Golf is Palmetto High senior Jasleen Chin-Sang’s favorite sport. In fact, teaching children how to play golf through First Tee of Miami is how she gained most of her 1,500 community service hours.
Chin-Sang volunteers each summer and every Sunday as a mentor and instructor at the Mel Reese Golf Course.
“I’ve been doing this since my freshman year,” she says. “I grew up in the club. When I first started playing golf, I was introduced to them.”
Her father introduced her to the game.
“We tried tennis and soccer and it didn’t work,” she says. “Golf was something I really liked. And I get to play with my dad all the time.”
Chin-Sang says she loves working with the kids because she not only teaches them the fundamentals of the sport, but also First Tee’s nine core values. They include judgment, honesty, confidence, sportsmanship, courtesy, responsibility, perseverance, respect and integrity.
“You teach them through golf, through activities,” she says. “We teach handicapped kids with the Special Olympics and inner city kids. Some of them can’t afford clubs, so we give them clubs.”
Chin-Sang and some of the other girls who volunteer at First Tee created a group called Pretty Young Tees and they work with girls.
“It is girls-only, so we can bond together and talk about things personally,” she says.
“The girls range in age from elementary school to high school. We sort of act as role models for the younger kids.”
When she plays golf for the fun of it, she usually plays at Mel Reese or at the Palmetto Golf Course.
“I play every other day and I usually volunteer for the camp, then play after with my friends,” she says.
Chin-Sang also plays on the school team. She has been ranked in the top three on the team during all four years of high school.
“We’ve gone to state all three years I’ve been on the team,” Chin-Sang says. “This year we’re really hoping to win.”
Her personal best is 63re at state, but locally she was the top golfer at districts. Previously she placed second and third. She enjoyed a very good year and made the Miami Herald’s All Miami-Dade second team.
With her help, the Palmetto the team won both the GMAC and the District Championship last year. She also plays in tournaments away from school.
“I won the Junior Honda classic at the PGA National,” she says.
Her involvement with First Tee gave her the opportunity to write an article about Palmetto High graduate Eric Compton in connection with the World Championship at Doral.
“He had three heart transplants and he survived,” she says. “He’s playing golf and he has a daughter who he loves so much, and he lives in Miami.”
At Palmetto, Chin-Sang is a member of the Student Council Cabinet. She is vice president of the National Honor Society, secretary of the English National Honor Society and a member of Mu Alpha Theta. She is a math tutor during the week and she has participated in math competitions.
Now that the college application season has arrived, she’s considering her options. She wants to attend the University of Miami, Boston University or Brown, but she is also applying to Syracuse, Northwestern and Florida. Her goal is to study medicine. She is not planning on playing golf in college, preferring instead to focus on academics.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld