Imagine you’re 14 years old. You’ve just heard the 2015 PGA Championship winner introduced. You watch him step up to the tee, stripe a golf ball way down the fairway, and then turn and call your name to join him. There’s only one thing for you to do.
You step up, club in hand, take a deep breath, concentrate, and do the same thing, just like you envisioned the night before in your hotel room.
“I thought I would be nervous at first, but after the first shot at the first tee, I was good. To Wells Fargo and The First Tee, thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.”
— Kobe Narcisse
That’s how Kobe Narcisse from The First Tee of Greater New Orleans began his Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am round May 1 in Charlotte, North Carolina, with PGA TOUR star Jason Day.
The moment was impressive enough that a gallery member loudly yelled, “Go get ’em, Kobe,” seconds after impact.
The teen golfer was living a dream — playing Quail Hollow Club with Day, the PGA TOUR player of his choice (the foursome also included amateurs Doug Goodwillie and Jose Minaya) as the 2019 grand prizewinner of Wells Fargo and The First Tee’s Succeeding TogetherSM essay contest for participants of the The First Tee® youth development organization.
Narcisse is the seventh Succeeding TogetherSM contest winner to earn the honor of playing in the Wells Fargo Championship, but the first to play with Day, who was back in Charlotte to defend his 2018 Wells Fargo Championship title.
Golfing with ‘one of the game’s best’
Less than 10 minutes before their tee time, Narcisse met Day for the first time on the practice putting green. “We’ve got a long day ahead of us, man,” Day said, introducing himself and shaking Narcisse’s hand. “I look forward to getting to know you.”
Before he teed off, Narcisse said what he looked forward to the most was learning how to play better golf from one of the game’s best, so Day gave him an impromptu putting lesson on Quail Hollow Club’s difficult greens.
“Jason is very nice,” Narcisse said. “He helps you out and is very welcoming. He gave me some drills I can use to start my putts off more online and hit the ball square which will help me hole more putts.”
Before the first hole was over, Narcisse followed up his drive with another good shot from a greenside bunker — softly landing the shot on the green near the hole. He continued to play well, parring on several holes and earning appreciative claps from the gallery.
After one particularly good shot, Day grinned, and gave Narcisse one of many pats on the backs and attaboys.
“This is unique,” Day said of his Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am round with Narcisse. “This is the first time I’ve actually played with a kid from The First Tee. These are standout kids, and Kobe is a standout kid and developing nicely as a golfer.
“This is unique. This is the first time I’ve actually played with a kid from The First Tee. These are standout kids, and Kobe is a standout kid and developing nicely as a golfer."
— Jason Day
“What the First Tee teaches is pretty remarkable and, based on how the kids come out of the program, you can just obviously see the impact it’s having overall, and has had on Kobe’s life.”
Another thing Day found remarkable was Narcisse’s strength. After he hit his own tee shot on the par-4 9th hole, Day walked up to the regular tees to watch his three amateur playing partners hit their tee shots and have them analyzed in the Radar Pro-Am Experience.
After seeing the data flash on the screen — Kobe’s shot carried 262 yards in the air and rolled another 25 more for 287 yards of total distance — he read off the numbers on the screen to everyone around, and said, “especially for a 14 year-old, that’s pretty impressive.”
Narcisse’s dad, Robert, was listening along the gallery ropes and burst into a huge smile. “When a major champion says something like that about your son and one of his golf shots,” he said, “it’s a big deal. This experience is amazing. This is the most exciting thing that Kobe has done in his 14 years — other than actually being born and coming into this world.”
In addition to his parents and aunt, Narcisse was followed around the course by his best friend and fellow First Tee of Greater New Orleans chapter member, Logan Batiste, who rode in a car for nearly 10 hours with his mom to watch his friend play.
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” Batiste said. “We planned out the course before he came here and how he would play each hole, and I think he executed it well today. He hit the shots he needed to hit. Of course, the greens out here are very hard, but they are hard for everyone, and he did great. I’m very proud of him.”
Also on hand to cheer on Narcisse was Chip Patterson, executive director of The First Tee of Greater New Orleans. “You’re not going to see a smile come off of Kobe’s face for the next several weeks,” he said. “I could tell he had a wonderful time.”
Team Day finished at 8 under in the Pro-Am, capping a great day of golf and an experience Narcisse will not soon forget.
“I thought I would be nervous at first,” Narcisse said, “but after the first shot at the first tee, I was good. To Wells Fargo and The First Tee, thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.”