The "First Tee" Introduces Golf To 8th & 9th Graders

Apr 15, 2019

More than 600 students to learn about golf
Credit wikimedia commons

More Than 600 8th and 9th graders from Grand Rapids Public Schools will learn about the game of golf at Indian Trails Golf Course.  This is thanks to a large partnership between the First Tee of West Michigan, the City of Grand Rapids’ Safe Alliances for Everyone and GRPS to name a few.

“What we really wanted to target was a slightly different age group that might not have been exposed to the game of golf and more importantly the values that we teach through the game.”

That’s Tyler Smies.  He’s the Executive Director of The First Tee.  It’s the local chapter of a national organization that Smies says uses golf to teach values and life skills.  4.1

“We really want to expose who we are and what we do to any student who has interest.  Regardless of income or transportation issues they might have.  We provide curriculum, usually six class sessions where students are introduced to one of the values we teach, things like respect, courtesy, honesty, things that can be used in the game of golf but can be transferred off the golf course.”

The non-profit youth development program is expected to host more than 600 Grand Rapids Public Schools students at Indian Trails Golf Course.  He’s working with a big partnership that also includes the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation along with the Indian Trails Golf Course.  Smies says the program is bigger than the game of golf.

“Golf is the conduit or vehicle that we use to teach those life skills, they can use those at home, other sports, things they’re involved in.  We just think golf is uniquely equipped to teach those values and skills; it’s just built in to the fabric of the game.”

Students that are in GRPS in the eighth or ninth grade can still participate.  They have other opportunities at other locations as well.  Students on free or reduced lunch can continue on after the program for 5 dollars or a bit more if they’re not.  You can find more information on their website at thefirsttee westmichigan-dot org.