First Tee continues to enhance program with updates to Ace capstone project 

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. – (Feb. 5, 2024) – For more than 25 years, First Tee has been helping kids and teens learn important life skills through golf. A lot has changed during that time, and First Tee has grown to meet the needs of children and families. The nonprofit worked with Bridgespan to evaluate its curriculum in 2019, and over the last five years, has rolled out updated branding and technology, including new apps for First Tee coaches and participants. Now, the latest step in this evolution includes revisions to the Ace Program, First Tee’s capstone project for teens. 

Thinking about the future can be intimidating, especially for teens who do not know what it holds or where to start.​ Ace is all about helping high schoolers game-plan for the future, encouraging them to use the values they developed at First Tee as they uncover their strengths, passions and priorities. 

“Growing up, I always had the general idea that I wanted to do well in school and in golf, but the thought of juggling both areas felt overwhelming,” said First Tee – Silicon Valley alumna Michelle Xie, a former collegiate golfer who now works as a software engineer. “Taking the time during the Ace program to not only define my specific goals, but also define the steps to achieve those goals made everything feel so much more attainable and under my control.” 

To achieve Ace, participants must complete four major projects centered on community service, career planning, education and golf, which are then reviewed by a national committee. The process is guided by trained coaches who mentor each Ace candidate. Participants must complete a minimum 48 hours of community service to achieve Ace, with at least half that time dedicated to a cause outside of First Tee. 

Ace was revised with feedback from First Tee chapters across the country. The most significant change includes updates to the golf project. Participants can now choose between competitive and social tracks depending on their future aspirations. One of the program’s central tenets is the belief that there is not one path to success.  

“We have been proud of the Ace Program and the many graduates we have had over the years. With these updates, we feel the program will become even more relevant and accessible to teens,” said First Tee CEO Greg McLaughlin. 

Ace is open to all First Tee high schoolers who have been involved with the organization for at least three years. It typically takes one to two years to complete.