Lessons in golf from first tee

by Matt Corpening
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The First Tee of the Cape Fear Region has established nine core values every young person enrolled in its golf programs should be instilled with and act upon. 

Those values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

Although The First Tee is an international organization, the Cape Fear Chapter aspires to be a premier chapter, with both in- and outside-of-school programs that advance students through stages of golf skill development. 

A major step the Cape Fear region is taking toward becoming a forerunner among The First Tee chapters is holding a fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 2, at Porters Neck Country Club, called the First Tee Future Generations Golf Tournament. 

Executive Director E.B. Bartlett said he expects about 128 players, which roughly equates to 32 teams, to participate in the fundraising tournament. He expects to raise around $25,000 gross income or $15,000 net income. 

“That money will go toward instituting our national elementary school program, in which we train P.E. teachers to deliver a character-development curriculum in a kid-friendly gym or playground environment,” Bartlett said. 

The use of special, safe golf equipment called Starting New At Golf (SNAG) is implemented within these curricula. 

“Teachers also receive a curriculum binder with nine lesson plans that revolve around our nine core values,” Bartlett said.

The First Tee Programs are in seven local elementary schools, but he said with a total of 40 in the service area, there are quite a number to fulfill. 

The fundraiser tournament will feature more than just golf. 

“Some of the things we’re doing are a live and silent auction,” Bartlett said. “We’ll be auctioning off tickets to the 2014 U.S. Open, weekend tickets to the 2014 Players Championship, a round of golf for your foursome at Eagle Point, a getaway for four to the Greenbrier, a getaway for four to Pinehurst and lots of other cool stuff.”

WECT’s Jon Evans will emcee the live auction and the event will include an awards ceremony with a catered barbeque dinner. 

There will be men’s, women’s and couple’s divisions, each division receiving prizes based on performance. If there is a winner of the hole-in-one challenge, he or she will be gifted V.I.P. limousine service to the Tuesday practice round of the Masters.

“We’ll also have your traditional closest-to-the-pin and your longest drive,” Bartlett said. 

Children involved in the First Tee’s programs begin as a “player” at age 7, advance to the “par” level at age 9, step up to the “birdie” level at age 11, achieve “eagle” status at age 13 and finally achieve “ace” certification at age 14, at which point they commence focusing on setting goals for golf, career education and giving back to the community. 

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