Alabama club golf first started in 2012 as a small group of friends who still had the itch to play competitive golf. The team was looking for ways to get recognized more, as well as trying to give back to our community, so the club president at the time talked to the local Director of The First Tee about us volunteering.
If you are unaware of The First Tee then let me give you a little summary of what they do. Basically, The First Tee teaches young people life skills using golf as a vehicle to learn those skills. There are nine core values at The First Tee: Honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgement.
I started volunteering at The First Tee when I was a sophomore (now a junior) in the Fall of 2016 and eventually started working there as a paid employee later that year. At the time, I did not know that Ol’ Colony had a First Tee chapter, and when I first volunteered I was blown away at the resources that they had. There were plentiful amounts of golf balls, equipment, a short Par 3 course, and other fun related golf activities. I volunteered as much as I could because it was fun to do. The kids as well as the other people your age working with you is what made it enjoyable.
Our club team loves to volunteer at The First Tee because of what all goes on there. The Director of our chapter allows myself and the other 'coaches' to have friendly matches with the students on the Par 3 course, or if we are doing a chipping/putting/pitching activity. The kids love it because they look up to all of us like we are professional golfers (even though we are far from it).
For us as a team to go out there and volunteer makes all of the students’ day just by playing golf with them. The Director of our chapter even made a deal with the team saying that if we kept volunteering, the golf course would let us have free unlimited range balls.
I think that every club team should get involved with their local First Tee chapter if they have one. There are always many students enrolled in each session, and the directors and coaches can use all the help they can get.
The sessions go by fast because you are constantly doing things. What is really cool is teaching newcomers of golf the basic fundamentals of the game, which also benefits your game. You sit back and tell a student, “make sure your feet are aimed at your target”, and then you think to yourself, “now that is what I was doing wrong with my swing”!
Long story short, The First Tee is a great way for a club golf team to get involved in their community. You build relationships with the students as well as a beneficial relationship with the golf course employees. But the best part is growing the game of golf by teaching the next generation the skills of golf as well as the nine core values that they can apply to life.
**Josh Brechin is a student at the University of Alabama, and a member of the school's club golf team.