Since 1997, the First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its inherent values to the more than six million young people. On golf courses, in elementary schools and on military installations, we’ve helped shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by teaching them values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf. In addition to learning fundamentals of the golf swing and the game, our character education and life skills programs help young people prepare for success in high school, college and life. A sample of life skills lessons include:
- How to manage emotions
- How to set goals
- How to resolve conflicts
- How to introduce themselves
- How to communicate with others
- First Tee Parents’ Guide
First Tee Nine Core Values
First Tee Nine Healthy Habits
First Tee Code of Conduct
Respect for Myself
- I will dress neatly and wear golf or athletic shoes.
- I will always try my best when I play or practice.
- I will keep a positive attitude and catch myself doing something right regardless of the outcome.
- I will be physically active, eat well, get enough sleep and take care of myself so I can stay healthy.
- I will be honest at all times, including when I keep score and if I break a rule.
- I will use proper etiquette and maintain my composure even when others may not be watching.
Respect for Others
- I will follow all instructions and safety rules.
- I will keep up with the pace of play on the golf course.
- I will be friendly, courteous and helpful.
- I will remain still and quiet while others are playing and have fun without being loud and rowdy.
- I will be a good sport toward others whether I win or lose.
Respect for my Surroundings
- I will keep the golf course and practice areas clean and in as good or better shape than I found them.
- I will clean and take care of my and others’ golf equipment.
- I will be careful not to damage anything that belongs to others.
Independent research confirms the First Tee’s ability to instill life skills and core values in youth participating in programs delivered through its chapters. Highlights from the study include:
Participants unanimously identified school as a setting in which they transferred life skills.
- 73% reported high confidence in their ability to do well academically.
- 82% felt confident in their social skills with peers.
- 57% credited the First Tee for their meeting and greeting skills.
- 52% credited the program for their ability to appreciate diversity.
- Our character education and life skills programs help young people prepare for success in high school, college and life.
Paralleling the structure of the golf instruction program, the First Tee life skills curriculum is divided into levels, starting with Player (for beginners) and progressing through Par, Birdie and Eagle.
The Player/Par levels focus on the fundamental communication and self-management skills. The Birdie level deals primarily with goal-setting. The Eagle level gives participants advanced instruction and practice on mastering Par and Birdie level skills, as well as additional topics, such as conflict management, mentoring, and career planning.
Each level consists of six life skills modules and every module contains a “core” lesson that all participants must be exposed to. The core lessons are suitable for delivery to any age group. In addition, the each module includes optional activities. Some give participants additional practice in the core life skills; some are designed for participants 12 and older; others deal with the application of life skills to non-golf situations at home or school.
In order to pass the certification test and move to the next program level, all students must be exposed to the concepts in the core lessons. Their understanding of these concepts is enhanced through role-plays, golf-related activities, and workbook exercises.
As part of The First Tee Certification Process, participants must demonstrate that they understand and can apply the core life skills by answering written questions and performing skills for an instructor. When they meet certification requirements, they progress to the next level.