Young Golfers Get a Head Start

Teens aiming for collegiate golf get chance to see what it would be like

By Christine Lee
|  Friday, Jul 13, 2012  |  Updated 8:02 PM CDT
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The top teen golfers are learning what it takes to take their game to the next level thanks to The First Tee's life skills and leadership academy.

Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter

The top teen golfers are learning what it takes to take their game to the next level thanks to The First Tee's life skills and leadership academy.

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A summer golf program that prepares young golfers to play at the college level is in North Texas for the first time.

The First Tee has taught golf and life skills to children as young as 5 years old for 15 years.

Many grow up wanting to pursue golf at a university, and The First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy is giving 24 teenagers the opportunity to get an insider's look. For one week, players sleep in dorms and golf at the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas.

"They're having early morning workouts, full day on the golf course," said Chuck Walker, The First Tee of Dallas manager director. "They're learning how to prepare their resumes so they can one day play in college."

Hannah Jiao said fell in love with golf when she was 8 years old and became a member of The First Tee of Dallas. Almost a decade later, the 16-year-old wants to continue playing in college.

"I entered my varsity golf team as a freshman, so that was one of the goals that I accomplished, and now it's just getting into college golf," she said.

Walker said about 75 percent of the 24 participants are expected to get golf scholarships when they go to college. Michael Wilson, an incoming high school senior from Kentucky, already has an offer.

"I signed with Moorehead State University in Eastern Kentucky in November, so The First Tee really helped me to get a college scholarship," he said.

Dedric Holmes, The First Tee spokesman, said the organization's goal is to pave a new path to success for the young golfers and help them develop life skills.

"Golf provides an opportunity and an outlet for them to secure their education, to move onto the next level, is worth its weight in gold," he said.

The First Tee has members as young as 5 years old and many of them continue until they attend college.

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