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George Waters Spotlight: First Tee of South Dakota “Golf in the Schools”

November 21, 2016

First Tee of South Dakota was also chosen as one of the six recipients of a George Waters Memorial Grant for their “Golf in the Schools” program.

The mission of the program is to develop and engage youth in the game of golf as well as provide educational opportunities in the form of golf such as teaching healthy habits and core values.

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“This program includes a wide demographic of participants ages 4 to 17,” said Coralee Jorgensen, Golf Administrator at First Tee of South Dakota. “Whether that be kids with special needs or scholarship needs. All youth are welcome.”

With the participants being beginners through and through, each class started in a different direction than most golf teaching sessions. They warm up and learn a core value word of the day; for example, on day the word would be respect.

“We ask them questions, involving the word of the day, along the lines of how can you respect yourself?” emphasized Jorgensen. “This teaches them about the word and then it translates to golf in how they can respect parts of this great game.”


At the conclusion of the class, the coach will bring the kids and go over what they learned today. They will revisit what the core value means and how they can use that word for the rest of the day through discussion.

“The program finished its ninth year now,” Jorgensen said. “We started with 227 kids and now we have well over 1,200 participants. The grant was such a gift, we used the money to pay for three golf professionals to teach and to use different schools for locations where PE teachers teach the curriculum.”

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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