KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – At The First Tee of Greater Knoxville, there’s more to life than golf, but for the kids that congregate at Dead Horse Lake Golf Course every Wednesday, life is better with some clubs and some greens.
“We understand how kids operate,” says executive director Shawn Mauer. “We can’t just have them hitting golf balls on the range all day long. So we move from the chipping green to the driving range.”
Launched in 1997, The First Tee has programs in all fifty states and reaches more than 5 million annually. Here in East Tennessee, they’ve seen their numbers more than triple in recent years.
“We have nine core values that we focus on,” says Mauer. “Our motto at the First Tee, we make good golfers but better people.”
Just like 9-year old Camdyn Logan. She loves her time on the driving range, but values the lessons she’s learning.
“Each day they give us a word and they teach us what it means,” says Logan. “My favorite word is probably courtesy. It means to be nice and just help others out.”
“Golf’s what brings them in,” says First Tee instructor Dave Codling. “We don’t have anyone who says they come for the core values, but that’s the next step. We want them to be better people too.”
Designed for ages 7 to 17, First Tee is meant to be there for the formative years, but just life golf, it can be a lifelong bond as well.