By Janice Llanes Fabry
At Westchester Country Club, the Lee family is golf royalty. They’ve played together here since the children were very young. All three kids have been taught by the club’s Director of Instruction, Gary Weir, and all have won club championships. The Lee’s even have a golf cart to accommodate all five of them.
“Playing sports teaches kids how to dream, how to work hard to achieve a goal, how to manage time efficiently, how to socialize, and how to deal with pressure,” noted Dr. Steven Lee, who is Chief of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital.
“All three of our kids enjoy sports, and have made wonderful friends within the golf community,” added his wife, Dr. Linda Yoon Lee, an obstetrician/gynecologist at NYU Langone Hospital.
Their three children inherited their father’s passion for the game and have played from a young age — Kaitlyn and Steven when they were 5, and Emma when she was 4.
Lest readers think the Lee family’s athletic prowess is limited to golf, read on.
They all play tennis, Linda on the A Team at Westchester Country Club. The children are nationally ranked squash players and Emma has been the number one player in the country. Steven senior and all three children are second-degree black belts in Taekwondo. When there is snow on the ground, the Lee’s head for the ski slopes, and while vacationing in warmer climes they head for the pickleball courts.
It is golf, however, that drives them.
“There’s a reason why people think it’s cliché that golf teaches so many life lessons. It’s absolutely true,” said the contemplative patriarch. “You need to understand and follow many rules, deal with the inevitable self-inflicted failures, and pick yourself back up. And you have to care just as much about a 3-foot putt as you do a 300-yard drive.”
Nineteen-year-old Kaitlyn plays golf for Yale University, where she’s on a pre-med track. Next year, Steven, 18, will be the number one golf recruit at the University of Pennsylvania; he decided to take a gap year because of the pandemic. He’d like to major in finance. Emma, 14, a freshman at Scarsdale High School, is very excited about joining the golf team. Her favorite subject is biology, but she’s not planning on following in her parents’ footsteps. “I’m not good around the sight of blood,” she explained.
Just last year, Emma won the Women’s Club Championship at Winged Foot. After having won ten tournaments in a row, she was also awarded Player of the Year at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, the largest multi-day junior golf tour in the country.
“I like challenging myself,” said Emma, who enjoys courses with “lots of hazards and trees.”
Steven, too, is a Hurricane Junior Golf Tour champion and was a Metropolitan PGA Junior quarter finalist last year. “I blew it on the 18th hole,” he shared. In addition to pursuing an internship this gap year, he’ll be playing a lot of golf.
Keen on the history of the sport, Steven’s favorite golf courses are links, which aficionados argue are a golfer’s ultimate test as a player must navigate the natural elements of the course, as opposed to a manufactured layout.
“Links have beautiful water views, they are the most traditional, and make me feel like I’m part of the history of the game,” he remarked.
At the world-famous Waterville Golf Links in Ireland, Steven and his dad won the World Invitational Father and Son Golf Tournament in 2019; the year before, Kaitlyn and her dad won the Father and Daughter Tournament.
Around the same time, Kaitlyn also won Player of the Year, as well as the Westchester Country Club Ladies’ Championship. The youngest ladies’ champ in the club’s history went on to become a Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar at Yale for outstanding academic and athletic achievement in college golf.
She is thrilled to be back on campus playing with her team. “Being on a team is what I love most about golf,” she noted. “It’s a great support system, and at the same time it’s what has propelled me to practice harder and play better.”
Kaitlyn regularly drives down from school to work with Coach Weir, who has become an extended member of the Lee family. The Scotland native and 20-year WCC coach teaches the siblings twice a week. “Gary’s a great mentor both on and off the course. He helped pave my golf career,” said Steven. Emma added, “He is a great teacher, even when I’m not in the best mood.”
Above all, what the Doctors Lee are proudest of is their children’s respectful and friendly nature. “What we hear more than anything from others is that they are good kids, good human beings.”