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The First Tee Translates Golf Discipline Into Life Skills for Young People

Nov 21, 2013

Golf Academy of America students and graduates know that values learned through golf don’t stop at the 18th hole. Interpersonal skills, self-management and goal setting are positive side effects that give golfers the tools to be impactful outside of the game. Organizations like The First Tee are passing those ideals on to kids.

The First Tee is a coaching and mentoring program with the following mission: “To impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.” It is designed for young people ages eight through 18.

The program was founded in 1997 by an impressive list of partners including Ladies Professional Golf Association, Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, United States Golf Association and Shell Oil Company. Former President George H. W. Bush was the first honorary chair and his son, former President George W. Bush is successor.

These organizations join with schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and camps to give The First Tee a presence in public facilities around the country. Open tee times are offered to participants, and nine core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment are taught at each facility.

The program, which also recognizes academic achievement, has reached 7.6 million participants in the last 16 years, surrounding children with a sense of the possible.

We’re proud to say that Golf Academy of America in Phoenix is a big part of the movement. Campus Director Tim Eberlein said that many students volunteer at The First Tee or are engaged in a federal work study program there, helping participants with their reading.

The First Tee has a presence on Golf Academy’s campus as well, speaking to the advanced teaching students every semester. Once a year, The First Tee offers its four-hour certification course to GAA students.

"Golf is about life,” Eberlein said. “If you understand and practice golf skills in your daily life, you will be successful. That’s a value we stress at Golf Academy of America, and share with The First Tee. We see great participation among students and alums.” 

If you would like to be involved in The First Tee, coaches, volunteers, donations and mentors are all welcome. Find our more about at