Intended for advanced participants of The First Tee wishing to play college golf, up to 24 junior golfers are selected to receive life skills and golf instruction from The First Tee Coaches. They also hear from, and interact with, guest speakers who are there to help prepare the teens to compete at a higher level athletically and academically.
Here are four ways The First Tee College Golf Prep Academy prepares teens to play golf in college:
1. Academy Schedule & Setting
The schedule is strategically and purposefully organized to allow participants to experience “a day in the life” of a collegiate golf player. During the seven-day experience, participants:
- Stay on campus in university dorms and eat in university cafeterias
- Have early morning and afternoon workouts on campus
- Attend speakers’ presentations in university classrooms
- Learn solid practice-round techniques
- Learn the importance of developing and protecting their brand in relation to social media
- Play in an 18-hole qualifier
- Play in a 36-hole tournament (one-day tournament)
- Play in the annual Cohen-Tattersall Cup, a 9-hole match play event to simulate a team oriented tournament
2. Relationship building opportunities
A team of caring adults help make the academy a memorable, engaging and fun experience for everyone involved.
- The First Tee Coaches are nationally trained and selected from across chapters country. They encourage participants to build self-management, goal setting and resiliency skills. Coaches challenge the players in a positive learning environment and are their strongest advocates.
- Participants meet new friends with similar interests and who share aspirations of playing college golf or even professional golf.
- Academy chaperones are alumni of The First Tee—many are current collegiate golf team members—and serve as mentors and advisers to the participants.
3. Purposeful Practice
The College Golf Prep Academy curriculum helps coaches create an optimal learning environment for the teens. The curriculum, games and activities drive the learning experience in the practice stations each day.
During practice, participants:
- Focus on The First Tee Golf Fundamentals (Target Awareness, Preshot and Postshot Routines, On-course Strategies, Distance-response, Ball Flight)
- Refine their goal setting, self-management and resilience skills
- Utilize life skill strategies (Ask-Listen-Respond, 4R’s, Personal Par, Setting Reachable Goals, Goal Ladder, STAR)
- Reflect on their experience with their coach and plan for the future (review their priorities, revisit and refine goals, and define areas of strengths/improvements)
4. Mental Skills Training
Throughout the week, The First Tee home office consultant Dr. Linda Petlichkoff “Tees it up” each morning with the participants. Dr. Linda sets the stage for what the intentions are that day and allows time for the golfers to talk with her individually. In the mental skills training with Dr. Linda, participants:
- Learn about dreams and goals
- Explore their dreams and conduct a self-assessment
- Are challenged to think about their priorities in their golf game
- Are asked the question: “What is it going to take for you to accomplish the goals you laid out for the week?”
- Discuss self-management and self-awareness
- Are tested in a variety of situations (practice, on-course and competitive situations)
By Megan Pak
Senior Coordinator, Training Support
The First Tee