Golf is a fairly prominent game in coastal Delaware — played by young, old and those in between. It is a game that can take years of practice, hard work and determination to play even moderately well.

The First Tee Program aims to enable kids to “build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges.” The idea behind the program is to help integrate the game of golf with a life-skills curriculum — building inner strength, self-confidence and resilience — that will allow kids to carry those learned skills into their everyday lives.

Locally, First Tee Delaware will host a fundraiser on Monday, May 3, at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club, 221 West Side Drive, Rehoboth Beach. Proceeds from the event will help support the growth of First Tee Delaware in southern Delaware and the surrounding area.

“The program provides instruction to a diverse number of kids, but also emphasizes nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgement,” said Dennis Downes, an associate golf professional at Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View. “Our annual fundraising tournament is important to provide equipment, secure golf facilities and award gifts to golf participants.”

The First Tee Program began in 1997 as a partnership among the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the USGA to make golf affordable and accessible for all kids. As they introduced the game, they began to recognize the meaningful personal growth and impact this program had on youth — both on and off the course.

It really became a game-changer — not just for the kids, but also for the organization. For more than two decades, the program has been focused on helping kids build character strengths and important life skills through the game of golf, while also providing all kids with access to opportunities for personal growth in a fun and safe environment. The program began on golf courses but has since expanded by bringing the program to physical education classes across the country through in-school and after-school programs.

“It’s a unique program with a blueprint of success in letting kids be kids, with a formula of learning and demonstrating core values,” Downes added.

The First Tee Delaware program offers programs such as Life Skills on the Golf Course, Girls Golf, Family Fun Clinics, First Tee School Program and First Tee Community Program.

Participating in the fundraising event costs $165 per golfer, which will provide for greens fees, cart, lunch, on-the-course refreshments, gift, contest prizes, and a happy-hour. There is also a discount for registering a foursome all at once, at $600.

There are eight different sponsorship opportunities for those interested: Event Sponsor ($5,000), Ace Sponsor ($2,000), Eagle Sponsor ($1,500), Birdie Sponsor ($1,000), Hospitality Sponsor ($500), 2-Hole Sponsor ($200), 1-Hole Sponsor ($125) or Life Skills Sponsor ($100).

For more information, or to register as a participant or a sponsor, visit FTDMS21.givesmart.com.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.