Have you ever noticed at the begining and end of a round of golf, players shake hands? The sport of golf was built on the long-standing traditions of courtesy and respect between players. These are cornerstones of the game and two of The First Tee Nine Core Values that we instill in our junior golfers through our programs. Courtney Stiles, the executive director of The First Tee of the Sandhills, explains the power of a handshake.I believe that a handshake is an unspoken gesture that speaks volumes about an individual. As a businesswoman, when I am given the opportunity to shake someone’s hand, the strength of their handshake and level of eye contact sets the tone for my initial opinion of that person. A strong handshake with confident eye contact creates an immediate image of strength, professionalism and belief in oneself. Sadly, I encounter more weak handshakes over the course of a week than not. It’s both surprising and disappointing to see this because the culture I grew up in dictated that the handshake was a vital component of communication in all walks of life. The First Tee has incorporated handshakes and introductions into their weekly curriculum plan for The First Tee levels of programming. This not only shows the importance of delivery, but helps pull shy insecure participants out of their shell, creates a bridge for communication between individuals of all ages and backgrounds and sets the tone in showing respect for others. Parents, volunteers and spectators have commented that they can point out a participant of The First Tee from a crowd of young adults just by watching their demeanor and ability to communicate with another individuals. Consider this: Do you feel that young people today are doing a good job at introducing themselves to adults and advisers?
My answer is yes. It’s our intent at The First Tee to create a culture for participants to learn these behaviors and be empowered to use them outside of their visit to us on a weekly basis. Remember, the best way for a child to learn is from seeing adults do it first!