Q & A with Lauren Garces

Why did you come back to the First Tee after leaving Golf for a few years?

I decided to start up golf again with the First Tee because of my close friends who had been in the Birdie class at our local chapter, and they always made it seem very fun. In addition, the people I knew had access to once in a lifetime opportunities, such as the Nature Valley Open at Pebble Beach. Madeline Zunino was my main inspiration to join the First Tee again because she was on the golf team my freshman year at Lincoln High, and she always talked about how awesome her experience was. I am so thankful to have joined this amazing organization just in time.

What was your favorite level in the First Tee and Why?

My favorite level of the First Tee is Eagle because I learn more about the core values, their meanings, and how they apply to real life. As much as I know I enjoyed Player and Par, I use what I learn each week in my leadership roles I have at home, at school, and on my sports teams I actively partake in.

What is your Favorite Core Value?

Perseverance is the most valuable 9 core value to me, because a true leader needs to be able to work through challenges. As Junior Class President at my high school, I have resorted back to perseverance to push me through the challenges. I have learned that not every event runs perfectly, and a leader needs to be able to adapt to the challenges. Perseverance has also helped me on the basketball court. This past basketball season, I was chosen to be team captain by my coach on the Girls Varsity Basketball Team at my high school. Being team captain is a very important job. For example, in a bad game, the team captain needs to be able to encourage their teammates to persevere  through the game and continue to work hard together. Working together on a team as a cohesive unit is the key to being successful. In the future, I aspire to be an even greater leader than I am now. My past and present leadership roles continue to challenge me and are preparing me for future roles that will have an even bigger impact on my community.

Don and Chris with Lauren at the Pure Insurance Championship
Don and Chris with Lauren at the Pure Insurance Championship

This was quite a year with the Life Skills Academy and Pure Insurance Pebble Beach Tournament. Can you share some of those highlights?

The Life Skills and Leadership Academy in Boise was phenomenal! I was surrounded by 90 other First Tee participants from around the country who were motivated just like I was. Not only did I form new relationships with other junior golfers, but I learned golf skills, drills, and more insight on the core values from coaches from other First Tee chapters. From the Pure Insurance, the skill level of every golfer at the tournament was unmatched. I’ve kept in touch with who I had formed relationships with at the tournament, and I’ve loved hearing about what golf was like after Pebble Beach, and even some signed to play golf in college just last month! Meeting these inspirational teens my age only pushes me harder to reach my goals in acquiring a golf scholarship in the near future.

What are your plans after High School?

In my future I aspire to have a career that relates back to athletics. I love the outdoors and I definitely enjoy the camaraderie between teammates and my coaches. My dream is to further develop my skills in golf to be a competitive student-athlete, applicable for scholarships. To do this I will keep my grades no lower than a 4.0 grade point average, continue my extracurricular activities outside of school, and complete 400 hours of community service through the “Commitment to Community” program, by the end of my Senior Year. I will work toward my dream of one day becoming a tour player in the LPGA. My backup plan is to take on a career that relates to athletics. My whole childhood revolved around extracurricular sports activities (weekly games, practices, tournaments, etc.). My interests have opened up my options from sports medicine, to sports marketing. Being involved in athletics my whole life has shaped me to become the student-athlete I am today.