Golf Canada and First Tee is set to launch First Tee-Canada in 2021. The partnership will bring First Tee’s youth development emphasis to strengthen Golf Canada’s junior golf activities that reach kids in schools and at golf facilities.
First Tee-British Columbia will launch in 2021 with additional chapters opening across Canada in 2022 and beyond. The chapter will be housed in the Delta office of British Columbia Golf, who will provide support services as required.
First Tee-Canada will target to launch multiple chapters in 2021 with a growth strategy to establish First Tee chapters in markets across Canada through 2023.
This was made possible by the support of the Matthews and Kusumoto families. Dan Matthews is a global Trustee and a member of the Board of Governors of the First Tee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Golf Canada Foundation.
A First Tee chapter in Quebec will also be launched shortly thereafter, continuing the legacy of past Presidents Cups. With support from the Presidents Cup, First Tee has successfully launched global chapters in Australia (2019) and Korea (2015).
The innovative First Tee curriculum will focus on empowering young people to build their strength of character through the game of golf. Golf Canada will serve as the national headquarters of First Tee-Canada.
“Partnering with First Tee towards the 2021 launch of First Tee-Canada will provide Canadian youth and especially those in under-represented groups access to affordable and meaningful character education programs through golf,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada have developed a strong foundation for junior golf programing over the past twenty plus years through Future Links. We are excited going forward to partner with the globally recognized First Tee brand and work collaboratively with the Golf Canada Foundation to strengthen our youth development activities.”
“Golf Canada has made a significant impact on the growth of the sport in Canada through their multi-faceted junior golf initiatives and was a natural fit for us to partner with the launch of First Tee-Canada,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO, First Tee. “Together, we will bring the First Tee youth development program nationwide and build on Golf Canada’s impressive grassroots success with programming that reaches kids via nearly 600 golf facilities and 4,100 participating schools.”
The PGA of Canada will play a leading role in the training of coaches who will serve as mentors to the kids and teens in the program. Coaches will help bring the curriculum to life by introducing youth to fun and active experiences that help them build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that can carry to everything they do.
Through its network of donors and trustees, Golf Canada Foundation will be a critical partner in supporting the launch and advancement of First Tee-Canada through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Canada’s provincial golf associations will also play a role in the advancement of First Tee-Canada as chapters begin to form in markets across Canada. In addition, Golf Canada will continue to work with the NGCOA Canada (National Golf Course Owner’s Association) and other key industry stakeholders towards a more inclusive golf experience for Canadian youth.
Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has impacted more than 15 million young people through its character-building programs on golf courses, in schools and at youth-serving locations.
The First Tee network has grown to over 150 chapters and more than 1,200 program locations across the United States as well as six international chapters – Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco and Canada – delivering programs that help young people build character and develop life skills through the game of golf. A First Tee chapter out of Vancouver is operating independently out of Vancouver, and previously out of Montreal, prior to the launch of First Tee-Canada.
For more information on First Tee, visit thefirsttee.org.