by Chase Grant
The First Tee’s own have been recognized for their outstanding achievements!
Congratulations to Bill Castner, PGA, program director for The First Tee of Plainfield, and Russ Libby, PGA, board member for The First Tee of North Florida, who were national award winners for the PGA of America’s annual awards!
Bill Castner, a 30-year PGA member, was awarded the PGA Youth Development Award for his service as the program director for The First Tee of Plainfield. Under Castner’s guidance, the chapter has grown to more than 650 participants since its launch in 2009.
Russ Libby, board member of The First Tee of North Florida and 23-year PGA member, was awarded the Horton Smith Award. The award is designed to recognize individual golf professionals for their outstanding contributions to developing and improving educational opportunities.
These prestigious awards were granted by the PGA of America, a Founding Partner of The First Tee. PGA of America’s funding to The First Tee has been consistently used to provide world-class golf instruction to thousands of participants. Furthermore, the 750 PGA and LPGA professionals who serve as coaches, executive directors, staff and volunteers throughout The First Tee network have been integral to the success and growth of the organization.
Thanks to the steadfast support of the PGA of America, chapters are developing lifelong golfers and further enriching young people’s connections to the game through innovative new programs like PGA Junior League Golf (JLG).
Launched in 2011, PGA JLG creates a fun, social atmosphere for young golfers to develop and hone their skills in team competitions structured in less-stressful scramble formats as opposed to stroke-play competition.
In fact, in 2014, a mere three years after the PGA JLG’s inception, 119 of The First Tee’s chapters fielded teams and an amazing 2,542 participants of The First Tee were involved in some capacity!
Thanks to the PGA of America, The First Tee has seen ever-increasing development of our educational programs that enables us to continue building character, instilling life-enhancing values, and promoting healthy choices through the game of golf.