How the Game of Golf is Making a Difference

Categories: Blog, I am the First Tee, Mentoring

Golf is Making a Difference

When you think of golf, you may see it as just a game. You go out on the course, swing a few clubs, play a few holes and tally up your score.

golf Noor Ahmed, Billy Hurley III, Adam Zakaria
Noor Ahmed, PGA TOUR player Billy Hurley III, Adam Zakaria

How can a game like golf make a positive impact on lives? Just how can golf make a difference?

On April 26th we celebrated National Golf Day and why golf is much more than a game. Industry and political leaders came together on Capitol Hill to discuss golf’s benefits to the economy, charity, fitness and the environment. PGA TOUR player Billy Hurley III, along with U.S. Representatives, Senators and invited guests also heard touching stories about golf’s personal impact from two participants of The First Tee.

excerpts from their stories:

 

Congressional Breakfast golf speech
Noor Ahmed, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento

Noor Ahmed, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento

“In my very first moment with The First Tee, Coach Angie taught me how to goal set. I learned whilst standing on the first tee box how to shake hands with my playing partners, look them in the eye, say my name loudly and clearly and to tell them it was nice to meet them.

I know that it sounds so silly but that was a huge accomplishment for me. Coach Angie noticed me—the shy, introverted girl in the corner that no one saw before—and through her small action she told me that I was a part of a group and that I was wanted. My journey with The First Tee began there. I made friends with other golfers my age, that would mold me in ways that I would never have imagined.

My friends at The First Tee of Greater Sacramento helped me indirectly in other ways. I am an American Muslim, but for a long time I struggled with that aspect of my identity. When I chose to begin wearing the hijab, or headscarf, in 7th grade, I lost a lot of friends. They couldn’t see past the way I dressed or my faith, which made me question whether being American and Muslim were antithetical. I remember the first time I went to my chapter after beginning to wear the hijab and nobody even noticed, or if they did they didn’t seem to care. I was still Noor to them. I was a part of our chapter’s family and that was all that mattered to them and that is what I learned they mean to me.”


2017 Congressional Breakfast golf speech
Adam Zakaria, alumnus, The First Tee of the Central Coast

Adam Zakaria, The First Tee of the Central Coast

“In addition to the guidance I received as a participant of The First Tee, the lessons I learned have helped me succeed off the golf course. By embodying the core values of responsibility and confidence, I graduated as the Salutatorian of my high school and was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley as a Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 2% of the incoming class. However, the academic rigor that I encountered at UC Berkeley was much greater than what I was accustomed to in high school.

Rather than panic or allow myself to become stressed out, I decided to implement The First Tee strategy STAR, which stands for Stop, Think, Anticipate, Respond. After analyzing the situation, I realized that what I was missing in Berkeley was a Go-to Team, and therefore I began branching out to those around me for support. I got to know my classmates, attended my professor’s office hours, and spoke with major advisers.

By forming support networks with those around me and putting a great deal of time into my studies, I have been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA as a graduating senior in the competitive major of Molecular and Cell Biology, and will be moving on to medical school this upcoming fall.”

MORE THAN A GAME

Offered are more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee golf and life skills program was developed by experts in the field of positive youth development and is delivered by trained coaches . Our mission is to help prepare kids and teens from all backgrounds for success in all areas of life. Chapters offer full scholarship or reduced fee programming for those with financial need. No one is ever turned away for inability to pay.

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One response to “How the Game of Golf is Making a Difference

  1. WOW – another reason for young student/athletes to get involved with the First Tee Program and all the characteristics that go along with this program.
    Adam Zakaria is a great representative and advocate of the First Tee Program. He’s a very impressive individual that will make a huge impact on his community.

    Hats off to the First Tee and Adam Zakaria. Thanks for sharing your story.

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