The First Tee teaches the skills of golf and of life.
Golf fans may one day see the name Brittany Campbell of Silver Spring on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour. The 13-year-old middle-school student shot the longest drive of all the female golfers in her competition last year. Golf has become her passion since she started in The First Tee program with free lessons at Sligo Creek Golf Course four years ago. “I’m trying to get into college on a scholarship,” she said. “But I still play to have fun … that’s my goal.”
The First Tee of Montgomery County is part of an international program which gives local children ages 8 - 18 the opportunity to learn the game of golf at one of five facilities in Montgomery County: Needwood, Northwest, Laytonsville and Sligo Creek golf courses and at Olney Golf Park. Not only do the youth learn the skills required for golf, they are also taught the importance of nine “life skills” — honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. PGA-certified coaches teach the young golfers the essentials of the game while volunteer assistants help the young athletes develop their skills.
“The First Tee of Montgomery County reaches more and more children every season,” said Laura Sildon, executive director of the Montgomery County chapter. “Our goal is to expand the program as much as we can among students and community members
June 29 will be the fifth time that 200 women golfers will come together for a luncheon to support The First Tee of Montgomery County. This year’s event, held for the first time at Manor Country Club, will feature ABC 7 News Anchor Leon Harris as the emcee, Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) President Laurel Richie as the keynote speaker, raffle and auction prizes and an 18-hole golf outing. The course was recently renovated by Arthur Hills and named one of the top five renovations by Golf Magazine.
“The First Tee is excited for the new venue at Manor Country Club. Its members have always been supportive of The First Tee and on top of that, it is a terrific course to play,” said Sildon.
The day will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the opportunity to bid on silent auction items that include a dinner for four at Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, a crab cake dinner for four from The Market at River Falls, a short-game clinic at Bethesda Country Club with teaching pro Patrick Bedingfield, foursomes of Golf at Trump National, Lansdowne Golf Resort and the 1757 Golf Club, spa packages and stay and play Tournament Players Club packages.
Keynote speaker Laurel Richie, a Shaker Heights, Ohio native who graduated from Dartmouth College, has always been about promoting women and encouraging them to become leaders. After serving as senior vice president and marketing executive for the Girl Scouts of America for three years, she accepted the position of president of the WNBA. As the first female president of a major sports league, she has been responsible for increasing the league's visibility and sponsorships. She attributes much of her success to her father who told her, “Things always work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out."
Richie is the first black president of any major sports league. She was the first black woman to serve on the board of Ogilvy and Mather, and has been the recipient of the YMCA's Black Achiever's Award and Ebony Magazine's Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications. She was also named one of the 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal.
Sildon said, “Laurel Richie's tenure at the WNBA has embodied the positive values we promote including outreach, inclusion and excellence in women's sports. I know her keynote message will be outstanding.”
After the speaker, the raffle drawings and the silent auction winner announcements as well as the live auction winners, the golf will begin as the women drive out to their holes for the shot-gun start.
To learn more about The First Tee of Montgomery County, to donate, volunteer or recommend a child for the program, go to www.thefirstteemcmd.org. One can also register for The First Tee 5th Annual Luncheon and Golf Outing at http://www.thefirstteemcmd.org/. The cost for the luncheon and golf is $250, for the luncheon without golf is $100. The First Tee can also use gently used golf equipment and clothing for the children. For more information about The First Tee, call 240-447-4646.