First Tee Program Starting Level for Kids

We are often asked at what level a child should be placed within the First Tee Program. This brochure, Recommended Starting Program Levels highlights the recommended age ranges for our certification levels and provides an overview of the Life Skills categories associated with them. It also provides a excellent summary of the core lessons your child will learn throughout their development within our program. Please review and if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Lead Coach Rob McGill 1-800-322-4352 or e-mail [email protected] 

Life Skills Experience

Through Life Skills Experience, participants learn valuable lessons about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude; how to make decisions by thinking about the possible consequences and how to define and set goals from the golf course to everyday life. These lessons for life are taught through a variety of golf-related activities designed with the primary goal of having fun. Participants learn about themselves and others through a range of experiences enhancing their golf skills as well as their fundamental values for life. As their opportunities on the golf course expand, so do the opportunities for their futures. All participants receive The First Tee Card so their progress can be observed as they advance through The First Tee certification levels of Player, Par, Birdie, Eagle, and Ace. Each stage introduces young people to different aspects of golf and life skills. The lessons learned through the Life Skills Experience are lessons that will remain with young people well into their future, regardless of how long they play golf.

Certification Program

The First Tee wants everyone who completes The First Tee program to have acquired basic golf skills and to be able to demonstrate certain fundamental life skill concepts – such as interpersonal communication and the importance of rules and etiquette. At each level of the program – Player, Par, Birdie, and Eagle – participants will go through a Certification Process testing and evaluating participants' understanding of and ability to apply what was taught. Participants will complete a given number of golf and life skills lessons, and play a certain number of rounds on the chapter courses. They also will demonstrate and/or discuss core life skills and basic golf skills for instructors, who evaluate their performance. The primary objective of the Certification Process is to ensure participants have been exposed to core lesson material and have a basic grasp of the concepts and skills. Certification testing is an opportunity to reinforce those concepts. The process is designed to provide additional assistance to those who need help in certain areas while advancing other students to the next level to acquire more life skills. If someone is having difficulty with an aspect of the testing process, instructors will help review the material and let him or her try again. Each of the testing and evaluation forms states the specific score required to pass the golf and life skills sections at Player, Par, Birdie, and Eagle levels. The testing and evaluation for life and golf skills is done at the same time so participants understand the life skills are as important, if not more so than their golf skills.

Five-Part Certification Program

The First Tee Certification Process has five general requirements: core lesson exposure, life skills application, golf skills application, life skills knowledge, golf knowledge. As coaches review the requirements and examine the assessments utilized for participant progression through The First Tee Certification, they may notice specific golf techniques such as grip, aim, and balance are not assessed. Each level of the Life Skills Experience can be taught seamlessly with golf skills curricula; consequently, coaches are encouraged to develop and utilize their own golf skills curriculum and methods of assessing golf technique or use a pre-existing golf skills curriculum. Core Lesson Exposure: For each program level, participants must be exposed to all core lessons in The First Tee Life Skills Experience. If participants miss any core lesson content, Chapters are held accountable for exposing all participants to the missed content either through one-on-one instruction or a make class, before they can complete the remaining requirements for The First Tee Certification. Life Skills Application: This assessment examines the ability of participants to apply life skills learned to golf and non-golf settings. Participants’ ability to apply life skills is determined through ongoing behavioral observations occurring during class activities. Chapters should assess life skills as designated by The First Tee home office. Golf Skills Application: Participants should be assessed on golf skills in four areas: putting, short game, full-swing (fairways) and full-swing (greens). Although The First Tee Golf Skills application assesses performance on the same golf skills as participants move through the levels, there is a progression in performance required at each level. Life Skills Knowledge: This is a written review of life skills knowledge participants have gained through their participation in The First Tee Life Skills Experience. Golf Knowledge: This is a written review of general golf knowledge, The Rules of Golf and etiquette participants have gained through their participation in the Life Skills Experience.