BC's Christine Wong, Titleist's Newest Brand Ambassador
Richmond Native Christine Wong Was Recently Named A Titleist Brand Ambassador - Image Courtesy Titleist/FootJoy
By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
When she has a spare moment, which doesn’t happen often in her life, Christine Wong sometimes thinks about one final run at the LPGA Tour. But then she reflects on how happy she is with her life right now and wonders why she’d want to change a thing.
“I think for the next couple of years or so I will probably just keep doing what I have been doing,” Wong says. “I feel like I am in a really good place in my life right now and it’s kind of nice.”
Nice and busy. Wong, a two-time B.C. Women’s Amateur champion who is now nearly eight years removed from a successful collegiate golf career at San Diego State University, has a lot on her plate.
For starters, she has a full-time job as program manager with KidSport BC, an organization that provides grants to families below a certain income level to allow their children to play organized sports.
Wong also teaches golf at University Golf Club in Vancouver three nights a week and on Sundays. She coaches the men’s and women’s golf teams at Langara College and she and her sister Stephanie, an assistant pro at Point Grey Golf & Country Club, volunteer their time to run British Columbia Golf’s Zone 3 & 4 Junior Girls tour.
“There are a lot of things happening, but fortunately they're not happening at the same time,” she says with a laugh. “I am pretty busy, but I give myself a couple of days off and I am able to practise or play or whatever. I have been trying to get back into a more active lifestyle so I have been working out. It is making time go by so fast. I am enjoying everything about it. It doesn’t seem as crazy as it sounds.”
Wong is particularly enjoying the teaching she is doing at University Golf Club. “With COVID people want to get into something new and what I love about teaching, especially now, is that pretty much all of the students I have been teaching are new golfers,” she says. “Many of them have never held a club, they have never been to the driving range before. I'm pretty much the first person they meet who is in the golf world. I try to say a lot of positive things about it, encourage them, just offer a lot of positive reinforcement.
“To see all the smiles on their faces, even after one lesson, gets me excited. I love that. Whether or not they are going to be in it for the long run or just during COVID, the fact I am able to help bring these people into the sport and experience what I have experienced for the last 20 years is great. I get four-year-olds into the game, I have got 65-year-olds into the game, it is honestly such a gratifying feeling for me.”
Wong completed her collegiate golf career in 2013 at San Diego State University, where the Richmond native won four individual titles and formed a close bond with her teammates and coaches. “Honestly it feels like just yesterday,” she says. “I am in close contact with pretty much my whole team and before COVID I used to go there every year just to hang out with them.”
BC Golf file photo
Christine Wong (R) Won The BC Women's Amateur Title In 2012 And Posed With Provincial Teammates Megan Osland (L) And Taylor Kim
Wong had pro golf aspirations when she graduated from college and played briefly on the Symetra Tour in 2014 with limited success before heading back home to reassess things. She took a bit of a golf break back in 2015 and 2016 before recommitting to the game.
Now 29, Wong has played some of her best golf the past couple of years while competing on the Vancouver Golf Tour. She won the 2020 PGA of BC Women’s Championship in convincing fashion at Richmond Country Club and led Canada to a strong second-place showing at the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in 2019.
Wong still enjoys the competition and hopes to earn an exemption or Monday qualify her way into this summer’s CP Canadian Women’s Open at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. She’d also like to try and qualify to play in the U.S. Women’s Open, where she made the cut as an amateur back in 2010.
Wong feels like her game is in great shape, but a full-time career as a touring pro probably isn’t in the cards. “On the women’s side, unless you are in that top five per cent, you are a little fish and not making nearly as much as the guys do. . .honestly, I am pretty content playing well now and I don’t have to grind every single day. I have my job, I can teach and play and compete here and I feel like the guys here on the VGT are pretty good and if I can somewhat keep up with them then I am pretty happy. I feel like I now have a pretty balanced life and I am able to enjoy it.”
Wong’s considerable talent and passion for the game caught the eye of Titleist, which has just signed her as a brand ambassador. Wong was recently fitted with Titleist equipment and outfitted with FootJoy shoes and apparel. “That kind of came out of the blue a little bit,” Wong says. “Last fall, I was at Northview for one of the Langara events and Derek Whipple, the Titleist fitter, was like, 'come by the range and try the new driver.' I hit a couple of drives and was like, this is awesome, and he said, 'you should be playing them.'
“The next thing I knew I got a call from the Titleist guys and they asked would you be interested in being an ambassador and I am like, what! I wasn’t expecting it. It felt like I was a priority for them and I was like, wow, this is awesome. I am being recognized for what I have done and it is kind of a cool feeling for me. I am very happy and excited about that.”
Rishi Thakker, a player development representative with Titleist’s parent company, Acushnet, said Wong is a perfect fit for Titleist. “Our ambassador program is a way for us to reach dedicated golfers, so we use the most influential golf professionals, the most influential players and those who have somewhat of a social following,” Thakker says. “And Christine really does check all those boxes and then some. She is involved at the college level and has her own private teaching and coaching business.
“The reason she was kind of a no-brainer for us is, once again, she checks all the boxes, but also has a really educated strong voice because she has been a high-performance player in the past. So with that said, it was a match made in heaven, if you will.”
image courtesy Vancouver Golf Tour (VGT)
Wong Took The 2019 Vancouver Open Women's Title
Wong has enjoyed her work with Langara’s golf teams, although competition was cut short this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. “I have been part of a (NCAA) Div 1 golf team and I know how it runs so I made the Langara program more structured than what the students were used to and even the athletics department was used to,” Wong says.
“I had scheduled practices, I had some days where you’d play, certain physical activity days. I think they were surprised to see someone try and implement so much structure into a short season for golf. Now we can’t even stand together on a putting green and and be there for hours like we used to. The players are all practising on their own and they text me once in a while and let me know what they are up to.”
Wong says her involvement in the Zone 3 & 4 Junior Girls Tour is a way for her and her sister to give something back. “Stephanie and I have made that kind of an official tour where we have tee gifts, online registration and all that stuff,” she says. “That is actually a fun tour to run for the girls. It is one of the things my sister and I do to give back to BC Golf. With all of the opportunities we got through BC Golf it doesn’t bother us to run a few events a year.”
Wong has been asked by Debbie Pyne, managing director of player development with British Columbia Golf, to appear at one of Team B.C.’s training camps this season. She is happy to oblige. “Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without golf,” Wong says. “I feel like it is a huge part of my identity.
"I am super excited by these opportunities that allow me to give back not to just golf, but sport in general. Everything I have is from the sport. And I am always open to helping Debbie out because she has helped me since I was 10 years old.”