2023 Annual Review

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Looking back on 2023, there is much for First Tee to celebrate and be thankful for. Our organization was established in 1997 to make golf and its inherent values more accessible to all young people. Using that mission as our North Star, our organization has made innovative changes in response to our ever-changing world. With input from First Tee’s Chapters, this work includes the updating of the First Tee curriculum, investing in technology with two new apps that better connect us with our participants and coaches, the onboarding of new partners and the modernization of our brand. Chapter participation rates are healthy and we have made great strides engaging and retaining more teens in the program.

Our mission remains as critical as ever. First Tee and Harris Poll research from 2023 shows that 85 percent of parents believe character is a lost value.

With your partnership, we look forward to embarking on First Tee’s future with a clear plan. First Tee has developed a multiyear strategic plan that formalizes our commitment to provide high-quality programs, strengthen the Chapter network and maintain a strong national brand. We will also continue to invest in youth safety through our partnership with the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

On behalf of the Board of Governors, thank you for your ongoing support of First Tee as we enable kids and teens to build the strength of character that they can take to everything they do.


Jay Monahan
Chairman, First Tee Board of Governors
Commissioner, PGA TOUR

Strategic Plan

Throughout 2023 we developed a comprehensive strategic plan that will be executed in 2024-2026. Our areas of focus:

  • Provide High-Quality Programs to Youth
  • Strengthen Chapter Leadership
  • Maintain a Strong National Brand and Network
  • Offer Participant Opportunities Beyond Chapter Programming
  • Provide Support for First Tee Programs

With these guideposts in mind, First Tee will focus its efforts on increasing teen participation, investing in ongoing education for Chapter leadership, connecting with our alumni and building awareness outside of the golf industry. We believe committing to these priorities will position us to best serve kids and families over the next 25 years.

Chapter Highlights

First Tee Chapters are important institutions in their communities, offering a growing array of opportunities for youth.

First Tee – San Francisco

The par-3 course in iconic Golden Gate Park needed a major overhaul. First Tee – San Francisco worked with acclaimed golf course architect Jay Blasi to renovate the course and make golf more accessible in the Bay Area.

First Tee – Tampa Bay

Rogers Park originally opened as a racially integrated 3-hole course in 1947. This year, First Tee – Tampa Bay opened a learning facility at the site’s new par-3 course.

First Tee – Quad Cities

First Tee – Quad Cities opened its new learning center at Highland Springs Golf Course in Rock Island, Illinois, with support from John Deere.

First Tee – Korea

Participants and staff from First Tee – Korea visited their “sister chapter,” First Tee – Greater Pasadena, making stops at the Rose Bowl, the mayor’s office and even a U.S. Open practice round.

First Tee – Central Florida

First Tee – Central Florida has a new program location at the Arnold Palmer Putting Experience, a new 9-hole facility in Orlando, Florida, modeled off the greens of the back nine at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club.

Coaches Make the Difference

From mentoring kids to ensuring their safety at First Tee program locations, we know our coaches are the most important part of the equation when it comes to First Tee’s success.
In 2023, we launched an app for coaches that allows them to easily take attendance and record notes, allowing them to focus on their participants, not paperwork.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to educate, mentor and advocate for our participants. Seeing them smile after they hit a great shot or when they tell you a story of how they used good judgment at school makes it all worthwhile.”

– Coach Jose Gonzalez,
First Tee – Greater Washington, DC

Participant Opportunities

2023 marked the 20th anniversary of the PURE Insurance Championship, which pairs PGA TOUR Champions legends with First Tee participants for a week of mentorship and competition at iconic Pebble Beach.

This year’s winners in the pro-junior boy division were Brian Gay and Brayden Casolari of First Tee – Pine Mountain in Kentucky. For Casolari, the trip marked his first time on an airplane. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recognized his victory on social media, and his hometown designated Brayden Casolari Day and put up a street sign in his honor.

“The foundation of who I have become is from my time with First Tee and my many coaches and mentors. I believe in treating people with kindness and using good judgment in all my daily activities. These traits will help me in all my future pursuits.”

– Keanu Phillips-Alberto,
First Tee – Contra Costa,
2023 PURE Insurance Championship Participant

Meet Our Scholars

In 2023, First Tee welcomed 24 Scholars to the First Tee College Scholarship Program. They are attending schools including Howard University, University of Southern California, Georgetown University and University of Pennsylvania. In total, the program now supports 70 students, with the initial class of ten preparing for graduation in 2024.

Jessica Jiao

Georgetown University
First Tee – Metropolitan New York

Jessica is a first-generation college student who will be joining BNP Paribas as an Equity Capital Markets Analyst upon graduation.

“The College Scholarship Program has had a tremendous impact on my life. First Tee opened the door to many opportunities, lessons and people that would not have been as accessible, in addition to a community of diverse and passionate peers. I want to continue staying involved with First Tee after graduating and give back as a mentor.”

Luke Boldt

Eastern Carolina University
First Tee – Coastal Carolinas

Luke studies public health on the pre-medical track with a minor in leadership studies. Following graduation, he plans to work as an EMT and join medical mission trips before embarking on medical school, where he’ll study to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon.

“If there had to be one organization I could point to that changed my life, motivated me to pursue opportunities that led to me being awarded a full-ride academic scholarship and allowed me to have life-changing experiences, it would be First Tee.”

Engaging Alumni

With millions of alumni now in the workforce, First Tee is investing in an Alumni Network which connects former participants with each other and our Chapters. The Alumni Network provides a range of benefits through our national partners, including career and networking opportunities.

In 2023, First Tee hosted regional alumni meetups in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Sacramento and Tampa.

“Part of my mission in life is to consistently give back to organizations that have poured into me. Staying in touch and seeing the impact that First Tee has on our youth continues to inspire me to strive to new heights and encourage the next generation to do bigger and better things.”

– Nnaemeka Nwankpa,
First Tee – Greater Chicago,
Investment Management Analyst, Mesirow

Ariel Brown, First Tee – Savannah

Ariel, now a teacher at the Savannah Legacy Academy, was named 2023 First Tee Teacher of the Year.

“I want the kids to remember to keep trying and never give up, because they’ll need that when they become adults and leave us.”

Jessica Kent, First Tee – Greater Seattle

Jessica holds an MBA from Rice University and is currently earning her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Previously, she spent three years in global communications at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“First Tee instilled in me the value of confidence and the importance of embracing confidence in pursuing your ambitions; the only barrier is your own hesitation.”

Norman Xiong, First Tee – San Diego

With one Korn Ferry Tour win in 2023 and another second place finish, Norman secured his first PGA TOUR card. He’s represented the U.S. at the Walker Cup and was a collegiate golf star at the University of Oregon.

Thank you!

First Tee’s Partners and Trustees provide ongoing support for our mission of empowering youth. First Tee would not be where it is today without the support of these individuals, corporations and foundations.

Founding Partners

First Tee Trustees

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