First Tee teaching children golf and life skills, seeking mentors

Local News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Attention, golfers. Here’s your chance to take a few swings and encourage the next generation of golfers.

The “First Tee Golf Tournament” is seeking players to help support its golf and mentoring program. First Tee of the Virginia Peninsula, in conjunction with the YMCA, hosts a 6-week initial program, that introduces children to the game of golf, while also teaching life skills.

“We have a program where it’s set up to teach 9 core values,” said J.R. Locke.

Among them, how to be trustworthy, build confidence, be courteous, and have integrity.

“Golf is the only sport where you call a penalty on yourself,” says Locke.

Don’t worry if you or your child has never set foot on a golf course. “We have lessons to teach them the fundamentals of golf,” said Locke, adding the staff works with children ages 5 to 17.  

Locke says First Tee has two key objectives: to make the game of golf accessible to everyone and positively impact their lives.

“They get one-on-one instruction. Typically, we try to break it up to about 7 to 8 children per instructor,” said Locke.

The initial First Tee session lasts between an hour and an hour-and-a-half, once a week.

“They came into the program very shy, very timid.” After 6 weeks, Locke said, “You talk to them and they exude a very high level of confidence.” And, not just on the golf course.

Fees for the program start at $60 for the younger, newer participants. Locke says they increase with each level of achievement and participation in subsequent programs in the spring, summer and fall.

Locke hopes once families try First Tee, the children will keep coming back. “It’s really exciting to see someone really mature through those various phases of life.”

First Tee of the Virginia Peninsula is hosting its annual First Tee Golf Classic on Friday, October 29 at Kiln Creek Golf Course in Newport News. Funds raised will help with scholarships. More information: or call 757-349-7972.

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