Several times during the spring, summer and fall, you will find youngsters on the courses of Whispering Pines. They are all part of The First Tee of the Sandhills program that holds weekly classes there.
They practice from both ends of the practice range, use the chipping and putting green and finally make it onto the course to test their skills. All of this under the guidance of dedicated volunteers.
Bill Baker is the Executive Director of The First Tee of the Sandhills and has provided me with the following information about the success of the program. Read on to see how much he values the program and the children who participate.
The First Tee of the Sandhills provides opportunities to learn, play, earn and achieve.
In order to keep teenagers involved with our game for a lifetime, The First Tee of the Sandhills is expanding opportunities through healthy competition, volunteerism, employment and college scholarships.
Since 2003, The First Tee of the Sandhills has >coached golf and its inherent values to nearly 2,000 school-aged children. > This year, the youth development program plans to double that number through several outreach initiatives with area elementary schools and programs in Fort Bragg.
"The National Schools Program and Department of Defense partnership will introduce golf and The First Tee nine core values, including honesty, courtesy and integrity, to a great number of children," Baker said. "However, these >programs are just the beginning point to getting involved >with our programs. The real impact on young lives comes when players and parents get involved with a combination of the opportunities we offer.
"Three wonderful examples of this impact are Lisa Chandler, Robert Hoadley and Amanda D'Ostroph. > These young people achieved scholarships to study and play golf in college, and all three >maintained good grades in school and tried their best in the weekly classes led by coach Bob Burwell.
"These shining examples applied the life skills and values introduced in class during their daily lives. Each qualified for the Walmart-First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, boosting their confidence to take on bigger challenges. Chandler played with Arnold Palmer.
"They all volunteered in the program and in our community. Each played in tournaments and worked on their games with the help of local PGA and LPGA professionals. Robert was a high school champion and is now playing for UNC-Greensboro.
"Rounding off their experience, these teens took on the responsibility of part-time jobs."
Teenagers who register with The First Tee of the Sandhills can learn in weekly classes hosted at the Country Club of Whispering Pines. Ten-week programs in the spring, summer and fall are offered to all school-aged children.
Students are also encouraged to play on the Tin Whistle First Tee Jr. Tour over the summer. This well-run, six-event tour is available at little or no cost to qualified players. Find out more at www.twftjrtour.com.
New this year, registered players of The First Tee of the Sandhills can earn while they caddy for experienced golfers. Caddy trainings are offered periodically. Contact Bill Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Perhaps the best opportunity The First Tee Sandhills is offering is the chance to achieve college scholarships by being named a First Tee Scholar. This designation is given to the most qualified participants. D'Ostroph received $10,000 from Kraft Foods thanks to this opportunity.
These programs and opportunities exist because of dedicated volunteers and generous supporters. Periodic coach trainings are offered and a number of fundraisers are hosted each year. If you would like to give your time and/or treasure, please give Baker a call at (910) 783-8288.
A few local results:
Whispering Woods: The Men's Association played on Feb. 12 in threesomes, and the format was one low net ball used for scoring. Bill Bartlett, Bob Carlson and Al Gaeta scored 60.
On Feb. 15, the game was a team event with two low net balls needed for scoring. Al Gaeta, Bud Henty, Steve Luckhaus and Gaylord Maines had 119.
Seven Lakes: The Nine Hole Lakers played their February Cordial Cup with the following results: Roni Hann won the cup with 41 and also won low putts with 16. Marge Randolph was the flight winner with 44.
Whispering Pines: The Men's Association played on Feb. 17 in a two best balls of the foursome. The winners: Bob Flygar, Jerry Leary, Junior Jones and Chris Reitler with 117.
Frank Carrara, Lennie Mills, John Wheeler and a Blind Draw scored 121. In third place were art Woodward, Tony Grose, Bruce Robson and George Venet at 126.
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