The Key to Setting Reachable Goals

Have you ever thought about your achievements in life? What were the dreams and ambitions that you wanted to work towards? How did you get there? At First Tee, these are the type of questions we propose to kids and teens to help them understand the process of attaining goals; but to reach their goal, they must first understand how goals are formulated.  

A goal is something that you want to do, be or have, but it’s not something that you can do, be or have right at this moment. It’s something you must work to get in the future, and you can apply that to any challenge in life. For example, if your child wants to achieve Honor Roll and receive all As and Bs in school this year, what would that require them to do? They would need to do well on tests and assignments. How would they accomplish that? Encourage them to take good notes, turn in their work on time, and study for their tests. 

For kids, having guidelines or tools can effectively help them identify their goals and make them feel comfortable about reaching them. At First Tee, we utilize four guidelines to do this. Talk to your child about the dreams they currently have and try these out for yourself. 

Four Guidelines for Setting a Reachable Goal: 

  • The goal is Positive: 
    • I want to achieve a passing score of 80% or higher vs. I don’t want to fail this test 
  • The goal is Important to You: 
    • The goal needs to be important to you, not to someone else. You should be able to explain why you want to achieve it and why it will make a difference for you. 
  • The goal is Specific: 
    • You want to know exactly what you’re working toward. 
  • The goal is Under your Control: 
    • Your efforts will allow you to achieve this goal vs. Something that is out of your control like becoming famous or winning the lottery. 

Goal setting is a strategy kids and teens will apply for the rest of their life. When we set our goals, we want to be very clear about them so that we have the best chance to achieve them. The key to remember is that goals come in all shapes and sizes. Just because it doesn’t work for someone else doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve it. Your kids will learn from both their achievements and setbacks, but as they begin to set personal goals, they will learn and grow in ways that you did not think possible. 

Want to get involved with what we are building at First Tee? Click here to find out more. 

What You Need to Know About Casino Golf Betting

If you want to try your luck at casino golf betting, you need to know a few things first. The casinos are in business to make money, so the odds you see on their websites aren’t necessarily 100% accurate. In fact, they are more like predictors of who you think will win the tournament. For example, if the odds say Rory McIlroy is the favorite, you can bet that he will win – because he’s the world’s number one player.

When selecting an online casino to bet on golf, you need to find fastest payout online casino Canada with a good selection and a high level of security. Online transactions can be tricky, so be sure the casino is safe and secure. Once you have chosen a casino that suits your style, you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of casino golf betting before making a deposit. Once you’re comfortable with the betting process, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions as you place your bets.

Getting into the game of golf and placing your wagers is a great way to increase your ROI. You can use golf prop bets to take advantage of your knowledge of golfers and their performance. For example, Abraham Ancer was a +200 favorite to finish inside the top 20 at the 2021 PGA Championship. Abraham Ancer has an active streak of four top-20 finishes and had finished 26th or better in eight straight events. In that tournament, he finished T8.

Golf is one of the most popular sports for betting. It is the fastest growing market in North America and Europe and the PGA Tour has been embracing the betting industry and working with the best sportsbooks to increase player participation. Many betting sites are offering more golf markets than ever before. However, if you’re new to betting on golf, it’s best to check the rules before you place your first bet.

While it’s still hard to understand the betting odds for golf, there are several tips to improve your chances of winning. The first step in making a bet is selecting the correct player. Tiger Woods is the best player for the moment, but you must be smart about picking the right one for your golf bet. For example, if you bet $50 on Woods to win, you’ll get a return of $550 if you bet on Woods. Secondly, there’s a market for tournaments where multiple players can win.

Online Casinos Canada: 33 Best Real Money Casinos Sites and Apps for  Canadians

Why Girls + Growing through Golf = Empowerment

Did you know more than 80 percent of First Tee chapters offer programming specifically for girls?  

“Growing up playing golf, I never imagined being in the golf industry,” said Rebecca Caimano, assistant executive director at First Tee — Greater Philadelphia, who joined the chapter in 2011 to help grow its girls programming. “It was tough being the only female who played golf.” 

Now, Rebecca is among thousands of leaders/coaches who are involved in First Tee. 

First Tee views golf as a metaphor for life. It’s not the score that counts, but what you learn along the way. The game is a perfect practice ground for learning skills that extend far beyond the course. Let’s face it, digging deep when things get tough is a natural part of our sport – and life – experiences. 

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary (& Women’s Golf Day), First Tee is proud of the role we’re playing in helping more young girls embrace the sport and what they can learn through it. Thanks to many female coaches and leaders throughout our network – like Rebecca – we are a safe place where girls can come, be themselves and learn from coaches and role models on the course and in the business world.  

Also, thanks to organizations like USGA (a Founding Partner), LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and John Deere, sponsor of the Drive Your Future Academy, a national leadership development opportunity for female First Tee teens, we continue to intentionally offer opportunities for girls’ personal growth and development in many ways.  

Empowering girls for a brighter future 

While many First Tee alumnae have gone on to work in golf, others have excelled in different areas, including medicine, journalism and public affairs. And we think that’s great for them, and for the world around us. 

Studies have shown that women leaders are engaging and collaborative, yet it hasn’t always been easy for women to break into many top leadership roles. Golf can help. 

Ninety percent of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf, according to the PGA of America, and more than half of all businesspeople believe golf is a valuable networking tool. Women executives believe that a background in sport was helpful to career advancement because it prepared them to work better in teams, and behaviors and techniques can be applied to the corporate setting (Women’s Sports Foundation).   

First Tee teaches valuable life skills that can help girls as they become leaders. Through our personal growth and junior golf programs, we encourage girls to build self-confidence that they’ll carry with them into their future.  

“I originally stuck with it [golf] because I wanted to beat my brother,” Rebecca continued. “And now, here I am, using a sport that changed my life to change others.”  

Now, that’s girl power.  

Approximately 25% of First Tee’s coaches are women, and we’d love to increase that number! If you are interested or know of a passionate female leader in your life, please point her here to get involved:  

Catching Up With the Inaugural First Tee Scholar

Sixteen-year-old First Tee – Lake County (Hammond, Ind.) participant, Steven Outlaw, was notified during the 2001 First Tee Network Summit, the annual gathering of those within the First Tee network, that he was going to have to make his speech earlier than originally scheduled. The events to follow happened in a way that only fate decides.  

Steven describes it as “being in the right place at the right time.” Using one of the first skills instilled into First Tee participants, as well as taught within his own household, on how to properly introduce yourself to others, Steven walked right up to one of the other speakers of the evening, former president of Georgetown College, Dr. William Crouch, and shook his hand. Steven’s demeanor stood out to Dr. Crouch and gave him quite the idea.  

Following Steven’s speech, Dr. Crouch scrapped his own prepared comments and surprised Steven with a full scholarship to Georgetown College and news that he planned to provide a full scholarship to First Tee participants every year following. This full-ride scholarship would alleviate the financial burden of furthering Steven’s education. 

Bob Krause, former vice president of institutional advancement at Kansas State University, followed suit with Dr. Crouch’s pledge. The First Tee Scholars Program was born and set to begin by 2003 with the inaugural class of Scholars, many of whom Steven is still in touch with today.  

L to R: Christopher Hawkins, First Tee – Metro Atlanta alumnus and First Tee Scholar Class of 2003; Adam Ruegg, Troon Golf; Steven Outlaw, First Tee – Lake County alumnus and inaugural First Tee Scholar; Rod Jackson, First Tee – Metro Atlanta alumnus; Brandon White, current Program Director First Tee – Lake County. 

As the inaugural First Tee Scholar, Steven graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in political science. After college, he enrolled in the PGA, PGM Accelerated Program. After completing two levels of the program, he secured an internship with Troon Golf, a leading golf management company. He has since worked with Troon Golf for nearly 15 years, starting in Arizona and traveling overseas to work in the Middle East, and in Malaysia managing The Els Club Teluk Datai (rated #83 in the world by Golf Digest in 2016).   

More recently, Steven serves as the PGA Director of Golf at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, managed by Troon Golf.  Steven has been a PGA Class A Professional for more than 10 years and currently serves on the Southwest Section PGA Board of Directors and is very active with Troon’s D&I Council. Going forward, Steven aspires to ascend the ranks in the PGA of America, with a passion specifically around diversity, equity and inclusion and positive change within the game of golf. 

Though Steven had numerous amazing opportunities during his time as a First Tee participant, he now prides himself in exploring what he can do for First Tee as an adult. He works closely with First Tee – Lake County, often supplying the chapter with donations.  

“These opportunities would not have been possible without First Tee and the core values instilled in me such as perseverance and confidence. Much of what I learned during my time with First Tee I use now to strengthen and empower my team. I am forever grateful and honored to be part of such a great organization. I look forward to the future of First Tee and the path they will pave for the next generation.” 

Eleven years after Steven’s speech, the First Tee Scholars Program continues to thrive. It has since received a face-lift following Greg McLaughlin being named First Tee CEO in 2019.  

Relaunching officially in 2020, President George W. Bush, honorary First Tee chair, congratulated the first class of the revamped program. First Tee College Scholarship Program now extends its impact to alumni beyond financial support, providing personal and professional development throughout their post-graduate careers.  

Each of the Scholars is paired with a dedicated, trained adult mentor who helps encourage and guide them throughout the college experience, including virtual and in-person meetups. The program also provides professional development workshops held in-person throughout the year, and up to $5,000 per year toward tuition.   

“First Tee aims to inspire and empower every young person in the program to set goals and begin pursuing them,” said McLaughlin. “The First Tee College Scholarship Program is intended to motivate young people to stay in the program and support alumni as they matriculate through the college.” 

In recognition of First Tee’s 25th anniversary, the Class of 2022 includes 25 First Tee Scholars. This time, Steven Outlaw has turned the tables, joining as a mentor to one of the Scholars.   

“I was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by great professionals as I progressed through my time with the First Tee.  These individuals helped me grow not only in golf, but personally and professionally.  I consider myself lucky to be able to return the favor to the next generation!” 

We believe in helping youth succeed – on the golf course and in life. Learn more about our programs and how you can get involved. 

Three Ways to Help Kids Develop a Positive Self Identity

Experiences are our greatest teachers. They shape how we treat others, how we see the world around us, and how we view ourselves. How we view ourselves is also known as our self identity and is defined as the qualities and potential you possess. It can influence the choices you make, the attitude you have day-to-day, and ultimately, it becomes your inner voice. For youth especially, a positive self identity can have a massive impact on who they become as adults. There are many ways parents can help their kids develop a positive self identity, and at First Tee we pride ourselves in nurturing a positive self identity for youth. Here are three ways you can help your kids develop a positive self identity inspired by our core values. 

Live Your Values

Kids watch and learn from the adults in their lives every day. Studying their actions and responses, they develop their identity based on their guardians and the other mentors in their life. If you live according to the values you want your kids to have, then they are more likely to absorb that into their own independent lives. That being said, having a mentor is a great way to ensure this happens. At First Tee,youth learn from their coaches by:

  • Treating others with respect and honesty 
  • Experiencing the value of teamwork, not just by being told to act as a team but by witnessing their coach lead with teamwork. 
  • Watching their coaches exercise positive self talk and kindness to others around them brings out the best in themselves and their self identity.  

Create a Culture of Acceptance

When there is no room for failure there is no room for growth. Fostering an environment that is not only safe for kids to fail but encourages them to try again, helps kids develop a strong sense of self. Acceptance also transcends just failure; it also means that every person, regardless of their background, is welcome. We work together to actively create a space of belonging for every kid— no matter what walk of life. Through example we encourage youth to accept their team members for who they are, treat each other with kindness, and create that culture of acceptance everywhere, so that when they reflect on themselves and their own identity they treat themselves with the same level of respect and positivity that they give others.

Empowerment Through Experiences

For kids, experiences shape their inner voice that gives them confidence and character. Not all experiences in life are easy, and when we empower youth to persevere and stay true to themselves, we bring out the best that’s inside of them. First Tee exists to enable kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. As time goes on, that empowerment creates a strong sense of self, and encourages a positive self identity even in difficult situations. 

Though a positive self identity may seem like something only some people are born with, it is really something that can be cultivated through leading by example, an open culture of acceptance, and consistent empowerment through all experiences. What do you want your child’s inner voice to sound like when they grow up? Nurturing their self identity can make all the difference in that. We guide kids and teens to strengthen what’s inside and put it into action. If you are interested in getting your child involved with First Tee, you can learn more and sign up today! 

Building Understanding, Trust and Empathy with Active Listening

Every conversation can be an opportunity to learn something new, build trust with someone, and deepen connections. This happens when we build the skill of active listening and learn to treat listening as an active process – not a passive one. 

What is Active Listening?

Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. It’s about being present, listening to understand (not respond), and showing active interest and engagement in the dialogue.  

Why does it matter? 

Active listening is an important skill for all of us to cultivate. Not only is it an important leadership skill, it has been shown to promote mindful thinking, can reduce anxiety and depression, helps build relationships and can promote empathy.  

How do we practice it?

At First Tee, we use a process called A-L-R to help build connection through active listening. This helps us to deepen conversations, keep them going, and get the most out of them. Here’s how A-L-R works:

  • Asking questions: Asking thoughtful questions is not only a way you can keep the conversation going, but it gives you a deeper understanding of the person or topic you are engaging with. 
    • Helpful Tip: Be curious. Try asking questions that dig a bit deeper: How did they feel in that moment? What was going on in their minds during that experience? What would they do differently the next time? These make the conversation richer, rather than closed-ended questions that are typically answered with a simple Yes or No.  
  • Listening to understand: When you ask a question, it is important to listen carefully to what the person is saying. We can sometimes be fixated on what we are going to say next, or when it’s our turn to jump back into the conversation, but try not to think about what you are going to say next.. Your focus is on them and their perspective rather than your own. 
    • Helpful Tip: Make an effort to try to clear your mind first of any distracting thoughts. It can help to jot down a mental or physical note of things on your mind in order to give your full attention. 
  • Reflect & respond to the reply: Keep the conversation going by responding in a way that connects with what they just said. You can try to restate in your own words what the person said, share what you think or feel about it, or ask another open-ended question that connects with what the person just said.
    • Helpful Tip: Show engagement and interest in what they are saying: look them in the eye when they are talking, use body language like nodding your head.

Active listening requires work, but you’ll be surprised at how much reward there is when you approach conversations and communication with this skill. Active listening is just one of the skills we are supporting kids and teens to build at First Tee. Click here to find out more about our programs.

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4 Ways To Encourage Positive Thinking In Kids

We all deal with highs and lows in life. Even as kids, we experience a variety of emotions that have a direct impact on our choices, and the way we think about ourselves. A bad experience can result in negative thinking which can be detrimental to a young person’s self confidence and outlook on life. That’s why positive thinking is so powerful— not just for adults but kids as well. Maintaining a positive attitude can be challenging at times, but through practice and encouragement it becomes a skill that can shape and transform young lives.

Just as you exercise your swing before hitting the ball, it’s important to practice things that can promote positive thinking. Our minds are valuable tools, and maintaining a healthy and positive headspace can improve confidence and drive in all aspects of life.

Here are four ways that you can encourage positive thinking in your kids:

  1. Always Give Your Best Effort – Parents and mentors should encourage kids to give their best effort as often as possible. At First Tee, we believe that it is important to help kids show up to the challenge, and develop the resilience and inner strength needed to give their best effort on and off the golf course. If kids can give their best effort in all of their endeavors, they will be able to realize what they are truly capable of. This can directly improve their confidence, and help them develop a positive attitude about the world around them.
  1. Give Back To Your Community – Giving back to your community, or causes that you care about is another great way to maintain a positive mindset. Volunteering can help your family connect with others who hold similar values and beliefs. Even activities as simple as tutoring someone on the weekend, or pulling a neighbor’s weeds can have a tremendous effect on the community you live in. When kids can see that their actions can make a positive difference in the world, they will be more likely to feel positively about themselves, and their community.
  1. Practice Positive Self-Talk – Parents and mentors should show kids the importance of being gentle with themselves and others. A great way to help kids develop this skill is to tell them to talk to themselves as if they are talking to their best friend. If they wouldn’t say something mean to their friend or loved one, they shouldn’t say it to themselves. The way we think directly impacts our behavior and feelings about the world. If kids can think positively about themselves, they will likely feel the same way about the world around them.
  1. Take Ownership & Responsibility For Your Actions – Helping kids realize they have control over the outcomes of the challenges they face can help build confidence and reduce overall anxiety. Reducing anxiety and practicing problem-solving skills at a young age can have a huge effect on how their mindset develops through the rest of their lives. Raising confident kids is one of the best ways to help encourage positive thinking.

First Tee guides kids and teens to strengthen what’s inside them and put it into action. It’s a priority for us to show young people the value of caring for their social and emotional wellness. So when they step up to the next shot, math test, or presentation they have the strength to move forward, aim further, and finish stronger than the last time.

If you are interested in getting your child involved with First Tee, you can learn more and sign up today.

The Impact Of Having A Good Mentor

Having someone that you can look up to and go to for support is one the most important things a kid can have. Mentors give youth (and even adults) the confidence they need to confront challenges and come up with their own solutions. They provide a safe place for kids and teens to be themselves and have fun, while also learning valuable life skills.  

A great mentor has many traits— they can be a role model, cheerleader, policy enforcer, advocate, and friend to the students they work with. First Tee mentors have a sincere desire to be involved with their students, and treat them with respect. They practice active listening skills and empathy, while also seeking solutions and opportunities for those they work with. 

We celebrate each of our coaches, and recognize them for the unique role they play in young lives. In fact, research shows that First Tee participants think of their coaches as more than just teachers and counselors, but real mentors who have made a positive difference in their lives. 

Here are four ways a mentor impacts their mentees that were inspired and created by what our junior golfers have to say about their coaches:

1. Mentors show that you can never stop learning

They are always growing and showcasing that to their mentees who can feel inspired by how they adapt to life’s challenges.

“I constantly heard that sport emulates life, and life emulates sports. I didn’t understand this concept until I started the First Tee program. Through this sport, I learned accountability and responsibility for my actions and how to respond to adversity.  These lessons have affected my thinking about the impact I have on those around me and how important it is for me to strive to be my best self.”  – Quincy Crawford, participant, 2021 Scholar

2. Mentors help inspire students to be game-changers

Not just for themselves, but in their everyday lives and especially with their peers.

“Having an amazing mentor through the First Tee who I have developed a strong relationship with has inspired me to help others find mentors that can help them through their education and career.”Remi Shendell, participant, First Tee Scholar

3. Mentors teach the importance of active listening

Not only do they offer support, but they show how valuable it can be to listen to someone in both good and bad times.

“Coach Mary Beth McGirr has been a major influence in my life, helping me with golf and with learning critical life skills that will aid me throughout my life. She took me under her wing and has been a shining example for me to follow. Additionally, as a woman, she has been an amazing mentor and example of a strong, confident female for me to look up to and admire. Coach Mary Beth has been one of my biggest fans and encourages me to do my best. She takes time to talk about my golf, life, family and personal struggles. She has been an excellent example of a strong leader and businesswoman who consistently gives back to the game and the community.” –  Alyssa Caraballo, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley

4. Mentors guide students to lead by example

It’s easy to tell someone what to do, but more impactful to give students the tools and examples they need to come to their own solutions.

“Coach Donnie Caldwell, PGA has given me great advice with my golf but more importantly, in my life. He has told me ‘make choices today that you’ll be proud of tomorrow.’ I used to just make choices that seemed the easiest or most convenient. But now I take time to think about those big decisions and how my choices may also affect others. Without him and his advice, I don’t know where I would be with my life, and that’s scary. He has made me a better person and he has shown me how to make the most of my life.” – Braxton Caldwell, First Tee of Pine Mountain

As you can see, the impact of a great mentor is one of our strongest tools in life. Our mentors work to guarantee students that there is someone who cares about them and who will assure them they are not alone in dealing with challenges. Offered at more than 1,200 locations, our program was developed by experts in the field of positive youth development and is delivered by trained coaches, or as our participants say— mentors! 

Check with your local chapter about how you can become a mentor to a junior golfer in your community.

Quick 9: Denise W


Denise W, First Tee – San Francisco 

1. Why is mentorship important?

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed, especially since we now live in an extremely fast-paced world where expectations for us are very high, so having a mentor to guide us through our development process is definitely reassuring.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

Listening and being able to communicate effectively are qualities that make someone a good mentor. With such qualities, a mentor will be able to offer constructive feedback which will aid in a mentee’s future development.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

My mom has definitely been the most impactful mentor for me.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

From my mom, I learned that no matter what the circumstances are, hard work pays off. My mom immigrated to the U.S. in hopes to find better future prospects for the family and despite not knowing any English, she still continued to work hard in the U.S. to achieve her goals. In the end, all of her hard work and efforts paid off because she was able to provide the basic necessities for our family and grant my siblings and I access to a higher education.

5. How did/does your mentor help encourage you?

My mom always tells me, “Don’t be afraid of failure. Just go for it!” These are words that I will always remember because they encourage me to try new things, even if I don’t necessarily succeed. It’s a way of telling me that failure is a learning experience and if I fail, I can keep trying.

6. Have you grown as a result of your mentor?

Yes, I have grown as a result of my mom. Her guidance has helped me become more disciplined and more open to new experiences and opportunities. Without her, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.

7. What would it mean to you to become a mentor? Or Do you serve as a mentor at your chapter or any other capacity?

For me, being a mentor is very meaningful and fulfilling because not only am I able to help others, I am also able to develop myself further as a leader.

8. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best mentor in your life?

Find someone who cares about you and is willing to take the time out of their busy day to listen to your needs and help you.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that both the mentor and mentee are learners. Both rely on each other as a resource for new perspectives and knowledge. It’s not a one way relationship where only the mentor is helping the mentee.