Core golf and life skills program
The First Tee uses golf to teach youth life lessons and leadership skills. Sessions on golf courses include a fun, group setting for youth ages 5 to 18. regardless of background or previous experience. Teaming up with experts in positive youth development, The First Tee helps youth become good golfers and even better people.
A Youth Program Unlike Any Other
The First Tee emphasizes Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Through golf and our core values, your kids and teens will learn life skills like:
- Making proper introductions
- Managing emotions
- Resolving conflicts
- Setting up step-by-step goals
- Planning for the future
- Appreciating diversity
We host spring, summer, and fall 8-week Core Program sessions at eight local golf courses:
- Charleston Municipal, James Island
- Patriots Point Golf Links, Mount Pleasant
- RiverTowne Country Club, Mount Pleasant
- Shadowmoss Golf Club, West Ashley
- Wescott Golf Club, North Charleston
- The Club at Pine Forest, Summerville
- Berkeley Country Club, Moncks Corner
- Wrenwoods Golf Course, Joint Base Charleston (open only to military families with base access)
Advancing through the Program
From age 5 through 18, youth progress through different levels by demonstrating The First Tee Nine Core Values, life and golf skills as well as passing an assessment. All participants, regardless of age, start at the TARGET (ages 5-6), PLAYer (ages 7-12), or Teen (ages 13-18) level. The pinnacle of The First Tee is completing Ace.
- For all new or returning participants ages 5-6 – only at Patriots Point, Pine Forest, and Wrenwoods
- The TARGET level exposes 5 and 6 year olds to golf in a fun, safe environment while also introducing some of the basic life skills that they will continue to be exposed to during The First Tee’s Core Golf and Life Skills Programs. Children will participate in games and activities that develop the motor skills necessary to play the game and get a head start before joining the PLAYer level when they reach their 7th birthday. Lessons will be focused on the 6 components of the TARGET acronym: Take Aim, Anyone Can Play, Respect, Golf is a Game, Enjoy It, and Try It. The level is different than the ones after it, in that participation is not required in TARGET to start in PLAYer and there is no assessment at the TARGET level, participants simply age out when they turn 7 years old.
- For all new or returning participants ages 7-12
- The PLAYer level focuses on introducing participants to the game including: the course, safety, equipment, rules and etiquette as well as The First Tee Code of Conduct. An introduction is made to Playing the game, Learning the game, Appreciating the game and finding Your game. The PLAYer Assessment opportunity is available after completing this level.
- For PLAYer-certified returning participants ages 8-13
- The Advanced PLAYer level focuses on continued introduction to the Life Skills Curriculum, while strengthening the participant’s knowledge of the game including: the course, equipment, rules and etiquette. An emphasis is placed on purposeful play while developing The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits. The Adv. PLAYer Assessment opportunity is available after completing this level.
- For Advanced PLAYer-certified returning participants ages 9-14
- The Par Level focuses on introducing interpersonal communication and self-management skills. Participants learn how to introduce themselves, respect others and keep a positive attitude while learning something new. The golf skills focus on an introduction to purposeful practice and instruction with continued focus on rules and etiquette. The Par Assessment opportunity is available after completing this level.
- For new and returning participants ages 13-18 – only at Patriots Point and Wescott
- The Teen level is a combination of life & golf skills from Player and Par levels developed age appropriately. A focus is put on building communication skills. Each Participant is required to take (2) Teen sessions before given the opportunity to register for the Par Assessment & PLAYer (written only) Assessment.
- For Par-certified returning participants ages 11-18
- The Birdie Level focuses primarily on goal setting. The Birdie Level curriculum teaches developing goals, goal ladders (plans/steps to achieving goals) and how to deal with challenges when faced with adversity. The golf skills focus on advanced putting and short game skills, course management and more intensive instruction in the rules of golf. Students will develop goals for their golf game and work to achieve them. There is a minimum of (4) Birdie sessions before certification is allowed.
- For Birdie-certified returning participants ages 13-18
- The Eagle Level focuses on health and wellness, building a support team, dealing with conflicts, appreciating diversity and planning for the future. Students will focus on getting the most out of their practice sessions, learning to self-check their swings, improving accuracy and course management. The Eagle Assessment opportunity is available after completing this level.
- For Eagle-certified returning participants ages 15-18
- The Ace Level focuses on real-world applications of The First Tee’s life skills. Participants complete four projects that deal with their golf aspirations, job interviews, volunteerism, and applying for college.
The Registration Fee for our 8-week program is $50 per season. Additionally, new participants must pay a $30 New Participant Fee in addition to the $50 Registration Fee when registering for their first season. Financial Scholarships are available for qualifying participants (click here to learn more). We provide all golf equipment your child will need for the session. If your child has his/her own clubs, please bring them, however, if he/she does not, we will provide them to borrow during each class.
Equipment and Attire
Participants do not need to bring their own golf equipment to lessons. The First Tee of Greater Charleston provides access to developmentally appropriate equipment during each session. If participants have their own golf clubs, please feel free to bring them, but if they do not or if clubs they own may not be the correct size, we recommend utilizing our equipment.
We encourage all participants to wear comfortable, appropriate clothing (golf polos or plain tee shirts, shorts or skirts, and a hat – please, no jeans) and footwear (sneakers are a great option, especially for beginning golfers). Please also consider bringing a water bottle. We will have plenty of water to refill the bottles during breaks. Lastly, please take precaution by using sunscreen and bug spray – these will not be provided by coaches due to allergy concerns.
The Power of Relationships
“I consider my coaches at The First Tee to be some of the most important mentors I had growing up.” –alumnus
The First Tee coaches are trained to create positive relationships that inspire youth to discover their individual potential. Our programs help young people build confidence, develop respect and appreciate the value of giving back to our community all while learning the lifelong sport of golf. To get involved as a volunteer, please click here.