By Sara Wright, Guest blogger, PGA TOUR
When the First Tee of Greater San Antonio first put clubs in the hands of the Diaz family about 15 years ago, there was no way to predict just how much the game would impact the family’s life.
Sara, the eldest of three children, her brother Adolfo, the middle sibling, and the youngest, Elsa, all learned to play golf with their dad through the program, but in the case of the Diaz siblings, their time with First Tee provided so much more.
While Sara was born in the U.S., she and her family moved to her mother’s native Mexico to grow up learning Spanish. About a decade later, the family returned to the U.S., with Sara, Adolfo and Elsa then needing to re-learn English. That’s where the First Tee program came in, allowing the siblings to not just learn the sport of golf, but perhaps more importantly to practice their English in a fun and supportive environment. Of course, Sara learned a lot more than that during her time in the First Tee program. She also learned important character development, goal setting, fundraising techniques, public speaking, essay writing and confidence to travel on her own.
When Sara qualified in 2008 for the prestigious Wal-Mart First Tee Open in Pebble Beach, the program’s top national opportunity, she was extremely lucky to have been paired with the legendary Tom Watson. If that wasn’t exciting enough, she was featured on the Golf Channel during the tournament and was awarded the Oroweat Healthy Minds Scholarship during a surprise press conference. She recalls that week as ‘truly unbelievable.’
In 2010, Sara was selected to be a junior reporter at the WGC-CA Championship in Doral, FL, where she worked for the first time inside of the PGA TOUR’s media center. Later in the fall, she was chosen to go to Walt Disney World in Orlando for a Future Leaders Forum. That same year, she was given another incredible opportunity to participate in a commercial with the great Jack Nicklaus for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Jupiter, FL., where she snuck in a putting lesson from the greatest golfer of all time.
After she graduated from the First Tee program as the first participant in the San Antonio chapter to complete the Ace-level certification, her opportunities with golf continued. Initially recruited to play golf at Texas A&M-Commerce, Sara progressed to the University of Richmond Division I program where she was offered a full scholarship for her Master’s degree and the opportunity compete alongside her younger sister in 2014. Needless to say, the Diaz sisters had a blast playing together – albeit for just a year – on the same team.
In 2017, she was asked to return as an alumnus to her favorite place, Pebble Beach, and share her experiences as a speaker for The First Tee Pure Insurance Legends and Leaders Dinner alongside Condoleezza Rice and Leon Panetta.
Even though Sara knew this sport would always play a huge part in her life, what she didn’t realize at the time, was that all of these experiences were preparing her for this current role at the PGA TOUR, where she now manages their multicultural marketing strategy. Hired in March 2019, she excels in positioning the TOUR brand in unexpected places and has helped produce and distribute content through a variety of different channels allowing golf to be portrayed in a new light to a larger demographic.
Sara helped in the success of the TOUR’s recently-launched Spanish Instagram page, @pgatouresp, where she hosted the eSeries Video Game Challenge in Spanish to show the behind-the-scenes of what goes on during the recording and reveal the personalities of our players in a casual setting.
Sara also had a huge part in adding to the new PGA TOUR and First Tee’s co-sponsored site, Links to Learning. With her help, this site, which was established shortly after schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide golf-centric educational material into homes, added a section for youth to learn Spanish and additionally, she worked with a team to translate the whole site to Spanish – https://www.pgatour.com/academia.html.
Most recently, Sara also had the honor of interviewing the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Jay Monahan and Harold Varner III on the return to golf and the current social injustice in our country. Check it out here: https://www.pgatour.com/video/2020/06/05/a-thoughtful-conversation-with-commissioner-monahan-and-varner-i.html
“Because of golf, I have met wonderful people from all walks of life and have opened my eyes to different lifestyles and perspectives,” she said. “I feel extremely lucky and appreciative of all the experiences the sport has provided me. I have been honored to help create awareness, address misconceptions and curate the onsite tournament experience so people from all ages, races and backgrounds can feel welcome and enjoy the sport that has been such a big part of my life.
My goal is to have multicultural initiatives interwoven into everything we do at the PGA TOUR,” Sara added. “I’m very excited for the future of this organization and how we can continue to connect with ALL of our fans!”