Why Golf?

Golf is unique from other sports because players learn values like honesty and responsibility by calling penalties on themselves and reporting their own score. The sport is a perfect platform for helping young people develop character because just like in life, players experience the highs and lows of the game.


Because our mission goes beyond teaching young people how to play the game of golf, First Tee – Virginia Peninsula has a youth development component in its classes called The Life Skills Education. As participants play the game of golf, children are encouraged to use First Tee’s Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment. Through golf and our core values, kids and teens will learn life skills including:

  • Making proper introductions
  • Managing emotions
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Setting up step-by-step goals
  • Planning for the future
  • Appreciating diversity

During classes, Life Skills are reinforced through a multitude of different golf activities. This gives our participants more than just the ability to learn the game of golf, but the opportunity to apply the values they learn while on the course to their everyday lives. As they learn and apply the Life Skills, our hope is that they exhibit core values such as respect, honesty, and sportsmanship in their day to day experiences. Teaming up with experts in positive youth development, First Tee helps youth become good golfers and even better people.


From age 7 through 18, youth progress through levels by demonstrating First Tee’s Nine Core Values, life and golf skills as well as passing an assessment. All participants regardless of age start at the PLAYer level. The pinnacle of The First Tee is completing Ace.

  • Little Linksters (ages 5&6) – Designed to create a curiosity for the game of golf by relating it to sports children are more familiar with.
  • PLAYer (required minimum age 7) – Tee it up for the first time in the certification program and learn the game of golf and The First Tee’s Code of Conduct.
  • Par (recommended minimum age 9 and PLAYer certified) – Focus on interpersonal and self-management skills on and off the course.
  • Birdie (recommended minimum age 11 and Par certified) – Emphasis on setting goals and making them a reality.
  • Eagle (recommended minimum age 13 and Birdie certified) – Learn resilience, conflict resolution, and future planning.
  • Ace (required minimum age 14 or entering 9th grade and Eagle certified) – Put it all together and hone in on setting goals, career education, and giving back to the community.

“I consider my coaches at The First Tee to be some of the most important mentors I had growing up.”



First Tee coaches are trained to create positive relationships that inspire youth to discover their individual potential. Our programs help young people build confidence, develop respect and appreciate the value of giving back to their community all while learning the lifelong sport of golf.