Henry F. '23 picked up his first golf club when he was seven years old. Through First Tee, a nationally recognized youth development organization that teaches youth about leadership and life skills through golf, Henry developed not only a passion for golf, but also what the sport could provide him off the course.
“First Tee was the first program I was a part of at age seven, and they were the ones that encouraged me to be a better person first, and a better golfer, and taught me how to talk with other people, and core values.”
Nearly ten years later, Henry is still swinging the club and involved in First Tee, serving on the Junior Advisory Board and as a coach. Last week, Monday September 19 -Saturday, September 24, through First Tee, he was selected as one of seventy-eight teenagers to compete in the PURE Insurance Open in Pebble Beach, California. Henry explained he had to write an essay of why he wanted to participate in the unique PGA Tour event, which pairs up First Tee students with professional golfers for a two-day tournament. To be selected, golfers are measured in both golf proficiency and life skills knowledge.
“When I was seven, the kids I looked up to were the ones that got selected and they got to play, and they came back with amazing stories,” Henry said. “And it was always something I wanted to do.”
Henry flew out to California on Monday, September 19, and had practice rounds at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill Golf Courses. He was paired up with professional golfer Carlos Franco for the tournament on Friday and Saturday.
“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking teeing off in front of a pro and there are fans that come and watch and you don't want to disappoint,” Henry said. “On the first day, specifically you could tell I was a little nervous, a little ridgid, I was swinging a little too fast. (Carlos) just told me to take a couple deep breaths and calm down a little bit.”
Henry finished the tournament with an impressive score of -6. He said beyond the course, one of the highlights was meeting the other golfers participating.
“It’s super cool hearing the stories from all the kids because they come from not only the U.S. but internationally,” Henry said. “Talking with people is something I really enjoy doing, so learning more about their backgrounds, golf, and First Tee was really interesting, and I made some great friends.”
Henry, who is in the midst of the fall golf season for Bush, had to miss one of his regular season matches to participate in the tournament. Henry, who is Bush’s #1 golfer was recently named one of twelve student-athletes as the Week 2 Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Athlete of the Week.
“The season is going great, and I am trying to do everything I can as a senior for both me and my team to be successful,” Henry said. “I work really hard to shoot the lowest scores I can, and also lift my team and encourage them. It was disappointing to miss a match because I had a streak going but playing at Pebble, playing golf that many days in a row, it feels good to really get into a groove and I want to keep it going into the next couple of matches.”
By Mary Albl, Communications Manager