Beating the Odds: John Scott Senz

Across the country, participants from First Tee chapters are learning valuable life lessons to help them overcome obstacles. John Scott Senz is one of those success stories. The 19-year-old teen from First Tee of Contra Costa was born with cerebral palsy, but refused to let the disorder become a limiting factor in the pursuit of his dreams. Embracing the values and life skills of First Tee, like self-confidence and perseverance, John Scott is now an active competitor on the Concord High School golf team, and has experienced tremendous success at the Special Olympics, being crowned a two-time champion. In his spare time, he inspires the next generation of golfers to reach their goals and dreams by teaching golf fundamentals and life lessons at the First Tee’s junior camps. John Scott not only serves as a tremendous example of what it means to persevere, but his service to his community functions as a benchmark that others can hope to attain. John Scott is everything First Tee says you can be. See John Scott’s story in action. If you are interested in making a donation to support participants like John Scott, click here.

5 Junior Golfers from The First Tee Competing in Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

It’s an opportunity many only ever dream about: playing Augusta National Golf Club. Five of The First Tee participants have realized that dream, earning invitations to compete in the fifth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, held at the famed golf course. This year’s competition will take place on Sunday, April 1, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.

The First Tee is represented by all females at the 2018 Drive, Chip, & Putt finals:

Participant

Chapter

Division

Raylee Bosley The First Tee of Greater Houston Girls 7-9
Danica Lundgren The First Tee of Greater Austin Girls 10-11
Allyn Stephens The First Tee of Greater Houston Girls 12-13
Elise Deschaine The First Tee of Greater Portland Girls 14-15
Megha Ganne The First Tee of Metropolitan New York Girls 14-15
 
Elise Deschaine qualifies for the Drive, Chip, & Putt finals – Watch her story on Golf Channel
A joint initiative by the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development initiative open to girls and boys ages 7-15 – competing in separate divisions in four age categories. The competition focuses on the three fundamental skills employed in golf and taps the creative and competitive spirit of young golfers. Competing in the National Championship is no easy task. The road to Augusta began with local qualifying in May, June, and July, held at more than 260 sites throughout the United States. The top three scorers per venue, in each of the four age categories in separate boys and girls divisions, advanced to 50 subregional qualifiers in July and August. Two juniors in each age and gender division then competed at the regional level in September and October. The top finisher from each regional site’s age/gender divisions – a total of 80 finalists – earned a place in the National Finals, which will be broadcast live on Golf Channel.

 

Junior Golf Programs Through The First Tee

Founded by golf’s governing bodies—the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA—The First Tee has been changing the sport of golf for more than 20 years. By making the game fun, inclusive and affordable, The First Tee has introduced golf to more than 15 million kids since 1997, changing their lives along the way. More than 1,000 PGA & LPGA teaching professionals and 25,000 volunteers work together to empower and teach kids The First Tee’s Nine Core Values: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment. Find a location near you

Finding Family at The First Tee

Watch Dylan’s story on Golf Channel
Family: A group of people (related or not); often held together by bonds of devotion and shared values and goals. At The First Tee, one of our Nine Healthy Habits is family. Families are vitally important in providing the first social interactions for a young person and set the basis for future healthy relationships. And each family is unique. Eleven-year-old Dylan Clanton may not have the most traditional family setting, but it’s loving all the same. After two deaths in the family, when he was 5 and 7 years old, Dylan and his little brother, went to live with his great-grandmother, Anita. “He was a joyful, hopeful, loving little boy—even from four years old—whose dream was to be a golfer,” Anita said. “He watched Golf Channel all of the time. When he found an old golf club in a plastic bucket in the garage, he taught himself how to hit the golf ball.” She knew Dylan needed not only a place to play golf, but a community of young people and mentors. That’s when she found The First Tee of Greater Tyler. Since joining The First Tee, Dylan has added to his family: friends to practice with and quality relationships with coaches who help guide him. “From that first moment, his favorite place in the world was playing golf and going to the chapter,” Anita said. “And win or lose, his smile is continually there, just because he loves golf, loves being on a team, loves playing with his friends and loves the coaches who mentor him.”

Join a Family that Gives Back

Our mission is to help prepare kids and teens from all backgrounds for success in all areas of life. By providing a fun and safe environment, kids are able to make friends with others their age and are provided mentors in the form of our trained coaches. Get involved today! Find a Chapter

The First Tee Represented by 11 Junior Golfers Competing in Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

It’s an opportunity many only ever dream about: playing at Augusta National Golf Club. Eighty junior golfers representing 30 U.S. states and one Canadian province have realized that dream, earning invitations to Augusta National Golf Club to compete in the fourth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. This year’s competition will take place on Sunday, April 2, 2017, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament. A joint initiative by the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development initiative open to girls and boys ages 7-15 – competing in separate divisions in four age categories – focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf and tapping the creative and competitive spirit of young golfers. Competing in the National Championship is no easy task. The road to Augusta began with local qualifying in May, June, and July, held at more than 250 sites throughout the United States. The top three scorers per venue, in each of the four age categories in separate boys and girls divisions, advanced to 50 subregional qualifiers in July and August. Two juniors in each age and gender division then competed at the regional level in September. The top finisher from each regional site’s age/gender divisions – a total of 80 finalists – earned a place in the National Finals, which will be broadcast live on Golf Channel. At The First Tee we are very proud of our own 11 participants competing as finalists, including Isabella Saenz from The First Tee of Greater Houston. Rich Lerner shares her story of strength and hope that Drive Chip and Putt finalist Isabella Saenz faced when cancer struck her family, and how that now propels her in the competition.
Family strength: Drive Chip & Putt finalist, Isabella Saenz, faces life’s struggles

The First Tee Participants Competing in the 2017 Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship

Boys 7–9

Jeff Seong, The First Tee of South Puget Sound Jacob Castro, The First Tee of Greater Dallas

Boys 10–11

Braden Miller, The First Tee of Naples/Collier Liam Hartley, The First Tee of the Inland Empire

Boys 12–13

Samuel Kodak, The First Tee of Naples/Collier

Boys 14–15

Cavan Jones, The First Tee of Southeast New Mexico

Girls 7–9

Mia Herendeen, The First Tee of Greater Seattle Sirina Ganne, The First Tee of Met New York

Girls 12–13

Bella Saenz, The First Tee of Greater Houston Megha Ganne, The First Tee of Met New York Malia Schroeder, The First Tee

When Goals Become Reality: An Amazing Experience for One Junior Golfer

Derrick Ow
Derrick Ow
Why are goals important? They motivate us. They help us plan for the future. They give us purpose. They make us feel proud and satisfied when we reach them. Junior golfer Derrick Ow from The First Tee of Monterey County knows all about the importance of having dreams and goals—a life skill we teach at The First Tee. After 16 seizures at the age of two, he lost his ability to speak and doctors said he wouldn’t ever be in a “normal” classroom. As a toddler, Derrick was diagnosed with autism.
Scott Langley, an alumnus of The First Tee, celebrates with Derrik at the RBS Achievers of the Year Award banquet
As a 2014 RBS Achiever of the Year, Derrick met Scott Langley, an alumnus of The First Tee, who currently plays on the PGA TOUR.
Derrick has overcome many obstacles in his life to become the bright, confident and positive young man he is today. His journey and The First Tee’s positive impact on his life was recently highlighted in The First Tee magazine. In the story, he talks about another goal: “to be a sports broadcaster like Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner.” After the story ran this past fall, Rich Lerner read the piece and was inspired by Derrick, an Eagle-level participant who has attended The First Tee national events including the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Rich wanted to meet this determined junior golfer. This February, stars aligned and Derrick was selected to be a standard bearer during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am—where Rich happened to be commentating for Golf Channel. A surprise meetings was quickly coordinated. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience meeting one of my idols, Rich Lerner,” Derrick said. “I gained a lot of advice from him. I was truly a little kid in a candy store listening to what advice Rich told me about starting my path to greatness in sports broadcast.”
Junior golfer Derrick Ow meets idol Rich Lerner from Golf Channel
Junior golfer Derrick Ow meets idol Rich Lerner from Golf Channel
The First Tee uses the game of golf to talk to youth about important life skills like setting reachable and measurable goals. What dreams and goals does your child have? Find a chapter today and get your child involved!

Participant Jack Kane: Preparing for Pebble Beach

Jack Kane Kelly Tilghman_1Jack Kane, a participant at The First Tee of Connecticut, was happy enough just sitting on a TV set next to Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman. However, when she surprised him with the news that he would be attending the 2015 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, he was at a loss for words! Jack shares his priceless reaction to being selected for the event as well as his feelings about taking on one of the toughest and most iconic golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach. Continue reading “Participant Jack Kane: Preparing for Pebble Beach”

How Did You Spend Your Summer? Alumna Tezira Abe Was Interning at Golf Channel!

The First Tee alumna Tezira Abe
The First Tee alumna and guest blogger, Tezira Abe
Golf Channel, The First Tee’s proud media partner, has given three alumni of The First Tee a unique opportunity this summer…a 12-week internship at the Golf Channel studios in Orlando! The program allows these junior golfers to gain first-hand experience while developing work samples for their personal portfolio. Applicants are required to have been former participants of The First Tee program, enrolled as a junior or senior in college, pursuing a career in marketing, communications or journalism and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The three junior golfers that make up the class of The First Tee Golf Channel interns are: Timothy Briones, programming; Zack Waxler, marketing; and Tezira Abe, digital operations. Tezira shares how The First Tee helped prepare her for this exciting experience. Continue reading “How Did You Spend Your Summer? Alumna Tezira Abe Was Interning at Golf Channel!”

Golf Channel Gives Three Alumni Chance of a Lifetime

Golf Channel interns
Golf Channel host Damon Hack with interns (L-R): Lauren Conder, Drake Mosley and Kayla Jackson

By Chris Hybl

Golf Channel, The First Tee’s proud media partner, has given three alumni of The First Tee a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer–a 12-week summer internship at the Golf Channel studios in Orlando! The program allows these junior golfers to gain first-hand experience in their respective areas, while developing work samples for their personal portfolio.  Continue reading “Golf Channel Gives Three Alumni Chance of a Lifetime”