Teen golfer Kobe Narcisse in blue shirt and white cap holds a black Wells Fargo Championship golf shirt and plush pony. His dad, Robert, stands at left in a red golf shirt. At right is his mom, Keela, in black hat, white shirt, and pink jacket.
Kobe Narcisse, middle, with his parents, Robert Narcisse and Keela Hawkins, at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans.
Inside the Stagecoach
April 29, 2019

‘I’m a huge fan of Jason Day’

As the 2019 Succeeding TogetherSM essay contest winner, Kobe Narcisse of The First Tee of Greater New Orleans will play May 1 in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am with the PGA TOUR pro of his choice.

Kobe Narcisse, 14, believes a talk he had with his dad, Robert, three years ago is why he’ll soon be teeing it up in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the PGA TOUR’s best May 1 in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am.

Kobe Narcisse practices putting with his father Robert. The 14-year-old from Gretna, Louisiana, won the 2019 Wells Fargo Succeeding TogetherSM essay contest, a nationwide contest open to participants of The First Tee. (3:00)

“We were talking about my future, and he sat down and he looked me in the eyes and asked me what I wanted to be in life,” said Narcisse, a member of The First Tee of Greater New Orleans. “My dad told me, ‘If you want to get to where you’re at the top, you have to work harder than the next person, because others are working just as hard to achieve their goals.’ From that moment on, I began to look at life differently.”

“My goal when I play in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am is to be competitive, fun, and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.” — Kobe Narcisse

One sign of Narcisse’s determination: his entry in Wells Fargo and The First Tee’s Succeeding TogetherSM essay contest the first year he was eligible at age 14. As its 2019 grand prizewinner, he’ll play Quail Hollow Club May 1 in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am with the PGA TOUR golfer of his choice. The annual contest is open to more than 30,000 participants of the The First Tee® youth development organization and celebrates the program’s role preparing chapter members for success in life.

Narcisse’s winning essay retells the story of his 2016 talk with his dad along with his effort to start a golf team at Thomas Jefferson High School in Gretna, Louisiana, where he also plays football.

“My goal when I play in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am is to be competitive, fun, and enjoy the experience of a lifetime,” Narcisse said of his upcoming Wells Fargo Championship tee time with the pros.

A chance to play with Jason Day

Narcisse joined The First Tee of Greater New Orleans in 2011. The First Tee, which administers the Succeeding Together contest for Wells Fargo nationally across all its chapters, uses golf to build character through its Nine Core Values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment.

Kobe Narcisse kneels on a golf green behind a golf ball looking toward a hole with a flagstick in it. He wears a red and blue golf shirt, gray slacks and cap and holds a putter with his right hand.
Kobe Narcisse lines up a putt Dec. 15, 2018, during The First Tee of Greater New Orleans national tournament at Chateau Country Club in Kenner, Louisiana.

Wells Fargo created its annual Succeeding Together program for The First Tee, including the essay contest and regional events at First Tee chapters with PGA TOUR pros, as part of its community commitment to organizations creating a brighter future for youth.

Narcisse showed up April 6 at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans expecting to get a certificate and $500 for being one of the 10 Succeeding Together essayists whose compositions were selected as national finalists by judges from The First Tee, Wells Fargo, and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Instead, flanked by dozens of his friends and fellow First Tee of Greater New Orleans golfers — including national finalist Vicky Stephens (two members of the same First Tee chapter have never won before) — he accepted the top prize: a trip to Charlotte, including the Pro-Am round and the pairings party April 30 with the PGA TOUR pros when he’ll officially pick his partner.

White golf ball with the logo of The First Tee printed on it and red golf tee next to the golf ball.

Nick Carey, head of sponsorships and hospitality for Wells Fargo Marketing, led the Wells Fargo prize patrol team surprising Narcisse with the news in New Orleans. He handed him a Wells Fargo Championship hat and black golf shirt to wear during his Pro-Am round.

“We’re thrilled, and can’t wait to see you in Charlotte,” Carey told Narcisse.

“When Mr. Carey called my name, I was absolutely blown away,” Narcisse said of the moment. “The only thought going through my mind was, ‘I might get a chance to play with Tiger Woods.’ He’s the greatest golfer I’ve ever seen play the game. But I am also a huge fan of Jason Day, who I met at the 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans here. Since he did commit to the Wells Fargo Championsip to defend his 2018 title and is in the field, I am excited about the chance to play with Jason, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, and learn from him what it takes to become a better golfer.

“The best part about golf is the competitiveness, integrity, and sportsmanship, and the best part about The First Tee is the life lessons it teaches — which make you a respectful and well-rounded person — the opportunity for lifelong growth, and the chance to learn and play a great sport.”

Building character through golf

“We are proud of Kobe for his hard work and excited to see him earn an experience like he’s getting this week,” said Greg McLaughlin, president of The First Tee. “The values he has learned and demonstrated through First Tee, like responsibility and perseverance, have prepared him for playing on a national stage like the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am. Those same values will take him far beyond golf and this organization. We are grateful for the support from Wells Fargo, which allows us to provide life-changing experiences for our participants.”

“We are proud of Kobe for his hard work and excited to see him earn an experience like he’s getting this week.” — Greg McLaughlin

This will be Narcisse’s first PGA TOUR Pro-Am experience. Although his final choice won’t be official until the Pro-Am pairings party the night before his round starts, Narcisse wants to play with Woods if he is in the field. If not, he said he’d welcome the opportunity to play with Jason Day or Justin Rose, his other favorite PGA TOUR stars.
Robert Narcisse said Woods’ first Masters tournament win in 1997 is what inspired him to take his first golf lesson at the University of Maryland, and later introduce his son to the sport.

“I took Kobe to Lakewood Golf Course where young kids were being taught the game of golf,” he recalled. “I wanted to introduce him to something other than the sports kids normally played. He was a pretty good young athlete, and I knew he’d get exposed to the other sports naturally, which is exactly what happened. 

“We’ve had some great times together through golf, and are looking forward to more at the Wells Fargo Championship.”

Meet the finalists

In addition to Narcisse, three first prizewinners of the Succeeding Together contest also won trips to the Wells Fargo Championship. They are:

  • Bailey O’Donnell, 17, from The First Tee of Fort Worth (Texas)
  • Pierce Robinson, 18, from The First Tee of the Foothills (North Carolina)
  • Nadia Kimbrough, 15, from The First Tee of Indiana
Wearing a lavender shirt, blue slacks, white golf shoes, and a white hat, Bailey O’Donnell puts a ball toward a golf hole on a green framed by trees behind it. An inset photo of Bailey appear at left.
Wearing a blue golf shirt and gray pants, Pierce Robinson prepares to hit an iron shot from an elevated tee of a par-3 hole at Pebble Beach to the green below with ocean in the background. An inset photo of Pierce appears top right.
Wearing a blue shirt and white shorts, Nadia Kimbroug addresses the golf ball on the tee with her driver and looks toward a golf hole ahead. Trees are behind the green and to her right. An inset photo of Nadia is at left.
Participating in The First Tee of Fort Worth for seven years has given Bailey O'Donnell the confidence to speak to mayors, pro golfers, and other dignitaries — at events like city council meetings and award presentations — and the wisdom to know when and how to listen and learn from others. Said O'Donnell: "Confidence is not thinking too highly of yourself, but rather, it is being comfortable with who you are and accepting yourself, faults and all."
Born into a golfing family, Pierce Robinson got the chance to talk to golf legend Arnold Palmer about his game and goals in 2011 at the Wells Fargo Championship, and then again at the Masters Tournament in 2013. When putting woes threatened to derail his college golf plans, a First Tee value — perseverance — and diligent work on the greens made all the difference. He’ll be attending Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, this fall and will play on its golf team.
Nadia Kimbrough draws inspiration in golf and life from "Nammie," her beloved grandmother who, like The First Tee of Indiana, stresses honesty, integrity, hard work, and helping others. Kimbrough volunteers at food pantries when she's not golfing, and she donates part of her earnings as a forecaddie at a local golf course to a shelter for victims of domestic violence.