Golf lessons for a lifetime

The First Tee of Greater Charlotte provides life lessons through the game of golf

Good Golfers, Better People.

That’s the impact statement for The First Tee program –a national initiative designed to shape the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

With the 99th PGA Championship in the Queen City at Quail Hollow Club, we sought to explore how the local chapter, The First Tee of Greater Charlotte makes an impact among girls and boys of all ages right in our backyard.

Ian Bollinger, Director of Instruction for First Tee of Greater Charlotte has been with the program for five years and says that the biggest impact comes through confidence developed as a participant in the program.

“You learn how to introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met before — to find something in common and start a conversation. Your ability to meet people and not be afraid means so much in the real world.” — Bollinger

With the second largest outreach program in the country, The First Tee of Greater Charlotte reached over 120,000 new participants through elementary schools, after school programs, and field trips in 2016.

The First Tee of Greater Charlotte also offers certifying classes, a program open to children of all backgrounds, ages 5–18.

Children can sign up for a class at one of the six program locations, which include: The Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park, Charles T. Myers Golf Course, Highland Creek Golf Club, Emerald Lake Golf Club, Springfield Golf Club, Fort Mill Golf Club.

In introducing Charlotte’s youngest residents to game, The First Tee shares Nine Core Values connected with the game of golf: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment. In addition to the core values, participants also learn corresponding healthy habits.

“First Tee of Greater Charlotte has a great core of coaches and volunteers who are enthusiastic and caring. Kids who never played the game before come to First Tee and can have great fun and really enjoy themselves.” — Bollinger

Fall registration opened August 1 and is available from The First Tee of Greater Charlotte’s website. One 10 week session is $50 and scholarships are available for those in need of assistance. The First Tee emphasizes that no child will be turned away for financial reasons.

So if you’re looking for a different “tee”-ball experience, sign your children up for lessons in the game of golf. Not only will they perfect their swing, they’ll build their confidence, and gain exposure to a game that will increase their networking opportunities as they grow up. Most importantly — they’ll have fun, while learning skills for a lifetime.