2021 Annual Review

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Building Game Changers

As First Tee celebrates its 25th anniversary, I am deeply proud of the impact the organization has had on young people.

With an unwavering commitment and a strong desire to further empower the young people we serve, First Tee is growing and changing in important ways. From making investments in technology to strengthen our operation and connection with young people to reinforcing the chapter network through education and training, First Tee continues to keep kids and teens at the heart of every decision we make.

There is little doubt that the world around us is changing rapidly. We are committed to First Tee’s next 25 years as we continue to provide young people from all backgrounds – especially those who are underrepresented and underserved – with programs that open their minds and doors to bigger and brighter futures.

Whether you are new to First Tee or have been involved for all 25 years – thank you for your support. We simply could not do it without you.


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

Our 2021 Impact

In 2021, 150 chapters continued their impact through programs at more than 1,400 locations. Through their dedication and commitment, participants from all walks of life had the opportunity to engage in First Tee programs, including Nancy and Ansh.

Nancy Rivera

First Tee – Silicon Valley since 2017

  • First Generation High School Student/Graduate
  • Wants to become a doctor in a bilingual healthcare clinic in her hometown of San Jose, CA
  • Attended the First Tee Leadership Summit in partnership with PGA TOUR Superstore and First Tee Innovators Forum

Ansh Rekhi

First Tee – Greater Washington, DC since 2016

  • Volunteers as a coach to teach younger kids the game of golf
  • Has a passion for STEM focused studies, specifically mathematics and engineering, and explores emerging technologies for innovative solutions
  • Attended First Tee Game Changers Academy and earned Rise Up Game Changers Award

Nancy Rivera

“As early as nine years old, I was responsible for translating medical visits for my family. These experiences and the lack of Latinx representation in the medical field to this day impacts me. I want to be the voice for those families that have not had any representation in the past. I want to be able to help families like my own truly understand their situations, translate and simplify complex terms, and make connections built on trust and understanding. Setting goals for myself is a big factor in achieving this career and representing my community within the profession. Through First Tee’s help I have learned the way to set attainable process and performance goals that keep me motivated and accountable.”

Ansh Rekhi

“The Game Changers Academy was one like no other. Being the victim of a hate crime, I spoke about the fact that Sikhs are the targets of mistaken identity, especially after the hate crime that took place on 9/11. Discussing personal experiences, I shared my cousin’s hate crime story, as well as the shooting in the Gurudawara (Sikh temple) in Wisconsin, along with the Swastika vandalized on our garage door. This speech left participants and coaches in tears, showing them that different people have faced extremely serious and scarring situations in their past. By the end of the presentation, I spoke about how grateful I was to have a loving community of players in the academy who would become my lifelong friends. Because of this privilege, I felt I belonged, regardless of my race and religion.”

College Scholarship Program

In its second year, our need and merit-based scholarship program supports 12 scholars, bringing the total to 21. This program provides financial funding, adult mentorship, professional development workshops and internship placement.

Total Applicants


States Represented


Chapters Represented

58 %

Ethnically Diverse

Class of 2021 Scholarship Recipients

Claire Alford
Santa Clara University
First Tee – Central Coast

Marion Caldwell
Dartmouth University
First Tee — Four Corners

Natalie Cao
University of Pennsylvania
First Tee — Greater Houston

Molly Castle
University of Tennessee Knoxville
First Tee — Tennessee

Malisone Chanthapanya
Texas Wesleyan University
First Tee — Fort Worth

Quincy Crawford
University of Cincinnati
First Tee — Greater Washington, DC

Josh Lendach
University of Cincinnati
First Tee — Triangle

Rebecca Jones
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
First Tee — Indiana

Meghna Mazumdar
Boston College
First Tee — Connecticut

Benjamin Nganga
University of Indiana
First Tee — Tennessee

Kaleb Palm
Florida Atlantic University
First Tee — Central Florida

Borina Sutikto
Santa Clara University
First Tee — Silicon Valley

Staying Connected

We are proud to see our alumni using the skills they learned through First Tee and applying them to their careers and everyday lives including doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers working for PwC, Gates Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Meta, and First Tee. From professional golfers to entrepreneurs and philanthropists, thousands of our alumni are making an impact each day in communities across the world.

Austin Smotherman, 28

PGA TOUR Player & First Tee — Greater Sacramento Alumnus

  • Became the third First Tee alumnus to earn a PGA TOUR
    card (behind Scott Langley and Cameron Champ)
  • Competed as a rookie on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019
  • Graduated in 2016 from Southern Methodist University
  • 2011 Recipient of the chapter’s Core Value Award
  • 2009 & 2010 Played in PURE Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee paired with Tom McKnight and Denis Watson respectively
  • Joined First Tee at 7 and remained in the program until 18
“It’s more about the life skills than the golf. That’s the foundation I grew up with. Being a good person, doing things the right way… it’s all about goal setting– having goals, how to achieve goals, being a leader, how to be a leader. It’s pretty incredible and it’s helped me to the place I am today.”

Pauline Nocon, 25

First Tee — Monterrey County Alumna

  • Works at Tesla as an environmental health and safety technician
  • Graduated from San Jose State with an Environmental Science degree and double minors in sustainability and change strategies
  • Introduced to First Tee in fourth grade at school – before then she’d only seen golf on TV
  • Born in the Philippines and immigrated with her mother at the age of 9 to join her father who had just become a US citizen
“There’s not a day that passes that I make a decision for myself that I don’t think about those things that I’ve learned from that [First Tee] program.”

Adam Addams, 33

First Tee — Greater Chicago Alumnus

  • Senior Engineer Design Tech at ComEd in Illinois
  • Still loves to play golf in his free time
  • Graduated from University of Illinois with MBA and a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering
  • 10+ Years involved with First Tee as participant and volunteer
  • In his personal life, he’s renovating his house to make it a home. Professionally, he’s working to apply his skill from his MBA into his current role.
“First Tee is a vehicle that will take you to a new life. You will be asked to reflect on subjects that aren’t normally presented to kids and First Tee will help you retain information by participation.”

Opportunities to Grow

Each year we offer exciting opportunities for teens to expand their experience and deepen their personal growth. With the help of our partners, we host a series of events for teenage participants, inspiring and equipping them during their high school years. These are often life-changing opportunities to broaden their perspectives and hone life and leadership skills that are critical for their futures. In 2021 we hosted teens from 75 chapters.

National Events


Teens Attended

56 %

Ethnically Diverse

52 %

Female Attendees