Good Golfers, Better People Scroll Down to view The First Tee of Central Florida 2016 Annual Review

Our Mission: To impact the lives of Central Florida youth by providing educational programs that build character, instill life enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Our Vision: To become the preeminent youth development organization in Central Florida, The First Tee of Central Florida will give young people of all backgrounds the opportunity to develop into contributing citizens by learning core values, life skills, and healthy habits inherent to the game of golf. This will be done by establishing partnerships with communities, golf courses, and other non-profit organizations to offer the largest network of access points.

Message from Board Chairman, Rick Havron

In October of 2014, I had the opportunity to attend The First Tee of Central Florida 1st Annual Developing Champions Fundraising Breakfast. I was not quite sure what this organization did but I was curious to learn more. You see, I am an avid golfer and true believer golf can teach someone so many valuable lessons both on and off the golf course. I was thoroughly impressed listening to the story of Christian Heavens, an alumni of The First Tee who speaks eloquently about how the game of golf and more importantly The First Tee, helped save his life by keeping him off the streets. In addition, a current participant Bobby Sena spoke about his experiences with The First Tee. Bobby was age 12 and his level of confidence and ability to speak in front of such a large group was extremely impressive.

Shortly after this function, I decided to get more involved and was asked to join the Board of Directors. As I learned more about this organization, the more proud I was to get involved. As a life-long golfer, I know how the game of golf teaches you core values that can serve you well in the community and in business. Values such as Integrity, Courtesy, Respect, Confidence, and Perseverance. The First Tee takes this even further, where each and every lesson focuses on a specific life lesson that is tied into learning the game of golf. As participants go through each lesson, they are demonstrating the life skill of the class while learning the game of golf concluding every class with a bridge explaining how you can take that skill outside of the golf course and into everyday life.

2016 was my first year serving as Board President of the chapter. During the year, over 85,000 young people were introduced to the game of golf through The First Tee’s Programs at 122 local elementary schools, 22 after-school programs, and 9 Central Florida Golf Courses. Here at The First Tee of Central Florida, our programs reach kids of all socio-economic backgrounds with a focus on introducing the game to young people typically not exposed to the game of golf, its inherent core values, life skills, and healthy habits. In fact, in many ways, The First Tee of Central Florida is breaking the stigma that golf is only for a certain segment of the population. Last year, over 51% of participants in our golf course program came from diverse backgrounds (compared to an industry average of 21%) and 37% of participants were female (compared to an industry average of 23%).

Each participant of The First Tee program at local golf courses has a program fee to pay. However, we hold a policy that no child will be denied participation due to inability to pay. In fact, last year, 38% of our 463 participants who participated in at least one nine-week session of our Golf & Life Skills Experience received full financial assistance into our program, accounting for over $18,000 of program fees given out to help assist families in need.

As we move into 2017, our chapter aims to continue to grow and expand. Our focus will be on retaining participants and providing them with more opportunities. To do this, we plan to provide more transitional opportunities for our partners at local elementary schools and after-school programs, to experience traditional golf clubs at local golf courses by providing field trips, increase opportunities for supervised practice and play especially for participants who don’t come from families that play the game, and provide small competitions to continue to engage competitive players.

There is an old proverb that states “it takes a village to raise a child”. At The First Tee of Central Florida, it truly takes a community to positively impact the lives of our local youth, and we’re making a difference. I encourage you to get involved by volunteering, donating, or participating in one of our upcoming fundraising events.


Rick Havron

Board Chairman

The First Tee of Central Florida

The First Tee's Nine Core Values

The First Tee has established Nine Core Values that represent some of the many inherently positive values connected with the game of golf.

By participating in The First Tee, young people are introduced to these core values, which are incorporated throughout the program. Parents are encouraged to reinforce these behaviors by talking about them, what they mean and what these behaviors can look like at home.

  1. Courtesy
  2. Respect
  3. Judgment
  4. Responsibility
  5. Sportsmanship
  6. Confidence
  7. Honesty
  8. Integrity
  9. Perservance

The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits

The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits were created through a collaboration among The First Tee, ANNIKA Foundation and Florida Hospital for Children to promote healthy, active lifestyles for young people. The healthy habits are a list of nine health and wellness topics presented as a part The First Tee, formatted for easy understanding and learning by elementary-age students and chapter participants.


  • Energy
  • Play
  • Safety


  • Mind
  • Vision
  • Family


  • Friends
  • Schools
  • Community
The life skills we learn instill the maturity and tactics needed for situations in the real world. We don't just focus on how to hit a seven iron or how to drive two hundred yards; we learn how to prepare, execute, and learn from each step of the process. This can improve results, but more importantly, it fosters a better mindset, which, in my experience, enhances behavior and positivity.

Sara Rintoul

Birdie Level Participant

Highlights from 2016

January 2016

The First Tee of Central Florida hosted 40 Coaches from across the country for a coaches training. Participants from The First Tee of Central Florida participated in activities to help train coaches. Two coaches from The First Tee of Central Florida participated.

March 2016

175 4th graders from Wetherbee Elementary School participated in a field trip utilizing traditional golf equipment. Following their golf clinic, students were treated to lunch by Jersey Mike's, and then the Dennis Walters Golf Show. Wetherbee Elementary School is one of 122 schools that delivers The First Tee's National School Program.

4th Grade Students from Wetherbee Elementary School

March 2016

Orlando Sentinel Reporter George Diaz highlighted outreach efforts of The First Tee of Central Florida at Windsor Cove Apartment Complex off of Mercy Drive.

March 2016

Participants from The First Tee of Central Florida participated in The First Tee of Central Florida Youth Day at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard. Highlighted by a junior clinic with Stewart Cink, teenaged participants served as standard bearers for the Champions for Arnies Kids Pro-Am.

March 2016

Five female participants from The First Tee of Central Florida were invited to attend Executive Women's Day at The Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard.

March 2016

Wells Fargo "Succeeding Together" Bring PGA TOUR Pros to The First Tee

In collaboration with Wells Fargo's "Succeeding Together" Program, The First Tee of Central Florida held a private clinic with PGA TOUR Professionals Jon Curran and Patrick Rodgers.

April 2016

Four participants from Mercy Drive's Windsor Cove Apartment complex enroll in the Spring Session of The First Tee's Golf & Life Skills Experience Program at MetroWest Golf Course.

June 2016

The First Tee of Central Florida participated in an environmental education and course improvement program called “Live Green!”. The curriculum was developed by The First Tee in partnership with The Toro Company and Audubon International. 45 participants had the opportunity to learn about sustainable golf practices while making environmental enhancements to Stoneybrook West Golf Club.

August 2016

Members of The First Tee of Central Florida and Girls Golf of Greater Orlando participated in the Road to Rio at the PGA TOUR Superstore. Participants competed in a skills challenge with a putting contest, closest to the pin, and long drive contest while having the opportunity to watch the final round of the Olympics.

October 2016

Birdie Level Participants Sara and Cole joined Coach Adam and Damon Hack on Golf Channel's Morning Drive for Junior Golf Week. During their segment, Coach Adam, Sara, and Cole went through The First Tee's Birdie Level Lesson of STAR (Stop, Think, Anticipate, Respond) and the Par Level Lesson of the 4 R's for Staying Cool (Replay, Relax, Ready, Redo).

October 2016

Participants from The First Tee of Central Florida were treated to an interactive skills clinic with four members of the Symetra Tour at the IOA Championship at Alaqua Country Club.

In Memoriam

Arnold Palmer

In 2016, we lost a legend, ambassador and great friend of The First Tee of Central Florida. In 2012, Mr. Palmer became a Trustee of The First Tee. Through his generous contribution to The First Tee of Central Florida, he provided the organization with the financial foundation to expand our reach and elevate our collective impact of participants much earlier than originally anticipated.

Mr. Palmer's legacy in Central Florida will continue to carry on through the creation of the The Arnold Palmer Scholarship Fund. The fund was established through a lead gift from Mr. Palmer where the annual outflows of the endowment will be used to subsidize participant fees, purchase equipment, and provide transportation to ensure that The First Tee of Central Florida is able to maintain the policy that no child ever gets turned away for an inability to pay. The First Tee of Central Florida is committed to growing the fund to over $1,000,000.


Cy Cyr

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