Chapter Programs at Golf Courses

The First Tee uses golf to teach youth life lessons and leadership skills. Sessions include a fun, group setting for youth ages 7 to 18 regardless of background or previous experience. Teaming up with experts in positive youth development, The First Tee helps youth become good golfers and even better people.  The 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 our community all while learning the lifelong sport of golf.  The First Tee emphasizes Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Through golf and our core values, your kids and teens will learn life skills like:

  • Making Proper Introductions
  • Managing Emotions
  • Resolving Conflicts
  • Setting Goals
  • Planning for the Future
  • Appreciating Diversity

The First Tee Life Skills Experience is divided into five levels, starting with PLAYer for new participants ages 7 and up – progressing through Par, Birdie, Eagle and Ace.  As participants certify in both golf and life skills within each level, they progress to the next level of the program.  Each level of the Life Skills Experience focuses on different life-enhancing values and is seamlessly integrated with our golf skills and programming.

From age 7 through 18, youth progress through different levels by demonstrating The First Tee Nine Core Values, life and golf skills as well as passing golf and life skills assessments with a score of  80% or better. All participants regardless of age start at the PLAYer level. The pinnacle of The First Tee is completing Ace.  The length of time needed to advance from one level to the next will vary from student to student.  It is not a race, but a journey that assures each student receives the necessary tools to have a fun and rewarding life on and off the golf course.

The First Tee Levels are:

PLAYer LEVEL CERTIFICATION (required minimum age 7)

The PLAYer is the first of five certification levels that The First Tee teaches, and is recommended for students who have had no prior exposure to the game. Participants tee up for the first time and learn the game of golf and The First Tee’s Code of Conduct. Students must complete all attendance, evaluation and playing requirements to advance to Par Level.

PAR LEVEL CERTIFICATION (recommended minimum age 9)

The Par Level is the second of four levels in The First Tee program.   Par focuses on interpersonal and self-management skills on and off the course.  To enroll in the Par Level classes, students must Par Certified which means they have met all the requirements from the PLAYer level.

BIRDIE LEVEL CERTIFICATION (recommended minimum age 11)

The Birdie Level of The First Tee Program is the third of five levels that students will journey through while The First Tee program.  The students who enter this level have shown a commitment to the program by successfully passing all the Par Level requirements. The Birdie level will build upon the fundamentals learned in Par and the students will begin a series of life skills modules that will teach them the importance of developing goals, goal ladders (plans/steps to achieving their goals), and how to deal with challenges when face with adversity. The golf skills in this level focus on advanced putting and short game skills, competitive play and a more intense instruction in the rules of golf.  Developing goals for their golf game and working independently to achieve those goals.  To enroll in the Birdie Level classes students must be Par Certified which means they have met all the requirements from the Par level.

EAGLE LEVEL CERTIFICATION (recommended minimum age 12)
The Eagle Level is a huge achievement. Students in this level have shown a commitment to The First Tee Program and to the game of golf.  To get this far young people have had to be committed to the life skills program.  In this level students learn about resilience, conflict resolution, health and wellness, building a support team, dealing with conflicts, appreciating diversity and planning for the future.  Participants will focus on getting the most out of their practice sessions, learning to self-check their swings, improving their accuracy and course management. The young people who will be enrolled in this level will be leaders, mentors and role models for younger students coming up through the program and will be eligible to participate in national The First Tee activities such as the National Academy and The First Tee Scholars Program. To enroll in the Eagle Level classes students must be Birdie Certified which means they have met all the requirements from the Birdie Level.

ACE LEVEL CERTIFICATION (required minimum age 14)
Ace is the advanced level of the Life Skills Experience. This level pulls it all together and hones in on setting goals, career education, and giving back to the community. Ace Level focuses on personal planning and reinforces life skills learned in previous levels.  Students are assigned individual projects to complete and must attend four 90-120 minute sessions per project.  To enroll in the Eagle Level classes students must be Eagle Certified which means they have met all the requirements from the Eagle Level.

For each level, participants receive a “yardage book” that covers the topics covered in each level. The booklets also provide activities to prompt further reflection about concepts outside of a golf setting.


The program requires that students take at least one 8-week class per year, and encourages participants to explore and assess their abilities and set corresponding goals to meet national certification requirements. Participants advance through the different life skill levels through a certification process comprised of six general requirements:

1. Core lesson exposure (Class attendance, cannot exceeded two absences per 8 week class)
2. Life skills application (Exhibiting the life skills in their conduct)
3. Golf skills application (Demonstrating the golf skills)
4. Life skills knowledge (Scoring 80% or higher on written evaluation)
5. Golf knowledge (Scoring 80% or higher on written evaluation)
6. Playing requirements (Playing the designated rounds of golf within the time and score requirements