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The First Tee – Teaching kids to be WINNERS in the game of life

The First Tee – Teaching kids to be WINNERS!

| On 05, Nov 2013

Reaching at risk and disadvantaged kids and teens is not always easy. Setting up an environment to teach them valuable life and leadership skills can seem even that much harder.

The PGA TOUR & Their Partners Have A Dream… The Beginnings of The First Tee

In 1997 the World Golf Foundation launched a not-for-profit initiative where the primary aim was to create affordable access for those not previously exposed to the game of golf. Since that time, and with the support of additional partners like the PGA TOUR, the LPGA, PGA of America, the U.S. Golf Association and the Masters Tournament, this project is now known as The First Tee. Since its inception, it has broadened its focus to become a globally recognized youth development platform. A dedicated life skill training program using the principles of the game of golf as its guidepost.

How The First Tee Works…

There are three primary channels The First Tee uses to reach kids and teenagers. They have a network of over 200 chapters. There is an affiliate program was developed for youth at military installations in the U.S. as well as 20 international bases. And, last but not least, there is The First Tee National School Program where elementary age students are introduced to golf through Physical Education classes.

The First Tee... life values based on the principles of golf.

The First Tee… life values based on the principles of golf.

Not Just Another Sports Program For Teens & Kids

By providing a program based on the principles of the game of golf, The First Tee has become a successful and internationally recognized youth development organization that instills the values of integrity, respect and perseverance to its participants.

Some of the basic life skills that are taught through the program –

  • How to introduce themselves
  • How to communicate with others
  • How to set goals
  • How to manage emotions
  • How to resolve conflict

There are 9 Core Values of The First Tee –

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Perseverance
  • Integrity
  • Courtesy
  • Confidence
  • Judgment
  • Responsibility
  • Sportsmanship

Research has shown that The First Tee programs are having a positive long term impact on the lives of its participants, their families and their communities. There are countless stories to validate this fact and Winners Win will be sharing many of them with you in the future!

Through an independent longitudinal study led by Dr. Maureen Rice and the University of Minnesota, the ability and effectiveness of The First Tee to deliver on all chapters of its Life Skills Experience program was confirmed.

Here is what they found –

  • 73% of participants reported a higher confidence in themselves to do well academically
  • 82% said they felt a higher confidence in their social skills
  • 57% said the program helped them to be more confident in meeting & greeting others
  • 52% felt the program gave them a greater appreciation for diversity in others
Getting the kids into the game!

Getting the kids into the game!

The Success Story By The Numbers

Since 1997 The First Tee has had over 7.6 million participants!

There are over 14,000 actively engaged volunteers!

The First Tee National School Program is offered in 5,300+ elementary schools!

There are over 200 chapters with at least one in each of the 50 U.S. states and the list is growing!

There are currently 4 international locations with more countries in the plans!

It’s easy to understand how and why a program built around respect for self and others would be so successful. With additional focus on honesty, common courtesy, personal integrity, discipline, and etiquette, it’s hard to imagine how it could possibly fail.

By instilling valuable life skills, The First Tee is helping kids and teens to reach higher, dream bigger and become more valuable members of society. These are lessons all of us could use in our daily lives and ones that help serve as guideposts to living out the life of a WINNER!

Thanks so much for reading and if you would like to support The First Tee and the children it serves, please visit their site’s donation page here!

If you have a comment about this story, please share it with us below, we would love to hear from you! Also, if you have an inspiring story about a golfer who has persevered against the odds while chasing their dreams, let us know about it here!

Jim Bates

Sources –

The First Tee


The PGA Tour’s Together Initiative 

The First Tee – 2012 Annual Review