Developing Leaders: Impact Beyond the Golf Course

How do youth at The First Tee grow up to be leaders and positive influences in their community? It starts with positive youth development. Developing leaders requires recognizing and enhancing young people’s strengths. That’s what The First Tee is all about. We use golf a way to create supportive and positive environments needed to build on those strengths. Through opportunities and positive mentoring relationships, youth today become leaders of tomorrow. Alumni, like 21-year-old Luke Shrestha from The First Tee of Fresno, amaze us with their talents and accomplishments. Luke shares in his own way how his chapter helped him become the person he is today.

Luke’s Leadership Journey

Luke Shrestha, alumnus, The First Tee of Fresno
When I first joined The First Tee of Fresno around the age of 10, I was a super shy kid that would be more likely to look at the ground than look someone in the eyes. I didn’t know how to introduce myself to another person properly and I hardly talked at all. I remember being skeptical of having to learn life values along with golf since I just wanted to learn about golf, but my mom signed me up anyway. After that day, every class that I went to I started to open up more and more and the shyness started to go away. After a year in the program, I could easily go up to someone and introduce myself with no problem.

Growing in Confidence

As a kid, I struggled with confidence, but The First Tee classes helped me become more confident as well. After many years in the program, I started applying to go to national academies that The First Tee offered. I got accepted to go to Kansas one year for a Life Skills & Leadership Academy, and to Virginia the next year for the College Golf Prep Academy. In both of those experiences, I met people that I still keep in contact with today and play some of the best golf courses in the country. I will always treasure those memories. Without The First Tee of Fresno, none of those life-changing experiences would have happened.

Giving Back to the Community

For a couple years during college, I coached for The First Tee. This was such a rewarding and educational experience for me to not only be able to help kids that may have been in the same situation I was in at their age, but I also learned how to teach and give back. I had to learn how create a lesson plan, deal with rambunctious children, and how to be a leader. Learning life skills, especially leadership skills, in The First Tee helped me many times and even got me a job organizing and partly leading a company.

Pursuing a Career with Courage

Today, I am in Los Angeles working fulltime as a music producer and songwriter. Through the things I learned in The First Tee, I have been able to work on platinum selling records and billboard number ones. I have been able to be in the studio with some of the biggest artists of today, and I have the confidence to know my skills and creativity are valuable. I know for a fact that without The First Tee, I would not be down in LA making music like I am now. The First Tee of Fresno not only instilled confidence in me, it also made me more driven, showed me how to go after my goals and dreams, and how to approach stressful situations. All the life lessons that I was taught as a kid, I still use today. Every session I walk into, I walk into with the same mindset I used to walk onto the golf course with. A mindset of leadership, confidence, courage, patience, perseverance and every single Nine Core Value.

Thank you so much to all my Fresno coaches for the guidance and support throughout the years. I would not be the person I am today without that guidance.


Research shows our youth development program has a lasting impact, creating better citizens and lifelong golfers in the process. Our program aims to get young people ready for life’s challenges and pursue their goals. Find a chapter in your area to get started! Our Program