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, Inc., began serving young people with special needs in 1988.
Subsequently, our chapter of First Tee was established with the support of The Honda Classic, the Michael B. Finnegan Foundation and the PGA of America. 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 Miami/Dade, Broward, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. Our chapter is one of over 140+ 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 typically taught by PGA and LPGA Coaches trained by First Tee.
We offer the opportunity for all students to learn the Nine Core Values of the First Tee Life Skills Experience. Additionally, our program serves children with special needs and disabilities, veterans disabilities and people with paralysis. While our founding mission of helping children with special needs is still an everyday commitment, we also provide life skills and life enhancement opportunities to all young people through the game of golf.
Typically, we schedule a series of 9, once weekly sessions, with a school or youth development organization. Sessions are 1 to 1.5 hours each time. We also offer Saturday and weekday evening classes open to the public. Each session includes our life skills program encompassed into golf instruction. Our Nine Core Values are Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment.
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. Many of our students remain active until they enroll in college and apply to our scholarship fund for financial assistance.