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Keith Dawkins stepping down from The First Tee

The World Golf Foundation (WGF) Board of Directors announced today that Keith Dawkins, who joined The First Tee as incoming CEO last year, will be leaving the organization. The WGF will announce a new CEO by the end of this year.

“Keith was instrumental over the past year as we transitioned from Joe Barrow’s longtime tenure into this new chapter for the organization,” said The First Tee Chairman Tim Finchem. “We learned a lot from his experience and expertise, and we wish him the best as he transitions back to his roots within the media and entertainment industry.  We are excited to soon announce the results of our search for his replacement.”

Dawkins, a 25-year veteran of media and entertainment, came to The First Tee from Nickelodeon, where he served as Executive Vice President. He replaced longtime First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., who retired at the end of 2017.

“I have not only enjoyed the past year at the helm of The First Tee, but I also learned a tremendous amount about the passion, history and bright future of the game of golf,” said Dawkins. “I’m confident that my perspective from outside the traditional scope of the game made an impact and will be leveraged as The First Tee continues to find new and exciting ways to reach and positively impact young people around the world. I look forward to returning to the media business, my true passion, but I will always remain thankful to The First Tee, Tim Finchem, The PGA TOUR and the World Golf Foundation for this incredible opportunity.”

The First Tee ( is a 501c3 nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools and at other youth-serving locations.

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has grown its network to deliver programs in all 50 United States. In 2016, The First Tee brought character education through the game of golf to more than 5.3 million young people. The First Tee’s Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Johnson & Johnson is The First Tee’s Legacy Partner and Southern Company is its Education Patron. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.