Success Stories

Learn more about what's happening with our kids, scholars and events.
The Reluctant Dreamer

The Reluctant Dreamer

Some are afforded once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Others earn them.

A few years back, Phillip Ortiz was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the forecast was not bright. That’s when Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to the Ortiz family in hopes of bringing some positivity to the situation.

“They approached me and asked what I’d like to do,” said Phillip. “But I told them I’d like to give up my spot to someone else who needed it more.”

Phillip selflessly explained that he already had his family and close friends; all he needed. He felt someone else could use the experience more.

But after being prompted to give an answer under a ‘what if?’ scenario, Phillip admitted he’d like to go to The Open Championship.

A few months passed before Phillip was surprised at Pico Rivera GC, where he volunteers his time with SCGA Junior’s Instruction program.

‘You’re going to Scotland!’ the Make-A-Wish Foundation representative exclaimed.

Despite his best efforts, Phillip’s dream was coming true.

“It didn’t really hit me until the flight over,” said Phillip. “I’m actually going to The Open. Wow.”

Zach Johnson ended up edging out Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole playoff on Monday. It was the first time Phillip had been outside of the country and it’s something he’ll never forget.

“I unfortunately didn’t get to learn the bagpipes,” said Phillip. “But maybe next time!”

We are happy to say that Phillip has fully recovered and plans to join the SCGA Junior coaching staff next year.

“I’ve enjoyed my experience so much with SCGA Junior,” says Phillip. “I just want the opportunity that I had to be afforded to as many others as possible.”

More Stories and News

The Reluctant Dreamer

Some are afforded once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Others earn them. A few years back, Phillip Ortiz was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the forecast was not bright. That’s when Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to the Ortiz family in hopes of bringing some...

read more

On A Mission To Serve

Some of you may remember one of our junior scholars with a big dream. Featured as an SCGA Hero in the Jul./Aug. 2012 issue of FORE magazine, we are thrilled to say Kenny Punyasavatsut is the same go-getter he’s always been, working diligently to achieve his dreams and...

read more

A Familiar Smile Continues to Shine

If you’re involved with SCGA Junior, you’ve seen Shani Waite’s smiling face. You’ve either seen it on scgajunior.org, on a poster, on a brochure or in person at a golf course, where the Mira Costa High School freshmen spends much of her time. For more than five years...

read more

Ol’ Reliable

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr. If we had the ability to clone an ideal volunteer, Giovanni Sandoval’s DNA would be requested for study. His willingness to lend a hand separates himself from...

read more

Challenge Accepted!

One day while practicing, SCGA Junior member Sal Hinojosa was closely watched by an influential member of his community – the Mayor of Pico Rivera. After a minute of observation, Mayor David Armenta become enamored by 15-year-old Sal and his skills on the course, who...

read more

A Coach Who’s Worn A Few Different Hats

Civil Rights activist, ground-breaking speed skater, Olympics-worthy track star, Vietnam Veteran and Wall Street trader are just a few of the bullet points on this man’s resume. Trevor Banton, SCGA Junior’s newest coach in its instruction program, has been around the...

read more

Family Tradition

For the second year in a row, a member of the Chien family will be headed to the mecca of golf for the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. Following in his sister Leigh’s footsteps, Evan will be striding around Augusta National this April after qualifying for the...

read more

SoCal Juniors Shine on the World Stage

This past August, two outstanding SCGA Junior players made the long trek across country to play at the legendary Pinehurst GC in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships. Andrew Rodriguez, 9, and Taylor Reser, 7, both earned their way into this competitive international...

read more

Alyaa Abdulghany: SoCal’s Rising Talent

SCGA Junior donors were first introduced to Alyaa Abdulghany earlier this year, when she appeared in this article in the SCGA’s FORE magazine. The Corona del Mar High School junior had just won the girls’ individual state championship, elevating her presence in the...

read more

Jamie Harada: A Shooting Star

SCGA Junior Scholar Jamie Harada of Costa Mesa, Calif., placed second in this year’s L.A. City Women’s Championship at Rancho Park GC. With its highly competitive field, the tournament proved to be an impressive feat for the young player, proving college golf has...

read more

Parks After Dark: Bringing Communities Together

Golf can change a child’s future in a community where the sound of fireworks can be mistaken for gunfire. Bringing communities together by introducing the game of golf and providing a safe haven for area youth has a way of keeping them striving and believing that they...

read more

SCGA Junior Fields Three Summer League Teams

SCGA Junior is supporting three teams participating in the San Gabriel Valley Junior Golf summer league. The Pico Rivera team is in its 4th year as a member of the league and for the first time, teams from Bell Gardens GC and Maggie Hathaway GC are also taking part....

read more

Students and Athletes

According to the NCAA, nearly 8 million students currently participate in high school sports in the United States. Of the nearly 8 million, only 480,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools. And though 480,000 will compete at NCAA schools, not all of them will receive...

read more