Golf News for Friday, March 9, 2007 | Instruction

First Tee National School Program receives wide pro golf support

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The PGA of America has joined The Honda Classic and PGA Tour in a joint venture to support the local introduction of The First Tee National School Program, a nationwide initiative to inject golf into the curriculum of elementary and middle school children.

A check for $106,000 will be presented to Mike Cooper of The First Tee National Schools Program and Palm Beach County Schools Director of Physical Education Kevin Sterling, at the conclusion of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Clinic at PGA National Resort & Spa's Champion Range in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 4:30 p.m. EST.

The funds will be used to purchase equipment for 50 Palm Beach County elementary and middle schools over the next three years and also provide golf training for teachers. The program is expected to introduce the game of golf to 35,000 local elementary students.

The PGA of America, through the PGA Foundation, will donate $250,000 over a five-year period to the Nicklaus Children's Healthcare Charity Inc., in support of The First Tee National School Program, as well as mutually agreed upon programs benefiting Palm Beach County youth.

"The PGA of America is delighted to partner with The Honda Classic and the PGA Tour in supporting this local initiative to attract more youngsters to the game of golf and to provide the best available instruction," said PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka. "The PGA of America has been a longtime supporter of The First Tee, and we are excited that Palm Beach County's schools will join in an ongoing program to grow participation in golf."

The first group of Palm Beach County Schools that will participate in the program are: Palmetto Elementary, Lantana Elementary, Starlight Cove Elementary, Rolling Green Elementary, U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary, Egret Lake Community Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Cypress Trails Elementary, Orchard View Community Elementary, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, Northboro Elementary, Seminole Trails Elementary, Heritage Elementary, Liberty Park Elementary and Lake Park Elementary.

The First Tee National School Program is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation. The program has impacted more than 490,000 students at 1,100 elementary schools nationwide in its first three years. Middle schools will be added to the list in 2007-08.

The golf curriculum is taught during physical education classes. Teachers are trained and provided with all of the equipment they need to implement the program. Golf community Professionals then provide teachers with information on opportunities for the kids to play and be involved with golf in their community. They also often visit schools and conduct clinics and other programs designed to enhance the instruction taking place in the physical education classes. The hope is that students will recognize golf as a lifelong recreation and physical fitness activity.

"The more that kids can understand what the game of golf is all about, the better that will be for the future of the game in terms of players and spectators at tournaments like The Honda Classic," said Kenneth R. Kennerly, executive director of The Honda Classic. "If kids are introduced to golf at an early age, it is a sport that can impact them in a positive way for the rest of their lives."

The PGA of America is the world's largest working sports organization comprised of 28,000 men and women golf Professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf, while serving millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position in a $62 billion-a-year industry, by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives and award-winning golf promotions. Today's PGA Professional is the public's link to the game, serving an essential role in the operation of golf facilities throughout the country.