Golf and Life Skills Training Facility

Golf and Life Skills Training Facility

Grant Year: 2016 | Focus Area: Environment, Recreation & Preservation | Grant Amount: $108,200 | Grant Status: Completed

Golf and Life Skills Training Facility

The Greater Pensacola Junior Golf Association, Inc. dba The First Tee of Northwest Florida

Originally founded in 1990 as the Greater Pensacola Junior Golf Association (GPJGA) in order to operate a Junior Golf Summer Tour in Northwest Florida, the organization gained its 501(c)(3) status 1995. In December 2003, GPJGA was granted chapter status in The First Tee, a national organization, and began doing business as The First Tee of Northwest Florida (First Tee). As of 2016, First Tee is one of over 175 Chapters operating over 850 Program Sites in all 50 States and 11 countries internationally. The mission of The First Tee of Northwest Florida is to positively impact the lives of young people by promoting character development and life-enhancing values through the First Tee's "Life Skills Learning Experience" and the game of golf. The First Tee program is based on The Nine “Core Values”: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment. The First Tee works to teach character education and golf to local students through the First Tee National School Program, and currently serves 102 elementary and middle schools from Escambia to Bay Counties.

Project Description

First Tee has recently purchased the 1.41 acre site of the 1958 36-hole “Goofy Golf” complex on Navy Blvd in Warrington, and plans to convert the site into a comprehensive golf training and classroom facility, restoring and maintaining the unique mini-golf holes as a model of historic preservation. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to renovate the four batting cages at the facility and transform them into netted hitting bays for full-swing practice; build a short-game practice area with a 9-hole artificial chipping/pitching green & practice bunker; and renovate and reopen all 36 holes of the former Goofy Golf course. Funds would be used to purchase netting and materials for the full swing facility; synthetic greens, net structure and bunker at the short game facility; paint, carpet, rails and tee mats for the Goofy Golf restoration and landscaping. The renovation plans and selected materials (more synthetics than naturals, conversion to LED lighting, etc.) have been chosen for simplicity, durability, and efficiency so as to minimize ongoing maintenance and operational costs.

Community Impact

The target participants for the Golf and Life Skills Training Facility project are the 800-plus current Life Skills Learning Clinic participants First Tee serves annually in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, as well as an underserved at-need community of young people ages 5-18 in the Warrington Area. The Golf and Life Skills Training Facility project will impact the target population by adding personal growth and development opportunities for existing participants (of whom 34% are minority and 39% female) and by attracting new participants from the Warrington at-need demographic. First Tee will use the mini-golf facility as an introductory point to teach real golf skills and more importantly, life skills and character education. Third party researchers have shown that Life Skills Learning Experience participants perform better academically with the instillation of proper values. The First Tee believes this facility will create a community asset that is both a means to an improved way of life for area youth and a point of pride as a model of historic preservation. The organization plans to offer the full facility for field trip, community groups, limited community play days, and for private event rentals that will generate revenue to be used in The First Tee programs. First Tee personnel desire for this facility to tangibly produce young people who are both good citizens and practitioners of a lifetime sport, rooted in the nine core values of The First Tee.