A chapter of The First Tee has expanded their reach beyond youth. In South Florida, The First Tee of the Palm Beaches is among the national organization’s first in the country to work with veterans in conjunction with the PGA of America’s HOPE program: Helping Our Patriots Everywhere. John Prince Learning Center in Lake Worth, a GRAA Top 50 Stand Alone Facility, has served as the early host site for the veteran-centric programing. The First Tee provides the vets a set of golf clubs if needed, free range balls at John Prince and access to the facility’s three-hole practice course. “What The First Tee does for us is incredible,” said Vietnam veteran Dave Geisler. “I’ve meet a couple guys here that I play with during the week now, and we’ve become very close friends.” While the core of The First Tee remains focused on young people, an opposite but equally important demographic is starting to gain more attention from the organization.
On display this month is the newly renovated practice area at TPC Sawgrass, as the Stadium Course and its famed island green play host to the world’s best at the 2017 Players Championship. The back practice area allows professional golfers to simulate just about any shot. The $50 million renovation including upgrades to both the resort practice space and the “pros only” practice area – located between the 18th green and the fourth tee on the Stadium Course. For a full review on the new range and TPC Sawgrass and responses from players at The Players, be sure to check out the June issue of Golf Range Magazine.
The National Golf Foundation recently reported that Millennials account for 25 percent of the golfing population, and that number is still growing with much of the cause attributed to Topgolf. However, golf facilities still must step outside the box and try new things in order to bring this expanding group out to the golf course. One way that’s happening in Northern California is through Food Truck Cinema – which is owned and operated by George Marshall. Marshall is tapping into young people’s affinity for mobile food, craft beer and classic movies by hosting lively film viewings at golf facilities in the region. The event began last year at Woodcreek Golf Club in Roseville and will expand this year to facilities in Santa Rosa, Fairfield and Concord. On July 8, Diablo Creek Golf Course will show “Raiders of the Lost Ark” on a 40-foot inflatable screen while attendees take in a variety of gourmet eats, craft beers and local wines.