Join us for The Dennis Walters Golf Show on Saturday December 10th at 10am at the Michael B. Finnegan Learning Center located at: Dyer Park 7301 N. Haverhill Road West Palm Beach, FL 33407 The Dennis Walters Golf Show is a one-hour combination of “Golf Lessons and Life Lessons”. It is great golf, great fun, along with an inspiring message. You do not want to miss Super Dog Bucky’s tricks and proficiency at math!
Ken Ohrstrom and his family foundation have been fantastic supporters of junior golf in South Florida for many years. The First Tee chapters serving the counties of Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie have all received generous support from The Ohrstrom Family Foundation. The duo of Ken Ohrstrom and Jack Barrett, our Chapter Development Director, won this year’s Highest Fundraising Team for The Els for Autism Golf Challenge that took place at Old Palm Golf Club, raising an impressive $61,300.00. Pictured above left to right: Ken Ohrstrom and Jack Barrett. “With the support of Ken and his family foundation, we have been able to significantly grow our programs,” said Steve Rockoff, Chapter Chairman. “His generosity to our chapter and our partner, Els for Autism, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of young people in Palm Beach County.” The #GameON golf program was launched in collaboration with The First Tee and PGA Reach and it is aimed at developing life skills, building self-esteem and confidence, and encouraging social interaction and healthy living through golf for individuals on the autism spectrum. Jack engaged with The Els for Autism Foundation early on, and was instrumental in helping to create the Ernie Els #GameON Autism golf program. #GameON is delivered at events held across the U.S. and South Africa because of great support from individuals and organizations such as The Ohrstrom Family Foundation. The golf facility at The Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida opened earlier this year and has become the physical hub for this ever-expanding program.
Believers Academy recently began programming with our chapter. Believers Academy is dedicated to students with special needs, age fourteen to twenty-one, who are at risk of dropping out school. The main goal of Believers Academy is to reduce reading and math deficits while building vocational skills for each student to obtain and maintain employment. Through these accomplishments each student increases their self-esteem and becomes a productive citizen. The participants come out to the Dyer Park location on a weekly basis for a great time and learn golf and life skills with our Program Director, Coach Connie.
The team from Guest Services at The Breakers hotel recently played their annual golf tournament to support a local charity. This year they picked our chapter and donated the proceeds of the tournament to support our mission and programs. Pictured below: Carl Mistretta, Chapter Executive Director and Chris Allen, Breakers Assistant Guest Services Manager.
“The employee support we receive from The Breakers is simply inspirational,” said Bobby Hendel, Chapter President. “Their assistance provided to so many local charities is an inspiration to us all to give back to our community.” Through their Volunteer Time Off program, employees from The Breakers are given the opportunity to use work time to volunteer. The program has made a significant impact at our facility as crews from the golf course maintenance teams regularly assist us with turf management practices at our golf facility such as topdressing, fertilizing, over seeding and sod installation. Pictured right, a team from The Breakers helped strip and remove sod from an area where we recently installed a new landscape beautification project.
We extend our sincerest gratitude to Jack Nicklaus, our Honorary Chairman and a Trustee of The First Tee, and the members and staff of The Bear’s Club for recently hosting our annual 100 Friends tournament. “Our sponsors and supporters simply had a wonderful time,” said Bobby Hendel, Chapter President. “The club is very special and the golf and food were spectacular.” Pictured below: The winners of our 2016 event with a net score of 54 were – Mark Reid – Chapter Director, David Burke, Marc Haisfield, and Alex Gillmurray Winners of the gross division with a score of 64 were Steve Rockoff – Chapter Chairman, Steve Kessner, Jaared Hack, and John Orchin.
Thank you sponsors!
Special thanks to our friends at Toro, Audubon International and the Palm Beach Golf Course Superintendents Association for hosting a “Live Green” event for our chapter in Dyer Park. Over 50 students enjoyed a variety of environmental experiences including learning instruction about golf course agronomics, how golf courses help our environment, golf course maintenance and irrigation equipment, building bird houses for migrating purple martins and installing a new landscape design at our facility. “Toro supports The First Tee nationwide and has helped us in so many ways,” said Chapter Executive Director Carl Mistretta. “They are an industry leader in community giving- from offering special pricing on irrigation and maintenance equipment to chapters of The First Tee and helping us with significant grants during our facility renovation.” Toro has recently become a Trustee corporate partner of The First Tee- the highest level of giving. Toro and Audubon International sponsor seven Live Green! events per year around the country and our Chapter was very fortunate to be selected this year. The students received a free T-shirt and lunch was sponsored by Collins and Fish and Seafood.
Ever try to play golf in your Halloween costume? It can be done! As proven by some of our participants, pictured above. Many of our students, and even our Coaches, attended Halloween Saturday class in their awesome costumes. Check out our Facebook Page to see more pictures of the costumes.
The Palm Beach Golf Course Superintendents continue to generously support our chapter mission through their annual Futures of Golf tournament. At their recent meeting at Admirals Cove, the “big check” was presented to Chapter representatives including Chairman Steve Rockoff and Chapter President Bobby Hendel by members of the PBGCSA, including their President Dan Elchert. “The PBGCSA support has allowed us to continually improve the turf conditions at our golf facility,” said Mark Reid, Chapter Director and PBGCSA member. “Past important projects funded by PBGCSA include our first maintenance building and booster pump.”
Since 2007, The First Tee Life Skills Experience has been offered to students in Belle Glade with assistance from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office. Currently, our partnership is serving youth participating in Christ Fellowship’s after school programs. Students are transported to Sugar Cane Golf Club where they learn about golf and life skills with Coach Robbie Rush, PGA and Deputy Reggie Bush. Students from our Belle Glade programs have been selected to receive Palm Beach County Golf Association sponsored college scholarships.
The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA, returned to Delray Beach for the 3rd annual Walgreens Charity Championship presented by The Seagate Country Club. Two Chapter participants were invited to play in the Pro-Am and were paired with LPGA Professionals. Participant Frances Melendez, pictured above, played with Pro Martha Nause and Participant Janelle Johnson, pictured below, was paried with Pro Becky Iverson. Connie Capanegra, Chapter Program Director said, “Our students had a great time playing with the LPGA Pros. Frances and Janelle learned some important tips, as both girls are excellent players and are always learning how to improve their game.”
The end of the year marks a time for giving to our friends and family, but also back to our community. We extend our sincere gratitude to everyone that has continued to financially support our Chapter. If you have not yet made a 2016 gift, please consider contributing to our end of the year Annual Appeal. Our Chapter cannot continue to reach the thousands of young people, Veterans and people with disabilities in our programs without your support. There are many ways to give:
- Checks made be made payable and mailed to: The First Tee of The Palm Beaches 7301 North Haverhill Road West Palm Beach, FL 33407
- Secure online donations may be made at: https:firstteefloridagoldcoast.org/
- Give through The Honda Classic’s Birdies for Children program and receive a 10% match on your gift and receive a chance at winning a new car! Details below.