Joe Louis Barrow, Jr: What we do is not nearly as important as why we do it

During the last 16 years that I have served as Chief Executive Officer of First Tee, I have been rewarded and challenged, enlightened and impressed. But more importantly, I have been moved.

I see firsthand that everyone who is involved with First Tee is not involved because of what we do—they are involved because of why we do it.

I am often asked, “What does The First Tee do?”

What We Do

The answer to what we do is easy: First Tee is a youth development organization that uses the game of golf as a tool to introduce young people to values and life skills that are inherent in the game and can be applied both on and off the course.

Why we do it

But to truly answer the question, we must address why we do what we do.
What is our purpose? Our cause? Our belief?

What First Tee does each day serves as proof of what we believe:
Young people matter, and so do their relationships with caring adults.

We believe young people should have safe places, such as our chapters, that provide additional support so they can grow socially, emotionally and academically, all of which lead to a more promising future.

Relationships are powerful vehicles for growth. The teacher/student relationship must be strong in order for a caring, supportive learning environment to be created.

One of the best assets we have developed is First Tee Coach Philosophy. We believe positive youth development happens through a meaningful, quality relationship between the coach and participant. Young people do not care what a coach knows until they know a coach cares.

I want to thank all of you involved in First Tee. I am grateful for the widespread support of the chapters which serve as daily reminders that what we do and why we do it is so important. It’s more than a game.


Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. 
Chief Executive Officer