Sullivan County Democrat
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Golf Program Aims
To Start Them Early

By Matt Youngfrau
LOCH SHELDRAKE — April 29, 2003 – For many sports programs, building for the future means having children involved in the present.
The First Tee Program is one that gets children interested in golf at an early age and teaches the proper techniques and fundamentals of the game. First Tee is a national program that was first formed in November 1997. Now the program has over 100 facilities in 38 states and one in Canada.
The program was discussed at last Thursday’s meeting of the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Golf Management Advisory Board. Program Director Stephen Casa brought First Tee Northeast Region Regional Development Director Jennifer Weiler into the meeting to provide an informational overview of the program.
“There are a lot of good golf courses in your area,” Weiler told the group. “Life skills are taught on the golf course. It is also important that the kids have fun. Ninety-seven percent of them continue on through the program.”
The goal of the program is to teach golf and its values to young people. The youngsters learn nine core values of the game: responsibility, sportsmanship, perseverance, confidence, judgement, honesty, respect, courtesy, and integrity.
“I have discussed this with [SCCC Vice President of Academic and Student Services] John [Watson],” Casa said. “I would like to build a facility by where the dorms are being built. We would have to raise funds for it. There is no negative if this goes forward.”
Casa stressed that the project is very preliminary and that Weiler was only there for informational purposes. The facility would have an indoor driving range and be more than just a school. Casa wants to tie it into the college and the community. Also, First Tee has many national partners and sponsors and could obtain such needed items as equipment and carts.
The information was well-received by those in attendance.
Casa is looking for grants to help pay for the program. SCCC also has to approve the program.

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