2002: Survey points to First Tee satisfaction

Joe Louis Barrow will have an impressive story to tell when The First Tee celebrates its fifth anniversary Oct. 24-26 during the organization’s annual meeting at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.

Barrow is executive director of The First Tee, an initiative by the World Golf Foundation designed to help young people develop positive character traits and values through golf. At the meeting, Barrow will tout the success of The First Tee Life Skills Experience.

The Life Skills Experience is the program’s educational component designed to teach youngsters the importance of accountability, effective communication, self management, goal- setting, conflict resolution and resistance to peer pressure. The life skills curriculum was developed and tested for 21⁄2 years leading up to its implementation at First Tee facilities in 2001.

An executive summary of a First Tee survey of participants, parents or guardians and instructors, conducted this year, concluded that results of the Life Skills Experience “validated the underlying premise upon which The First Tee operates. The First Tee’s mission is to positively impact the lives of young people, and the supposition is that the inherently positive values found in the game of golf make it the ideal vehicle to do so.”

Of the parents and guardians surveyed, 99 percent said they would like their children to continue with the Life Skills Experience.

Barrow acknowledged that the results sounded almost too good to be true.

“I think the Life Skills component is being really well received,” Barrow said. “It’s a unique program, but we’re doing it in a way that’s being accepted by everyone involved.

“We still have a lot of work to do. We need to focus on the consistency of the experience from location to location.”

The First Tee now has 95 learning facilities in operation across North America, with “60 in the queue,” according to Barrow. He said the initiative’s growth has been relatively unscathed by this year’s national economic tailspin.

“We are obviously managing budgets to reflect the fact that revenue streams may be impacted,” he said, noting that “in the next several weeks we’re going to announce 4 to 6 new national trustees” – the designation given to corporate donors of $1 million or more.

Coca-Cola will be announced as one of the new national trustees at the annual meeting, which brings together staff members from local chapters, First Tee administrative staff, corporate sponsors and members of the First Tee Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee represents the First Tee’s five founding organizations: the PGA Tour, the U.S. Golf Association, the PGA of America, the LPGA and Augusta National Golf Club.






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