Gallagher Becomes Trustee of First Tee Supporting Character-Building Programs for Participants and Alumni

Gallagher’s contributions to First Tee build on a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and support for empowering young people

PONTE VEDRA, FL. and ROLLING MEADOWS, ILL., May 24, 2022 First Tee®, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, and Gallagher, a global leader in insurance, risk management and consulting services, are launching a multi-year partnership.  As a Trustee of First Tee, Gallagher’s investment will further First Tee’s ability to expand programs, especially in underserved and underrepresented chapter communities, as well as empower alumni as they pursue and grow in their careers.

“Gallagher is proud to get behind First Tee’s mission to empower children and teens through golf,” said Christopher Mead, Gallagher’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The partnership between our organizations shares The Gallagher Way core tenets of supporting, believing, acknowledging and respecting the abilities of one another. We are excited to become a First Tee Trustee and continue putting those values into action.”

The partnership is launching on the heels of First Tee – Greater Chicago’s Golf Day, a local event held at Gallagher Way adjacent to Wrigley Field. The community event provided kids and families the opportunity to experience golf and First Tee through fun, hands-on activities. First Tee – Greater Chicago will be one of several First Tee chapters to benefit from local grants provided by Gallagher.

This fall, First Tee will host an Alumni Summit presented by Gallagher in Dallas, Nov. 16-19. The Alumni Summit will bring together alumni from across the network to further their personal and professional development as they pursue their career goals and as they become leaders in their communities. Gallagher’s support will continue through 2026 with national and regional alumni opportunities happening annually. 

“With the support of partners like Gallagher, First Tee is able to further our programs that empower young people to have the self-confidence to take on new challenges and opportunities,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “The impact of this partnership will be long lasting as we’re able to extend our support to alumni as well as reach more young people in chapter communities.”

Launching in 1997, First Tee is celebrating 25 years of enabling kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By seamlessly integrating the game of golf with a life skills curriculum, First Tee creates active learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence and resilience that kids can carry to everything they do. These character education programs are offered at golf courses, schools and youth centers in all 50 states and at six international locations.

To learn more about First Tee, please visit

About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”) 
First Tee ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization that is supported by the PGA TOUR. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. In 2022, First Tee celebrates its 25th anniversary and reaching millions of youth through its network of 150 chapters, 10,000 schools and 1,700 youth centers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA, programs are delivered in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair. 

About Gallagher

Gallagher is one of the world’s largest insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting firms. As a community insurance broker and trusted local consultant, we help people and businesses move forward with confidence. With more than 39,000 people working around the globe, we’re connected to the places where we do business and to every community we call home. Managing risk with customized solutions and a full spectrum of services, helping you foster a thriving workforce, and always holding ourselves to the highest standards of ethics to help you face every challenge—that’s The Gallagher Way.



Sara Henika, First Tee  
[email protected]   

Sara Carlson, Gallagher
[email protected]

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

Many dream of competing at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament. Six First Tee participants will be in the field of 80 junior golfers who earned invitations to compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. The competition takes place the Sunday before the start of the Masters Tournament and is broadcast live by Golf Channel. 

We are proud of our six participants competing as finalists, and to watch as they apply the life skills and character values they developed during their time at First Tee as they compete on the national stage.

Meet our participants: 

Paul Ancona of First Tee – Gulf Coast

  • Paul will compete in the Boys 12-13 division at DCP.
  • He became first involved with First Tee through First Tee – Richmond at the age of eight.
  • Paul has played mini-golf with Bubba Watson, and beat him.
  • His favorite sports outside of the game of golf are football and hockey.
  • He aspires to either be a PGA TOUR player or PGA professional.

Kaylie Bae of First Tee – Greater Portland

  • Kaylie will compete in the Girls 7-9 division at DCP.
  • She has been involved with First Tee for two years.
  • She won the Drive, Chip, Putt regional qualifier at Pebble Beach, 2021 OGA Majors Tournament, and the 8-year-old division for the US Kids Golf Tour.
  • When she’s not golfing, Kaylie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, taking piano lessons and playing games.
  • She aspires to receive a scholarship to attend Oregon State, become a LPGA golfer and an artist, and own a beach house.

Lyla Hawker of First Tee – Augusta

  • Lyla will compete in the Girls 7-9 division at DCP.
  • She has been involved with First Tee for 18 months.
  • During her very first golf class at First Tee – Augusta, on her first swing, she hit a hole-in-one!
  • In all three rounds to qualify for the DCP finals, Lyla won the putting competition for her age group.
  • Her favorite sport outside of golf is tennis. Lyla enjoys musical theater, crafting, reading and rollerblading.

Jessica Hoerr of First Tee – Phoenix

  • Jessica will compete in the Girls 7-9 division at DCP.
  • She has been involved with First Tee for three years.
  • She has achieved a score of 33 for nine holes.
  • Off the course, Jessica is on an impact-level 3 gymnastics team, which involves 12 hours of practice per week.
  • She enjoys art and drawing flowers.
  • Jessica enjoys weather and would like to be a meteorologist when she grows up.

Jay Nergard of First Tee – Phoenix

  • Jay will compete in the Boys 14-15 division at DCP.
  • He has been involved with First Tee for eight years.
  • At First Tee – Phoenix, he has raised money for Birdies for Charity and participated in 100 Putt-Putt-A-Thon. Jay volunteers at the chapter as a junior coach teaching life skills and golf to younger participants.
  • Jay is a member of the robotics and aeronautics club at his high school.
  • He is a Karate black belt and enjoys playing piano.
  • Jay desires to attend a highly accredited school of engineering to study computer science and robotics.

Lincoln Trasamar of First Tee – South Dakota

  • Lincoln will compete in the Boys 7-9 division at DCP.
  • Lincoln got involved with First Tee in 2021.
  • Lincoln made his first hole in one on September 16th, 2020.
  • Lincoln enjoys playing golf and practice putting and chipping, playing basketball, watching all sports, reading, traveling, geography and watching Wheel of Fortune.
  • His family are friends with PGA TOUR Champions golfer, Jerry Kelly. Lincoln has played with him on numerous occasions.

Qualifying for the National Finals is not easy. By tapping the creative and competitive spirit of girls and boys ages 7-15, Drive, Chip and Putt provides aspiring junior golfers an opportunity to play with their peers in qualifiers around the country. The road to Augusta began with local qualifying events last summer held at more than 250 sites across the country. The top three scorers per venue advanced to 50 subregional qualifiers. Two juniors in each age and gender division then competed at the regional level. The top finisher from each regional site’s age and gender divisions – a total of 80 finalists – earned a place in the National Finals.

First Tee Celebrates 25 Years of Building Game Changers

Since launching in 1997, the youth development organization has expanded its programs and impact in all 50 states and select international locations

Next up: modernization of the program experience, a focus on teens, leveraging technology and expanding access to programs

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (February 23, 2022) − For 25 years, First Tee has used golf to teach lessons about life. This week, the youth development organization is kicking off its 25th anniversary with the first of many alumni features and a new anniversary storytelling hub on

Since launching in 1997, First Tee has grown to a network of nearly 150 chapters with programs delivered at 1,400 golf courses, 10,000 schools and 1,700 youth centers in all 50 states and select international locations, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Morocco. The impact is deep and far-reaching. In 2021, First Tee impacted more than 2.2 million kids and teens. Additionally, more than 10,000 adults are involved each year in support of First Tee’s mission, many of which have participated in First Tee’s signature positive youth development trainings. 

“There is little doubt that First Tee has grown significantly and had an indelible impact on millions of young people during the last 25 years,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “I am inspired by the dedicated leaders at our chapters, and by the volunteers, donors, team members and partners across the network who show their commitment to our mission each day.”

“We are grateful for the vision of my predecessor, Tim Finchem, and for his leadership in creating First Tee in 1997,” said Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner and Chair, First Tee Board of Governors. “Congratulations and thank you to all who have played an essential part in growing First Tee and contributing to the many transformational and inspiring stories we’ve seen over the last 25 years. Just as importantly, we’re extremely excited about the path and trajectory of the program going forward as the next chapter in First Tee begins.”

First Tee is in the midst of a multi-year re-investment to modernize and enhance the organization. It completed its first-ever brand refresh in 2020 and is underway with a robust curriculum evolution to better position the organization to reach teens and keep kids engaged in the program longer. First Tee remains committed to breaking down barriers that keep kids and families from feeling like they belong and is actively working to reach underserved and underrepresented areas of the communities our chapters serve.

Dr. Amber Hardeman is the first of several alumni to be featured in conjunction with the anniversary. Not only does Amber have an incredible work ethic and multiple degrees, but she has made it her life’s mission to support under-resourced populations with her career in medicine. Her journey can, in large part, be traced back to her time with First Tee. Joining First Tee — Greater Dallas in 2005, she gained dozens of opportunities and advanced her golf game, but more importantly, she developed her character and values that continue to guide her today.

First Tee officially launched on November 13, 1997 with an announcement in New York City’s Central Park. It all started with a vision: Make golf more accessible. It was under the leadership of former PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, with the support of the major golf organizations – Augusta National, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA – that First Tee was created.

To learn more about First Tee, its impact and future vision, please visit:

A press kit with fact sheet, alumni stories, anniversary logo, photos and video is available here.  

Charles Schwab Extends His Support of First Tee’s Character-Building Programs with New Matching Grant Program for Chapters

Phoenix, Ariz. (November 11, 2021) – As First Tee approaches the 25th anniversary milestone, Charles R. Schwab has committed transformational support through a new Charles Schwab Challenge Grant. Schwab is the Chairman and founder of the eponymous wealth management firm that has carried his name for almost five decades. The $25 million grant will provide up to a $1 match for every $2 donated to First Tee Chapters by individuals, corporations and foundations now through 2026. This Grant program will provide First Tee Chapters the opportunity to significantly grow and deepen their impact over the next several years.

“I believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow,” said Charles R. Schwab. “That’s why I am investing in First Tee. I believe in this organization’s mission and the power of the First Tee Chapters to continue changing the game for young people for years to come.”

“As we approach our 25th anniversary, it’s a great time for us to reflect on the successes of the past as well as look ahead, focusing on what is needed to leave an even greater impression on the next generation,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “This grant program is only possible because of the leadership and commitment of Charles Schwab.  We are grateful for his support and the lasting impact it will have on the young people and the communities we serve.”

Charles Schwab Grant Program benefiting First Tee Chapters kicks off this week in conjunction with the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the final event on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule. Held at Phoenix Country Club, First Tee — Phoenix participants Abi Morris and Jake Walden played alongside Charles Schwab and Phil Mickelson in the Wednesday pro-am.

L to R: Rick Wurster, President, The Charles Schwab Corporation and Head of Schwab Asset Management Solutions, Jake Walden, First Tee – Phoenix participant, World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson, Frank Herringer, Director, Charles Schwab, Charles R. Schwab, Abi Morris, First Tee – Phoenix participant.

Next year, First Tee will celebrate 25 years of providing programs that teach life skills and help kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. Impacting more than 3.7 million youth annually, programs are delivered at First Tee Chapters, schools and youth centers across the country and select international locations.

First Tee Teens Commit to Implementing Community Service Projects and Healthcare Advocacy during Innovators Forum

Earlier this month, twenty-eight First Tee participants attended the First Tee’s Innovators Forum in San Jose, California, where they participated in interactive workshops and heard from global leaders on a variety of topics including education, sustainability and healthcare advocacy. During their time there, they created a community service project plan to execute in the next eight months. First Tee Trustee, CapTech, was there to assist them in their creation of the service project through their creativity, innovation and goal development session.

Of the twenty-eight participants, two First Tee participants from Seattle and San Jose, Calif. were selected to receive a $10,000 educational stipend to support their continuing education for their intentional and innovative commitment to community service.

Austin Picinich from First Tee – Greater Seattle is a 16-year-old junior at Juanita High School. He is creating a community mural that educates visitors on the salmon life cycle and about the history of Juanita Creek, a creek where the salmon population has declined to nearly zero due to the pollution. Austin plans to partner with Urban Artworks to engage community members and provide them with a unique opportunity to become ambassadors for Juanita Creek. Ultimately, Austin desires to contribute funds to conservation groups assisting with making Juanita Creek healthy again.

Nancy Rivera from First Tee – Silicon Valley is a 17-year-old senior at University Preparatory Academy and is set to be a first-generation high school graduate. Through her service project, she plans to provide educational support for bilingual families that will be offered in accessible community areas. The workshops will be offered in Spanish and include resources on how to effectively communicate and support their child as they pursue post-secondary education, such as how to sign into school websites, how to navigate online resources, and more.

“We are proud of all of the teens that attended the First Tee Innovators Forum, and especially Austin and Nancy.” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of First Tee. “Their commitment to their communities is impressive and we look forward to watching them grow as leaders and game changers as they implement these important initiatives.”

Six additional First Tee participants are receiving $2,000 towards continuing their education, bringing the total amount awarded to $32,000.

The Innovators Forum is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to encourage and motivate participants as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. Find a chapter near you to learn more and get involved.

USGA Extends Longtime Support of First Tee

USGA IDEA grant program delivers $200K to First Tee chapters in support of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL. (Oct. 20, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has distributed $200,000 in grants across 20 First Tee chapters through the inaugural IDEA grant program – a dedicated effort to directly empower inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts at the local golf level.

The program was created this year to address the barriers that underserved and underrepresented youths face in their potential introduction to and participation in golf and First Tee’s character-building programs. Grants range from $20,000 to $7,500 and support initiatives including transportation for youths to get to and from First Tee program locations as well as recruitment and training of diverse staff and coaches.

“We have a commitment as an organization to be an impactful partner to those in the industry who share our vision for what we want golf’s future to look like,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Both the USGA and First Tee believe that golf is a better game now and in the future when it’s accessible and representative of everyone, and it starts at the junior level.”

“The USGA’s support is a game changer for youths in the communities that we serve,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “With these grants, our chapters are opening the door to even more youth, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, to explore the possibilities in golf and beyond as they build their character and life lessons through the game.”

Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $33 million among First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt programs in an effort to provide greater access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game. The commitment is part of a $1.3 million annual investment the organization makes in national programs that reach young people, fueled by revenue from the U.S. Open.

Grant applications were available to First Tee chapters located within the 14 markets where USGA championships took place in 2021 and where they are scheduled in 2022, as well as chapters affiliated with one of the association’s 59 Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). Located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, AGAs serve millions of golfers at the recreational level by increasing engagement and participation and improving the golfer experience.

The 2021 grant recipients include:

First Tee ChapterUSGA Championship Host Communities and Supporting USGA Allied Golf Associations
First Tee — Central Carolina2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Coachella ValleySouthern California Golf Association
First Tee — Connecticut2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, Connecticut State Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Baltimore                                                   2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — Greater CharlestonCarolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Cincinnati & Northern KentuckyGreater Cincinnati Golf Association
First Tee — Greater PasadenaSouthern California Golf Association
First Tee — Greater PhiladelphiaGolf Association of Philadelphia  
First Tee — Greater Washington, DC2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — HawaiiHawaii State Golf Association  
First Tee — LouisvilleKentucky Golf Association
First Tee — Metropolitan New York  2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Metropolitan Golf Association
First Tee — Omaha2021 U.S. Senior Open, Nebraska Golf Association
First Tee — Pittsburgh  2021 U.S. Amateur, Western Pennsylvania Golf Association
First Tee — San Diego2021 U.S. Open, Southern California Golf Association
First Tee — Sandhills2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Silicon Valley2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Northern California Golf Association
First Tee — Upstate South CarolinaCarolinas Golf Association
First Tee — West Michigan2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, Golf Association of Michigan
First Tee — West VirginiaWest Virginia Golf Association

WHOOP and First Tee Announce Multi-Year Partnership

WHOOP contributions to First Tee build on shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and support for empowering youth through golf

BOSTON, October 8, 2021 WHOOP, the human performance company, and First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, announced a multi-year partnership that will support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across First Tee’s network as well as support First Tee — Massachusetts with transportation and equipment needs for participants.

“First Tee empowers children and teens with self-confidence and resilience through the game of golf.” said WHOOP Founder and CEO Will Ahmed. “The organization’s focus aligns with the WHOOP mission to unlock human performance. We’re honored to support First Tee as it creates such transformational experiences for kids.”

First Tee began in 1997 and has been proven to have a lasting impact beyond skills learned on the course. After joining a First Tee chapter, program participants demonstrate their ability to transfer life skills, such as problem solving, goal setting and self-management, to school and life. Today, First Tee reaches more than 3.7 million youth ages 5-18 annually across 1,200 programming locations, over 9,000 schools and over 1,300 youth-serving locations, empowering participants to build their confidence to take on new challenges and opportunities.

“We are grateful for partners like WHOOP who share our values and passion for empowering youth through golf,” said First Tee CEO Greg McLaughlin. “With support of our dedicated partners, we are expanding our reach, especially inviting those who are in underserved communities to have access to programs and new opportunities.”

In addition to supporting First Tee nationally and First Tee — Massachusetts, WHOOP has made its industry-leading wearable technology available at a discount to over 20,000 First Tee volunteers so they may optimize their health and wellness goals on and off the course.

For WHOOP, this new partnership with First Tee builds on the company’s established connection to the sport of golf. WHOOP is the official fitness wearable of the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour and is currently worn by top golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Nelly and Jess Korda. Howard University Athletics also named WHOOP as the official performance partner for their women’s and men’s golf teams’ inaugural season. This new commitment to First Tee allows even more athletes and students to benefit from the organization’s programming and aligns with the WHOOP mission to unlock human potential.

To learn more about First Tee, please visit

81 First Tee Teens from Across the Country Experience Week of a Lifetime at PURE Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee at Pebble Beach

Teens from Monterey, Calif. and Baltimore win Pro-Junior Titles

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2021) – First Tee teens from across the country had the opportunity to learn from the game’s legends and explore possibilities in golf and beyond during the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee, which concluded today at Pebble Beach.  An official PGA TOUR Champions event, the participants are paired with PGA TOUR Champions players providing life-changing mentoring opportunities for the teens.

Colin Vineberg from First Tee – Greater Baltimore, paired with Rocco Mediate, and Sydney Craven from First Tee – Monterey County, paired with Tim Petrovic, claimed the male and female Pro-Junior titles today, respectively. Vineberg and Mediate finished 23-under, while Craven and Petrovic capped off the event 26-under.

First Tee is a national youth development program that empowers young people build character and life skills through the game of golf. The event, in its 18th year, brings 81 teens from First Tee chapters nationwide to Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill. Throughout the week the teens apply the life and leadership skills learned from First Tee programs as they compete on the national stage. The annual event, hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, was televised internationally on Golf Channel.

Caption: Colin Vineberg, First Tee – Greater Baltimore, Sydney Craven, First Tee – Monterey County with First Tee CEO Greg McLaughlin

“We are proud of all the teens who played with confidence and composure this week at the PURE Insurance Championship,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “These young people exemplify the character and values we instill through the First Tee programs every day. A special congratulations to Colin and Sydney for winning the Pro-Junior titles. Thank you to our partners – PURE Insurance, PGA TOUR Champions, Chevron, Monterey Peninsula Foundation and Golf Channel – for making this a special week for 81 First Tee participants.”

Craven is an 18-year-old senior from Monterey County where she has a 3.8 GPA at Robert Louis Stevenson School. She is an active member of Student Council and the Interact Club. Involved with First Tee – Monterey County for nine years, she holds an 8 handicap and credits the program for developing life skills and a deeper appreciation of values, such as responsibility, that will help her become a leader. She aspires to play collegiate golf and one day on the LPGA Tour.

“I am so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity,” said Craven. “Thank you to PURE Insurance and First Tee for this experience. I’ve learned so many life lessons this week playing with the professionals that I will take with me beyond the golf course.”

Vineberg is a 16-year-old junior from Sparks, MD where he has a 3.7 GPA at St. Paul’s School. He has been involved with First Tee – Greater Baltimore for 10 years and is a game changer in his community volunteering with many organizations, from serving food to the homeless to mentoring younger junior golfers. Vineberg holds a 2 handicap and aspires to play collegiate golf.

“This week has been a once-in-lifetime experience. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and so thankful for First Tee for helping me build my confidence to play an iconic course like Pebble Beach with legends of the game. I hope I can make a difference in the lives of others like First Tee has had in my life. Thank you to PURE Insurance for the amazing opportunity.”

During the week, First Tee partners PURE Insurance and Chevron both hosted events to celebrate their commitment to First Tee’s mission and raise additional funds to support the First Tee College Scholarship Program. The program pairs Scholars with a mentor and provides professional development workshops and financial assistance throughout the college experience.

First Tee is a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. The PURE Insurance Championship is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to encourage and motivate participants as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities.

Photos from the event are available here. For more information on the tournament, visit To learn more about First Tee and see the full field list, visit

First Tee – Los Angeles to Launch Programs Spring 2022

Youth from the after-school program Beyond the Bell enjoyed a kickoff clinic featuring Korn Ferry Tour player and First Tee alumnus Chase Johnson yesterday

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Sept. 14, 2021) – First Tee, a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, will begin offering programs to Los Angeles-area youth in Spring 2022. More than 50 kids participated in a kick-off event at Chester Washington Golf Course featuring Korn Ferry Tour player and First Tee alumnus Chase Johnson. [Photos and broll are available here.]

“Los Angeles is such an important community, and we are pleased with the progress underway to relaunch our programs next spring,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “As evidenced by the young people who attended yesterday’s event, we feel confident that we will open doors and make an impact on the youth we serve here. Special thanks to Chase for participating in the event and ESPN for their support.”

“Because of First Tee I’ve had all the opportunities to play collegiate golf, get to the Korn Ferry Tour and prepare to go to the PGA TOUR,” Chase said. “Anything is possible with the support of caring mentors and role models like the First Tee coaches I had growing up at First Tee — Akron, whether it’s playing golf at the professional level and pursing a professional career.”

First Tee is a national youth development organization with approximately 150 chapters nationwide and in select international locations. The program is delivered at golf courses, in schools and through after-school partnerships, and is designed to empower youth to build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that they can carry to everything that they do, including school.

First Tee — Los Angeles will begin offering programs next spring at golf courses in South L.A. and will expand throughout Los Angeles County in the coming years. Coaches will partake in First Tee’s coach training program, which is built on research-proven methods of positive youth development and will provide them with the tools to make kids feel safe, included and empowered.

Beyond programs offered locally, participants who advance through the program will be eligible to apply for national participant opportunities hosted by First Tee Headquarters. From being mentored by PGA TOUR Champions players at Pebble Beach to a College Scholarship Program that provides support through personal and professional development workshops and mentorship, the national opportunities invite high school students to expand horizons, meet new people and open the doors to new experiences as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities.

The announcement was made yesterday during a kick-off clinic held at Chester Washington Golf Course. Sponsored by ESPN, a First Tee Trustee, Johnson hosted the clinic for 50 youth from Beyond the Bell, an after-school program focused on providing high quality, safe and supervised programs for students in Los Angeles. The students, many of whom have not played the game of golf, had hands-on opportunities to swing a golf club in a setting that empowers them to embrace challenge and try something new.

Photos and broll from the clinic are available here. For more information on First Tee, visit

First Tee and John Deere Host 24 Teens for the Drive Your Future Academy

The national, all-girls’ professional development event is being held in Detroit, September 3-6

Detroit – (Sept. 3) – Twenty-four teens from First Tee chapters across the country are attending the John Deere Drive Your Future Academy this week in Detroit. Held Sept. 3-6, the academic, career and leadership development academy is hosted by First Tee and John Deere. During the event, the girls will explore topics that will help them prepare for the future including volunteerism, teamwork and remaining active in the game of golf. The curriculum will come to life through interactive workshops and team-building activities such as a community service project and golf outing. In addition, the girls will attend the Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio. “John Deere is proud to support the Drive Your Future Academy and congratulates the 24 girls who have earned this opportunity,” said John Watson, John Deere relationship manager of First Tee. “We know this experience will position them to build upon an already strong foundation and be positioned for great things going forward.” The teens were selected for the Drive Your Future Academy through a national application process that scored applicants based on essays, letters of recommendation, and involvement in First Tee and other activities. First Tee is a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. The John Deere Drive Your Future Academy is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to encourage and motivate participants as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. For more information, visit

First Tee and Southern Company present ‘Game Changers Pavilion’ at TOUR Championship

Kids and families invited to interactive experience inspired by First Tee’s mission at Southern Company’s SO COOL Zone, Sept. 1-5

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL. & ATLANTA, GA. – First Tee Game Changers Pavilion, an interactive experience inspired by First Tee’s mission to empower young people to become game changers in their communities, will debut at the 2021 TOUR Championship, Sept. 1-5, in Southern Company’s SO COOL Zone.

First Tee Game Changers Pavilion is being made possible by Southern Company, First Tee’s Education Patron, which has helped expand the First Tee School Program to communities across the country since 2012.

The 1,200 square-foot air-conditioned space will bring to life what it means to be a game changer and help connect youth attending the tournament to the excitement and personal impact associated with golf and First Tee programs offered throughout the country.  

Highlights of the immersive experience include an “Aim for Greatness” digital video board and “Make an Impact” paint wall that will provide hands-on opportunities to swing a golf club in a setting that empowers kids to embrace challenge and work together to make something beautiful.

Attendees will also be able take a photo in a life-size replica of the First Tee logo. The logo, a metaphor for growth guidance, prompts visitors to think about role models who have played an important part in their growth journey and to tag them in their social media posts. Kids are invited to top their visit off with a SO COOL snow cone.  Daily sweepstakes with prizes ranging from golf apparel and junior golf sets from First Tee partners including Adidas Golf, Bridgestone Golf, FootJoy and GolfGen will be given away daily.

“We look forward to welcoming kids and families to the Game Changers Pavilion to experience what it means to be a game changer and how we are empowering youth through golf,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “Thanks to the support of our long-time partner Southern Company, we are excited to feature the First Tee on a national stage like the TOUR Championship.” 

With the tournament welcoming fans back to East Lake Golf Club this year, the TOUR Championship has reinstated its Youth Ticket Program, which allows for two (2) youth ages 15 and under per ticketed adult to be admitted free of charge to watch the PGA TOUR’s best players compete for the FedExCup.

On Thursday morning of the tournament, the HOPE Tee Shot will honor two First Tee — Metro Atlanta participants – Marcus Leonard and Tatum Thompson – in a special ceremony on the first tee just minutes before the first pairing tees off in the TOUR Championship. The tee shot is a symbol and reminder of the hope that continues to build throughout the East Lake community as a result of the East Lake Foundation’s neighborhood revitalization efforts.

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Twelve Exemplary High School Seniors Earn Selection in to First Tee College Scholarship Program

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. (June 2, 2021) – Twelve high school graduates have been selected to the First Tee College Scholarship Program based on academic performance, length and involvement in First Tee programs, financial need and commitment to volunteerism. This class of scholars includes aspiring engineers, accountants, teachers and environmental activists, all of whom will be attending stand out colleges and universities, including Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, Indiana University and other top institutions across the country. Selected from a national pool of candidates, the Scholars represent diverse backgrounds from communities across the First Tee network. The class is comprised of eight females and four males and 59% are ethnically diverse. The Scholars’ average GPA is 4.19 on a 4.0 scale and hold an average of 1,422 out of 1,600 on SAT and 31 out of 36 on ACT. Five of the Scholars will play on their college’s golf team. “I offer congratulations and a warm welcome to our new class of First Tee College Scholars,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of First Tee. “I am proud to continue First Tee’s support of these students at such an important time in their lives – through their matriculation and beyond. These outstanding young leaders remind us how bright the future is for them and for the industries and communities they will eventually serve. We are appreciative of donors to the First Tee College Scholarship Program who make this program possible.” First Tee College Scholarship Program extends its impact to alumni by providing support throughout their post-graduate career. Each of the scholars are paired with a dedicated, trained adult mentor who will help encourage and guide them throughout the college experience, including virtual and in-person meetups. The program also provides professional development workshops held in-person throughout the year. Applications were received from participants at 44 chapters in 28 states across the nation. Following an online application process, finalists were selected by a committee for one-on-one interviews. In addition to academic performance, applicants were considered based on financial need, chapter involvement, volunteerism and other criteria. First Tee College Scholarship Program is made possible by donors and corporate partners who stand behind the program and First Tee’s mission, including Astros Golf Foundation, Peter A. Bonanni Scholarship Fund, Chevron Corporation, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, Timothy W. Finchem Scholarship Fund, Paul and Ruth Flowers, Morrell Studios, Charles Schwab, TruGreen, Edward and Lisa Vaughan and Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund. First Tee’s College Scholarship Class of 2021 includes: (Listed alphabetically; all GPAs are on a 4.0 scale) Claire Alford, First Tee — Central Coast Santa Clara University Graduating with a 4.56 GPA Claire has received many honors and accolades for her hard work and plans to major in Public Health and Biology with a goal of attending medical school. Marion Caldwell, First Tee — Four Corners Dartmouth University Pursuing a future in teaching, Marion is passionate about passing down the knowledge she has obtained throughout her life to the children within her community and will major in both English and History. Natalie Cao, First Tee — Greater Houston University of Pennsylvania  Natalie strives for greatness in both the classroom and on the course and will play on the women’s golf team while majoring in economics. Molly Castle, First Tee — Tennessee University of Tennessee Knoxville As a First Tee — Tennessee participant for seven years, Molly has used that experience and her love of golf for helping others within her community. She plans to major in agriculture sciences. Malisone Chanthapanya, First Tee — Fort Worth Texas Wesleyan University With a cumulative 4.0 GPA combined with her success on the course, Malisone plans to continue her golf career at Texas Wesleyan University while double majoring in computer science and accounting. Quincy Crawford, First Tee — Greater Washington, D.C. University of Cincinnati Quincy has plans to study Aerospace Engineering in pursuit of his goal to create fuel-efficient aircrafts, lessoning the overall carbon footprint and possibly slow the rate of climate change. Rebecca Jones, First Tee — Indiana Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Rebecca will be studying environmental engineering and plans to use her degree to focus on land remediation and implementing new systems to reduce pollution. Josh Lendach, First Tee — Triangle University of Cincinnati Josh has earned the privilege to play golf at the University of Cincinnati where he will pursue his passions for golf and environmental/atmospheric sciences. Meghna Mazumdar, First Tee — Connecticut Boston College Scoring a 1430 on her SATs while achieving a 4.12 cumulative GPA, Meghna will study Business Economics where she will pursue her passion for investing in the stock market. Benjamin Nganga, First Tee — Tennessee University of Indiana A first-generation college student, Benjamin’s 4.46 GPA has earned him the prestigious Fry Scholarship to attend the University of Indiana Kelly Business School where he will double major in Finance and Computer Science. Kaleb Palm, First Tee — Central Florida Florida Atlantic University Graduating with 4.69 GPA, Kaleb will major in marketing and business while playing on the men’s golf team at Florida Atlantic University. Borina Sutikto, First Tee — Silicon Valley Santa Clara University A nine-year participant at First Tee — Silicon Valley, Borina is graduating with a 4.25 GPA and plans to study Accounting & Information Systems while playing on the women’s golf team. *** About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”) First Tee ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization that is supported by the PGA TOUR. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has expanded to reach more than 3.6 million young people annually through its chapter network, in schools and at youth centers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA, programs are delivered in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair. Contacts: Sara Henika First Tee [email protected] Dana Gordon First Tee/BZA PR [email protected]