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The First Tee Is Good For Kids

Updated on July 25, 2007

As an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, The First Tee's purpose is to expose kids of all backgrounds to the game of golf. But The First Tee is so much more that golf. This organization strives to develop values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship while teaching the technical skills of playing golf.

Their mission says it all:

To impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

Life Skills Experience

The First Tee impacts kids' character development through their Life Skills Experience education. This is no ordinary junior golf instruction. Trained coaches instill the inherent values of the game of golf, alongside learning how to play. They show kids how these values transfer into other aspects of their lives. Key areas are learning about decision-making, goal setting, positive attitude, and respect. When kids learn how to hold a club, they also learn how to shake someone's hand.

The First Tee uses a certification process similar to scouting where participants work through different tests and levels to achieve mastery of both the game of golf and the core values of the program. While having fun, kids complete golf and life skills lessons and play rounds on a course. They are tested on life skills and basic golf skills. The objective of certification is to make sure participants have been exposed to core lesson material and have a basic grasp of the concepts and skills.

Nine Core Values

The First Tee present nine core values to kids in the context of the game of golf:

1. Honesty - Golf is unique from other sports in that players regularly call penalties on themselves.

2. Integrity - Golf is a game of honesty, etiquette and composure. You are responsible for your actions and personal conduct on the golf course.

3. Sportsmanship - You must know and abide by the rules of golf and be able to conduct yourself in a respectful manner.

4. Respect - In golf it is important to show respect for yourself, your partners, your opponents and the golf course as well as for the honor and traditions of the game.

5. Confidence - Confidence plays a key role in the level of play that you achieve. You must have confidence in your abilities every time you play.

6. Responsibility - In golf, you are responsible for yourself and your actions on the golf course. It is up to you to keep score, repair divots, rake bunkers, repair ball marks on the green and keep up with the pace of play.

7. Perseverance - To succeed in golf, you must learn to persevere through bad breaks and your own mistakes.

8. Courtesy - A round of golf should begin and end with a handshake between fellow competitors. Show courtesy toward others by remaining still and quiet while they prepare and execute a shot.

9. Judgment - Using good judgment is critical in golf. It comes into play when deciding on strategy, club selection, when to play safe and when to take a chance, the type of shot you consider executing, as well as understanding and abiding by proper etiquette.

Golf is a great sport and this program provides added value. Kids who may not be interested in more traditional team sports like soccer and baseball might enjoy golf. Check out www.thefirsttee.org to find a program in your area.

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