First Tee – Palm Beaches has quickly evolved into a major youth development program in Palm Beach County at our Michael B. Finnegan Learning Center in Dyer Park and golf courses all throughout the county. Founded by George McGrory (Mr. Mac), our non-profit organization, The Children’s Golf Foundation, began serving young people with disabilities in 1988.
Subsequently, our chapter of First Tee was established with the support of the Michael B. Finnegan Foundation, the PGA of America and The Honda Classic. Our service area includes all of Palm Beach County which encompasses over 80,000 elementary school students. There are also adjacent chapters of First Tee chapters in Broward, Miami/Dade, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. Our chapter is one of over 180+ throughout the world and one of 15 chapters in the state of Florida. We operate a golf facility that includes a par 3 course, hitting tee, and chipping and putting short game areas. Our programs are taught by PGA and LPGA Coaches trained by First Tee.
We offer the opportunity for all students to learn the Nine Core Values and Nine Healthy Habits of the First Tee program. Additionally, our program serves children with both physical and learning disabilities, veterans with vision impairment and people with paralysis. While our founding mission of helping children with disabilities is still an everyday commitment, we also provide life skills and life enhancement opportunities to all young people through the game of golf and the First Tee program.
Typically, we schedule a series of 9 once weekly sessions with a school or youth development organization. Sessions are 1.5 to 2 hours each time. We also offer Saturday and weekday evening classes open to the public. Each session includes a Nine Core Value and Nine Healthy Habit, encompassed into golf instruction. The Nine Core Values are Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment.
First Tee Nine Healthy Habits were created through collaboration among 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 First Tee, formatted for easy understanding and learning by elementary-age students and chapter participants.
Aligned with the “look and feel” of the First Tee Nine Core Values, the Nine Healthy Habits offer a comprehensive approach to youth wellness. The Nine Healthy Habits are organized under three categories of physical, emotional and social health. The Nine Healthy Habits are Energy, Play, Safety, Vision, Mind, Family, Friends, School and Community.
Our practice facility is open throughout the year; a typical week finds nearly 350 students participating in one of our programs including golf summer camps, golf clinics, and after school golf instruction. First Tee- Palm Beaches is differentiated from other youth golf programs because we uniquely provide a place to continue the skill improvement and personal development of a child from ages 5 through 17.