plans, best practices, and video tutorials. Our goal was to come back stronger and better support our community partners so they have the tools to be successful. We value the community that we serve and we are excited to bring FTSV life and golf skills experience to so many in the areas where golf is a relative unknown. Before the pandemic, FTSV partnered with over 15 schools, most of which were Title 1 status, meaning the majority of their students served come from low-income families. School principals, site managers, P.E. teachers, youth leaders and our FTSV staff worked together to bring our in-school program into their school or youth organization. Each lesson consisted of learning one of our Nine Core Values and a golf skill through different games set up in gyms, soccer fields, grass fields, or blacktop basketball courts. The equipment that we provided included oversized plastic clubs, tennis balls, and Velcro targets. At the conclusion of every class series, the students would take a field trip to Rancho Del Pueblo Golf Course where our coaches took them through a typical FTSV class on the driving range and putting green. To find out more about our Community Partner outreach program and to inquire about your school becoming a partner, please visit our website, contact [email protected], or call 408-508-4884.

FTSV Girl’s Golf Luau Play Day

On August 21st, First Tee – Silicon Valley welcomed our girl golfers to the Golf Luau Play Day!  Our 15 luau golfers came out ready to enjoy a day in golf paradise. The girls teamed up to play in a scramble format. Each aloha golfer wore their best leis and flower clips to feel like they were in paradise.  They had a fun and relaxing time as we played 9 holes and ended the day decorating Hawaiian-themed First Tee hats. The girls not only showcased their golf skills, but their art skills and creativity as well.  One of our golfers, Sahara, used glitter and stickers to create a bright and colorful Hawaiian landscape.  Our older participants assisted our younger players in decorating their hats. Girls Golf Play Days occur 4 times a year and are beneficial seasonal events where our female participants enjoy an all-female environment. Through golf games and activities our participants experience an environment that fosters empowerment, healthy habits, and an outlet to build positive self-esteem. Make sure to join us for the next girls golf event by visiting our youth opportunity page. Registration for the November 13th play day will open November 3rd.

FTSV Seasonal Tag Team Tournament

First Tee – Silicon Valley hosted our 2021 Tag Team Tournament at Rancho Del Pueblo Golf Course on August 21st.  A full field of thirty-six players participated in a nine-hole alternate shot format. The Tag Team is a valuable event that helps our younger participants experience a first-time tournament while allowing our older participants to play the role of a mentor and compete. The goal of our seasonal tournaments is to promote confidence, working through adversity, and experiencing teamwork in a competitive tournament format. With many participants meeting their partner for the first time, they were encouraged to learn and demonstrate their Par core lesson in meeting and greeting skills to learn interesting facts about each other and practice the skills of asking open-ended questions and listening. “This First Tee Tournament was Tag-Team where each golfer was able to play with a partner. This time I was able to become a team with my older brother Joshua and compete in the tournament. The energy and chemistry that our duo had boosted us during the game. While playing, we strategized and cracked jokes to help our game go smoothly even through the rough holes. We ended the game happy to have this golf experience together.” shared First Tee Eagle participant, Joey Jang. Congratulations to all of our participants for cooperating with their partner and utilizing their nine core values to play fast, safe, and courteously.  A big thanks to all of our volunteers who helped regulate the rules and pace of play! Here are the 2021 Tag Team Winners: First place Par level:  Kelly Zhang & Justin Guo First place Birdie level:  Elsa Hsieh & Manuel Barron First place Eagle level:  Joshua & Joey Jang Long Drive Par level:  Benjamin Hughes Long Drive Birdie level:  Casey Huchim Velazquez Long Drive Eagle level:  Joshua Jang Closest to the Pin:  Joey Jang Make sure to join us for the next season tournament by visiting our youth opportunity page. Registration for the November 13th tournament will open November 3rd.

Shivani Receives Joyce Taylor Award & $4K Scholarship at Invitational

The Joyce Taylor Eagle Award and $4,000 College Scholarship was presented to Shivani Patel at the First Tee – Silicon Valley 2021 Invitational fundraiser on Sunday, July 18th at CordeValle in San Martin, CA. Shivani was selected for consistently achieving academic excellence and exhibiting First Tee Nine Core Values and Life Skills. The purpose of the award is to provide a high school student the financial hope of attending college. For Shivani, she wants to major in bio-science. The scholarship was initiated by a very generous 9-year grant by PG&E several years ago by founding FTSV Board Director, Victor Arrañaga, Jr. Thank you to all our Invitational sponsors that help fund our programs:  The returning sponsors were: Anheuser Busch, Altria, HP, Intuit, PG&E, PhRMA, SDG&E/SEMPRA, Noteware, Pappas and the new sponsor was Uber. Shivani is a rising senior at Silver Creek High School. She joined FTSV in 2014 when she was in the 4th grade and is now a top-level ACE participant and Junior Coach.  In her speech to the Invitational attendees, she shared “I had no idea how much the organization would positively impact my life. First Tee is a place that teaches you golf, but also teaches you life skills and helps you build relationships that you will have with you for the rest of your life.” She went on to tell a story about her golf journey, “I vividly remember the first time I swung a golf club, in fact, it was at my first ever PLAYER class. I remember it feeling strange and my ball not getting far off the ground. Over time, First Tee coaches and participants guided me in turning my funky baseball-tennis-golf swing into a true golf swing. Because of them, I was able to play at many girls’ golf events and in the #1 spot for my high school’s varsity girl’s golf team. I know that without the FTSV’s support I would not have been able to make it to this point in my golf journey.” Aside from golf, Shavani stressed the importance of the relationships she has formed every season with her coaches, her peers, and other leaders. She acknowledged the coaches genuinely want to see me be the best version of myself and give me the tools and confidence to do just that. They instill core values in participants to set them on a path to be good people and great leaders.  She said, “First Tee has taught me values like perseverance and courtesy, but my favorite has to be integrity. I use integrity when keeping track of my score on the course and, especially now, when making decisions about my future. I believe self-integrity is about being true to your values and reflecting these principles through your actions.” Shavani was also selected for her active role in her high school and community. Her accomplishments include the following:
  • Varsity Swimmer at SCHS
  • Founding Member, Captain & MVP of SCHS Girls Golf Team
  • Founder & Secretary of SCHS Cognitive Science Club
  • Founder & Publicist of SCHS Girls Who Code chapter
  • Creative Commissioner of SCHS STEAM Lab Club
  • Volunteer at Kaiser-Permanente
  • Ambassador level Girl Scout
She concluded her speech by saying, “I am honored to be the one representing the First Tee of Silicon Valley with this award. Without the First Tee, I would not be the person I am today. I would not have the same skills, the same values, or have the same confidence in myself and even in those around me. I would also like to thank all those who sponsor this First Tee chapter. Your contributions and involvement impact many young lives, and for that we are thankful.” Joyce Taylor (1957–2010) was a woman known for her intelligence, warmth, and elegance. She graduated with honors (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. Joyce became a highly successful and respected business woman and community leader with a long career in telecommunications. In 1997, she was promoted to Regional President, Bay Area, and then Senior Vice President, External Affairs-Northern California, AT&T, where she oversaw legislative, governmental and external affairs activities in Northern California. Joyce worked extensively with Bay Area business and community-based organizations. Her support of the Eagles at Rancho del Pueblo junior golf program was instrumental to its growth and success. In 2005, the program became First Tee — Silicon Valley to develop the character of youth through golf throughout Santa Clara County. Joyce’s support helped to build a solid program that has reached over 81,234 youth since 2005. The Joyce Taylor Eagle Award is given annually to provide financial assistance for college to a participant who has consistently achieved academic excellence and exhibited First Tee Nine Core Values and Life Skills.

Dimarco Awarded $4K Dennis Kettmann Memorial Scholarship

The 2021 Dennis Kettmann Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Dimarco Casillas, an ACE level participant of First Tee – Silicon Valley.  Each year golfers in the Dennis Kettmann Memorial Tournament raise funds to remember Dennis. Their generosity underwrites a special $5,000 college scholarship for a FTSV chosen participant. Dennis’s son and co-organizer of the Memorial Tournament, Matt Kettmann, learned the game from Dennis and knows that he must be smiling wherever he is knowing that his memory is now helping young people with FTSV pursue their college dreams. David Henningsen, who is also a co-organizer (featured in photo) shared, “It is so wonderful to have the recipient of the “Big D” scholarship play in our tournament and speak to the supporters about how FTSV has impacted him.” FTSV met Dimarco at a DRIVE school outreach event in Fischer Middle School located in San Jose. He began our program soon after the outreach event in the Spring of 2019. After taking several certifying and skills advancement classes, he quickly progressed to our top ACE level. Dimarco has excelled in the program, absorbing and exhibiting our core values and life skills. When he began our program, he had no golf experience yet after one year he made his high school golf team! He leads by example, shows up early to each class to practice, initiates conversations with his peers and coaches, and has a welcoming and positive approach to everyone he meets. We are excited to see Dimarco reach his goals and we are committed to being on his “Go-To-Team” as he continues his character-building and collegiate journey.