Duluth, GA, (October 26, 2005)â?¦.The First Tee National School Program has introduced the game of golf and its positive values to more than 150,000 elementary school children around the country since 2003. The goal this school year is to reach 300,000 students in 800 schools. The BellSouth Classic will do its part to help the National School Program reach these numbers by expanding the program into Gwinnett County Schools.
Over the next two years, Atlanta’s long-time PGA TOUR event will donate $35,000 to bring the National School Program to 40 of the county’s 60 elementary schools. The PGA TOUR will contribute an additional $25,000.
The National School Program is an entry-level golf curriculum designed to be a part of elementary school physical education programs. Taught by physical educators and based on national physical education standards, the National School Program is a safe, fun and effective way to introduce school children to the basic elements of golf skills, etiquette and play. The program also includes the element of character education through the inclusion of The First Tee Nine Core Valuesâ?¢.
The First Tee Nine Core Values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
"Through the National School Program we are able to expose a wide range of students to golf and its inherent values. As we expand each year to schools across the country, more and more children will learn this valuable life sport and have the choice to make it a part of their lives," said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., The First Tee executive director.
By overcoming barriers such as improper equipment and difficult instruction, the National School Program offers physical educators a safe fun and easy way to include golf in their programs. Through training, appropriate equipment and a progressive curriculum provided by the National School Program, physical educators are well equipped to introduce the basics in their yearly program. Each year beginning in kindergarten through fifth grade, children in National School Program elementary schools will be exposed to golf along with other sports and activities typically taught.
"Golf is a sport that teaches key principles, which makes it a great fit for both life skills education and physical education in schools. Providing a program with modified equipment and lessons written for physical educators, and one that is designed for typical US Physical Education classes, has generated positive feedback from teachers and students," shares Benna Cawthorn, director of The First Tee National School Program.
Fourth and fifth graders participating in the Gwinnett County program will be invited to attend the annual junior clinic at the 2006 BellSouth Classic which will be held on Saturday, April 1st.
"The First Tee program has been instrumental in bringing many young people to the game for the first time and to teaching positive values to all of them, "said BellSouth Classic executive director Dave Kaplan. "The National School Program will reach even more kids and give them the opportunity to learn and grow. We are very happy to be able to assist in this terrific project."
Now in its 38th year, the BellSouth Classic is played each year at the TPC at Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA. Next year’s event is scheduled for March 27 – April 2. Expected to defend his title is Phil Mickelson who won this year’s tournament in a sudden death playoff.
The BellSouth Classic is managed by the non-profit Atlanta Classic Foundation, Inc., founder of the tournament in 1967.
About The First Tee:
The First Tee is a division of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit World Golf Foundation that gives young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship through golf and character education. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has opened over 215 golf-learning facilities and introduced the game of golf to over 600,000 participants.