First Tee helping grow game of golf for juniors
The First Tee of the Lowcountry had their grand opening on April 23. It was a festive event with short game contests, long drive demonstration, disc golf demos, music by the band Cranford Hollow, fishing in the stocked pond, and a helicopter golf ball drop for charity. Members of the LPGA Girls Golf of Bluffton attended and had a great time.
The First Tee is part of a national program that began in 1997. The program has grown to all 50 states. Prior to this program, affordable golf for juniors was not available. The First Tee blended the game of golf with life-enhancing values and healthy choices. It presented juniors with leadership skills.
The program is designed to teach nine core values and healthy choices using the game of golf to do so. The life skills include respect, courtesy, responsibility, honesty, sportsmanship, confidence, judgment, perseverance, and integrity. Healthy choices include physical health, emotional health and social health.
First Tee director Brady Boyd has been in Hilton Head for two months and brings experience from a successful program in Tampa. "First Tee coaches are trained to create positive relationships that inspire youth to discover their potential," said Boyd. "If you want to volunteer for the First Tee you can fill out an application. We will let you know where we need help."
The First Tee of the Lowcountry has raised more than $1.5 million to build the 13-acre facility. It includes a 330-yard driving range, six par 3 holes, disc golf, a fully stocked fishing pond, and a practice putting and chipping green. The public can use the facility from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The suggested donation is $5. The First Tee attendees use the range from 4 to 6 p.m.
Programs are ongoing and new programs will be starting the week of June 12 and will be held once a week for six weeks. There will also be one-week camp programs that will be held Monday through Thursday for 2 ½ hours a day. The First Tee also uses satellite sites at Rose Hill and Eagles Pointe.
If you want to donate any golf related items to the First Tee, you can go to their website and they will tell you what kind of clubs they need. They will take any golf balls you want to donate.
We are so fortunate to have a First Tee facility in our community. It is a great way to introduce the game of golf to junior golfers. For more information, visit www.thefirstteelowcountry.org.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com