Wind Ralston: From High School Golf Player to Golf Coach


Courtesy of Wind Ralston

While on a trip to the United Kingdom, a newly college-graduated Wind Ralston stands on the St. Andrews golf course, which is regarded as the birthplace of golf in the 15th century, according to Guinness World Records.

At first glance, golf may seem like a lonely sport, as each player stands on their own in front of the tee with the vast greens before them. But at Portola High, each golf player has the warmth of coach Wind Ralston to back them up, as he weaves his passion for the sport with his love for teaching together.

Over the years, golf found its way into different facets of each stage of Ralston’s life. As a high school student, he was primarily a soccer player; however, Ralston later forged a connection with the sport through recreational golf outings with close relatives.

“My stepdad played, so he would take out all my brothers, and we would just like, go play. We played this course…it was a bunch of like par threes, like more dirt than grass. But we always had such a good time,” Ralston said. “That was always my experience. It wasn’t necessarily about how well you play. It’s more about the experience and finding it in playing golf with friends and relatives and siblings.”

Ralston later joined his high school’s junior varsity golf team as a senior. And as a college student, he worked at the Pelican Hill golf course to pay for his college expenses.

With the costliness of golf equipment and access to desirable golf courses, Ralston abstained from playing the sport for nearly ten years. It wasn’t until the years right before his teaching career that he rediscovered a love for the sport, viewing it as an opportunity to bond with his colleagues. 

Today, golf is an integral part of Ralston’s life once again. It is how he fosters connections with his student athletes.

“During my freshman and sophomore year, he was a teacher, but suddenly he was just my golf coach. I was all scared,” junior Gina Lee said. “But I think because of this year where we got to play with him more, he definitely seems more like not necessarily a teacher or like a strict coach, but someone you know, like your dad’s friend.”

For junior Kevin Lu, Ralston’s enthusiasm to help his students is translated equally in the classroom and on the golf course.

“Making sure that it’s always students first and hearing out every student – I think that’s also a great parallel between him as a teacher and him as a coach,” Lu said.

As the golf team enters its fifth year on campus, players continue to demonstrate dynamic improvements in their competitive edge, with girls’ varsity golf standings at 3-1 and boys’ varsity golf at 4-1. It is only a matter of time before the team establishes itself as a top contender in IUSD, according to Ralston.

“If I were to say, ‘What’s your dream job?’ I’m doing my dream job,” Ralston said. “That’s why I sometimes joke with you guys, like I need to come up with a new journey because I already got this dream.”