First Tee Seattle was able to introduce and teach nearly 1,000 youth in person at golf courses in 2020, which has been a huge accomplishment and highlight for our community. However, due to a cancelled spring session, smaller class sizes, and limited capacity, many more young people were not able to participate this year. So, in May, we set out to raise the funds and begin creating and distributing “Golf at Home” kits to kids in our community. To date, we have handed out more than 300 kits, and we have another 600 on the way to local schools.
Each kit includes a custom-sized golf club and a kit bag, assembled with both practice golf balls and a traditional golf ball, putting target, activity booklet, and accessories. Each of these items was creatively sourced at the lowest cost we could find, and then put together with our most valuable resource: human power. The community has rallied behind our efforts, donating hundreds of golf clubs, and helping us assemble and distribute the kits to kids throughout King and Snohomish County.
Among those inspired by the Golf at Home kits effort was 17-year-old Brandon Bui, a long-time participant at First Tee Seattle. Brandon joined the First Tee in 2014 at the age of 10, worked his way up to the “Eagle” level in the program, earned a spot on his high school varsity golf team, and now serves as a junior volunteer coach at First Tee Seattle. Little did we know, Brandon is also an aspiring computer science expert and whiz with a 3-D printer. He noticed that each Golf at Home kit included a putting target, which looked like something he might be able to replicate with his 3-D printer at home.
Brandon got to work designing a replica of the putting target, including even the little attached flagstick. It wasn’t easy at first, and took a couple of hours to make the first few. But with some ingenuity and perseverance, Brandon dedicated his workload (and many late nights) to creating 100 perfectly crafted putting cups for the project!
We caught up with Brandon as he delivered his amazing gift to First Tee.
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Q&A with Brandon:
1) How did you get introduced to golf?
Golf has always been a part of my life, I remember going to the driving range since I was young or driving the golf cart for my dad as he played. After years of learning golf on my own I joined The First Tee in sixth grade. I didn’t get really serious about golf until after I made my high school’s golf team my freshman year. Ever since then golf has just been a big part of life.
2) What are your dreams for your future?
I plan on going to UW to study computer science and cyber security and maybe play club golf. (I actually just turned my applications in today). After college I plan to work at a big tech company and maybe start my own company.
3) Who is a role model of yours?
A big role model in my life would definitely be my dad. He is always the one that teaches me right from wrong, makes sure I use please and thank you, and address everyone by sir and ma’am. He’s also my golf buddy, whether it’s just a muni course like Jackson Park or a world class golf resort like Bandon, we always enjoy playing with each other…well, most of the time.
4) Favorite golf memory?
My favorite golf memory was when I found out I had made my high school’s varsity golf team my freshman year. The two rounds of golf I played during tryouts felt like my worst rounds ever. A few days after try-outs we had left for Oregon. I was constantly checking my emails that day, refreshing every five minutes until I saw the email. We were driving down the freeway somewhere between Seattle and Portland when I had gotten it. I opened the email… and to my surprise, I had made the team. I never felt such a sense of accomplishment before that.
Thank you Brandon.
You really are a Game Changer!