Arsenio Delasin Sr. started playing golf for fun, but got good out of necessity.
A native of the Philippines, Delasin had never picked up a club before settling in South San Francisco as a 38-year-old. But it wasn’t long after his arrival that the patriarch of what would become the First Family of Peninsula Golf found himself playing for high stakes.
"I had to practice because I wasn’t winning and I couldn’t afford to lose a lot of money," Delasin said with a laugh. "And within four years, I was a single-digit handicap."
From there, the foundation of the Delasin family has been built firmly in the fairway. Delasin soon became a golf instructor at Sneath Lane Golf Course in San Bruno and his four children seemingly slept with putters instead of pacifiers.
Eldest daughter Dorothy Delasin, 25, has won four times on the LPGA Tour and earned more than $2 million since turning pro in 2000. Next in line is Divina Delasin, 24, who recently appeared on the "Big Break," a reality show on the Golf Channel, and hopes to play on the Futures Tour this fall. Twenty-year-old Dodisa Delasin is gearing up for LPGA Tour qualifying school and Arsenio Jr., 17, is coming off a win in the First Flight of last week’s San Francisco Junior Golf Tournament. Believe it or not, mom Salfe doesn’t tee it up.
"We all grew up playing and started really young — Arsenio probably started when he was born," Divina Delasin said. "We’re just really in to golf."
By now, the Delasin name is well-known throughout the Bay Area. All four children have attended El Camino High School in South City (with Arsenio soon to start his senior year) and the family gathers to show support for one another as often as possible. A small gallery of Delasins followed Arsenio Jr. around the course at the city tournament and watched as he joined sisters Dorothy and Divina as winners of the event.
"Seeing my family there gave me confidence," Arsenio Jr. said. "This tournament is kind of a family tradition and we all grew up playing here [at Lincoln Park Golf Course]. I guess I had kind of a home-course advantage."
The four siblings rarely get a chance to play all together anymore, due to conflicting schedules. And despite their obvious obsession, the golf talk is typically tabled when they all convene at home in South City.
"On the golf course, we’re very supportive of each other, but at home we never talk golf," Divina Delasin said. "Except for our dad. He’s thinking golf with the Golf Channel on 24/7."
Arsenio Jr. says his dad picks up different techniques from watching pros such as Tiger Woods and passes them along to his son.
But hasthe master already taught too much to the pupils?
"I could probably hold my own on the course against the two little ones still — the older ones are too good," Arsenio Sr. said. "Although maybe not even the boy anymore. He had three eagles today from the blue tees at Crystal Springs."