By Victoria Esquivel
Having played all four years at Bonita Vista High School (BVHS), senior Emilio Batan, captain of the golf team has been awarded several medals in his games in the 2015-2016 season. Batan also plays competitively outside of school as a part of a golf program called Pro Kids First Tee of San Diego.
“I started playing golf in 2011. My uncle took me to the driving range one day and I learned [that] I liked to play golf. I felt like I was a natural at playing,” Batan said.
Since joining the Pro Kids in 2010, Batan has received a scholarship offer for college. This youth developmental program teaches between the ages of seven and 17 life skills as well as leadership skills through the sport of golf.
“The program was recommended to me from a bank teller who was a former [golf] member. I have had a lot of opportunities [since then]. They mentored me through high school and golf. The [program] teamed up with another program called Soaring Eagles where I learned about airplanes and realized that I wanted to pursue a career in aviation,” Batan said.
Batan leads the BVHS golf team with a competitive round average of 48.1 and a low nine-hole score of 43. Each hole has a par ‒ a predetermined number of strokes that a golfer has to put the ball in the hole, which in the end, they add the number of strokes all together giving the nine-hole score.
“His passion for flying and participation in the First Tee program, while maintaining excellent grades, is a true indication of his capacity to meet any new challenges he faces,” varsity golf coach Jim Goodwin said.
Goodwin, in his first year of coaching golf at Bonita Vista High, states that he never gave the captain position to Batan but was glad he took role as a leader and helped less experienced players improve their skills.
“He straightened me up a couple times and helped me a lot. I was hitting the ball all over the place then he told me to do something and now I hit it straight a lot more. He’s a great teammate and never says anything negative,” sophomore varsity player Parker Courtney said.
Courtney states that Batan is always willing to help others and always lending a hand to help his teammates improve on their game. Batan being one of the eldest and captain of the team also wishes to improve on his overall game.
“I have been able to play with professional golfers, but I would say that an even better accomplishment was when I was able to play at Cypress point golf course. The only way to play at that course is if you know a member of the club and to be a member you must be born into it,” Batan said.
Batan was able to participate because of the Pro Kids program, whom the members of Cypress point donate to. Only six of the Pro Kids go every year to play at Cypress Point which is the golf course ranked number three in the United States.
“Competition is different outside of high school, because in high school not everyone who plays is competitive where a tournament held outside of high school everyone is trying to get first place,” Batan said.
Although the competition for high school is different, Batan still practices four times a week for two hours. The golf team’s next match was this past tuesday which was a playoff game, according to Goodwin that was the team’s final match of the season.
“The season is going pretty good this year and everyone on the team is improving their game. As a captain I expect my peers to play to the best of their abilities,” Batan said.