Coach Enya Alaan loves how First Tee focuses ‘on the whole person’

Eyna Alaan’s favorite part of coaching at First Tee – Greater Pasadena is collaborating with her colleagues to make classes fun for kids.

“I love working with the other coaches to create games,” she said. Eyna has been coaching since 2015, and in that time, she’s gotten to see participants grow and evolve. “It’s just been amazing to see these kids progress. It’s like I’ve been there from the beginning,” she said.

Eyna herself was fresh out of high school when she began coaching at First Tee – Greater Pasadena. She was playing golf at Glendale Community College where her coach was involved with the First Tee chapter and told her about the program.

“When I was growing up, I went to golf academy where it felt like golf was everything,” she said. “If you weren’t one of the best players, you fell by the weigh side. When I started teaching at First Tee and I was learning about the curriculum, I just thought it was great that it focused on the whole person – not just their golf skills.”

Eyna has advanced to First Tee’s Level 3 coach training, which she attended last year in Portland. “A lot of people say patience is the key to coaching, but I think empathy is really important. Kids at different ages are in different places. They may not be able to grasp certain concepts yet, but you still need to be able to connect with them.”

Eyna was born in the Philippines and moved to Southern California when she was 5. Her dad encouraged her to play golf, a sport he took up to bond with his older brothers. 

Eyna’s sister attended Morehead State University on a golf scholarship and is working toward her LPGA certification. “It just really tickles my dad,” she said. “He always brags to my family. He’s so proud to have daughters that work in golf.”

Being a young female coach sometimes helps Eyna connect with participants. “There are sometimes those classes with one or two girls, and immediately they’re a little intimidated,” she said. “In high school, I had to play on boys’ team, and I didn’t have any female teammates until I was a senior and my sister joined the team as a freshman. I understand how they’re feeling, and I want to help them build confidence.”

Learn more about coaching with First Tee.