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“The First Tee” Grows the Game

“The First Tee” Grows the Game

“The First Tee” Grows the Game

The First Tee youth golf program continues to be a success and 2nd Swing Golf is a partner.

When The First Tee program was unveiled at a press conference in New York City’s Central Park in back in November 1997, the goal of the program was to establish 100 facilities across the country by the year 2000 to introduce young people to the game of golf and its inherent values.

2nd Swing Golf is a longtime and active participant in the program as a supplier of golf equipment trade-in services and will soon partner with the website by providing new online golf-instruction technology.

Through 2nd Swing’s agreement, customers can send pre-owned clubs to 2nd Swing Golf and choose to donate the trade-in value of the clubs to a designated chapter of The First Tee or The First Tee home office.  Chapters also can trade in donated equipment and receive a portion of the value to support their programs.

2nd Swing provides The First Tee with a process that allows golfers to make a monetary contribution by donating their used golf equipment, said Simon Kallal, CEO of 2nd Swing.

“In just 3 1/2 years, we have donated over $75,000 to The First Tee by accepting golf club donations and converting them to cash for their chapters,” according to 2nd Swing.

Chapters with questions about the program can call 612-216-5205 ext. 3, or send an email to clubdonationprogram@gmail.com.

2nd Swing Golf has donated more than $50,000 to The First Tee program.

2nd Swing Golf has donated more than $50,000 to The First Tee program.

Now, 16 years after it was founded, thanks to its partners and volunteers The First Tee has exploded into a robust youth development organization that has impacted the lives of more than nine million young people, their families and the communities that have embraced the mission of the nonprofit, according to the organization.

Multiple PGA Major champ Phil Mickelson works with The First Tee, which among its programs offers after-school lessons.

Multiple PGA Major champ Phil Mickelson works with The First Tee, which among its programs offers after-school lessons.

Just last year, The First Tee reached more than 3.6 million young people through nearly 900 programming locations, approximately 180 U.S. chapters and three international chapters. The program boasts almost 2,000 active coaches, more than 17,000 volunteers and nearly 700 PGA and LPGA professionals serving as coaches, executive directors, staff and volunteers.

In fact, many participants are receiving college scholarships and career opportunities because of their involvement with The First Tee.

“The First Tee works with experts in a variety of fields to deliver programs that are proven to have a positive influence on young people,” said Chace Breitmoser, communications and publications coordinator at The First Tee. “Each lesson is designed to be fun, interactive and engaging.

“Our coaches follow a philosophy centered on positively reinforcing a participant’s actions and ensuring a great experience,” Breitmoser said. “We have witnessed our participants excel in their golf games, build character and develop life skills to help them succeed.”

The First Tee coaches work to seamlessly weave golf and character building activities into each lesson, Breitmoser said. As a young person progresses through The First Tee’s programs, the activities and life lessons become more involved, helping them build character and become even more equipped to make good choices on and off the golf course.

The First Tee lessons are delivered through three channels:

  • Chapters delivered in traditional settings such as golf courses and driving ranges.
  • The First Tee National School Program delivered at elementary schools during physical education classes.
  • The First Tee DRIVE, which is part of after-school activities at youth serving organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club.

Young people progress through The First Tee by moving through levels that introduce new and more advanced concepts of golf and life skills. The Life Skills Experience is progressive across the PLAYer, Par, Birdie and Eagle levels or the program. For each level of certification, Life Skills Experience consists of three components: Life Skills, Golf Skills, and The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits. 

“The First Tee Nine Core Values – honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment – are infused into every aspect of The First Tee’s programs,” Breitmoser said. “The Nine Core Values cannot be taught directly, but are acquired through consistent modeling as exhibited by The First Tee coaches, staff and volunteers and the building of life skills.

The First Tee youth golf program participants display one of the nonprofit's core values.

The First Tee youth golf program participants display one of the nonprofit’s core values.

“The Life Skills Experience, delivered by trained coaches at chapters, directly teaches participants skills such as decision-making, self-management, conflict resolution and goal setting,” Breitmoser said. “These are skills that participants practice and adopt into their daily lives at home and in school.”

Golf inherently places great emphasis on values, honesty and integrity, organizers said. Unlike other sports, in golf you are your own “referee,” keeping your own score and penalizing yourself when necessary. Likewise, The First Tee teaches young people honesty and integrity, as well as respect for themselves, others and the game, they said.

PGA Tour pro Scott Langley, an Eagle-certified participant from The First Tee of The Gateway and later The First Tee of Greater St. Louis, said it’s an honor to represent the program.

“I think it’s really cool that The First Tee is getting a presence out on Tour,” Langley has said. “It’s a great organization, and it taught me a lot when I was younger.”

Langley finished third at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in March.

PGA Tour pro Scott Langley is a great success story for the nationwide youth golf nonprofit.

PGA Tour pro Scott Langley is a great success story for the nationwide youth golf nonprofit.

For now, The First Tee network is focused on building capacity to reach more young people in more communities over the next several years with a goal of 10 million additional young people from 2011 to 2017.

“Our country and our society benefit from programs like The First Tee that focus on character education,” Breitmoser said. “Instilling values like responsibility, respect and judgment carries from the classroom, to the playground, to situations with friends and into the workplace.” 

 

 

 


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