Used with permission from The First Tee of Greater Charlotte
Chapters receive daily phone calls and emails inquiring about programming. What is the most common question? “Is my teenager too old to enroll in The First Tee?”
This question is tough to answer. Anyone passionate and knowledgeable about our programs will, without hesitation, respond “absolutely not!” However, most parents, and especially kids, need a little more understanding before clicking on that registration button.
All participants, regardless of their skills, begin at the PLAYer Level. The problem is that the majority of participants in this level are beginners between 9-12 years-old.
Typically high school freshman don’t want to hang out with 5th graders after school, but parents want their teens to enhance their life, character and golf skills. So we arrive at this issue time and again.
We can tell parents that The First Tee is more than a game, more than just a junior golf program. But instead, we’ll let Caroline Cole tell her story as junior golfer at The First Tee of Greater Charlotte. Although at first she was reluctant to join, she has embraced The First Tee and everything we have to offer…even starting from PLAYer.
by Caroline Cole, Ace-level participant,
The First Tee of Greater Charlotte
“This is me on my first day of the PLAYer class (see photo above). The PLAYer level is where everyone starts. It is funny that my mom took this picture. You can see my overwhelming enthusiasm runneth-over at the prospect of learning that I was at least 25 years older – ok 7 years older – than the other “children” in the class. In kid years, it seemed like a really big difference.
This very first day of class provided my first of many inspirational moments at The First Tee.
It was on that day (with my attitude not completely in check) that a younger participant slipped his hand in mine. I was headed to the practice area, and he asked if I would help him learn to putt.
He had been watching me earlier, and I remember the excitement in his eyes and voice when he saw me sink a 6-foot putt. In that same moment when we were holding hands, he told me that no one liked him. I knew that feeling, but I couldn’t imagine that no one liked him. We talked and practiced putting all afternoon. At the end of that day, we both had someone that liked us.
I have been lucky enough over the last two-and-a-half years to meet some amazing people and to have some dream-come-true kind of experiences by being involved in The First Tee.
I’ve been an honorary observer at the Wells Fargo Championship and met top-ranked professional golfers. I am an honored recipient of my chapter’s Isaac B. Grainger, Jr. Scholarship, and this summer I will attend the Pinehurst Junior Golf Academy. I will also continue to serve as a junior coach and camp counselor this summer.
So, if you want to be inspired, join The First Tee in holding hands. You will not only change the lives of its participants, but your own life will be made better. Hold hands.
Oh, and remember you are never too old to enroll in the PLAYER class.”
To enroll your child or teen in The First Tee, find a location close to you!