First Tee offers lessons for a lifetime

When students sign-up for one of my First Tee classes, my guess is they think the classes will be all about golf skills like putting, chipping and driving. I bet they don’t know that they will be required to learn life skills as well including the nine core values of the First Tee.

Scott Roth, head golf professional, Victory Links Golf Course, Blaine
Scott Roth, head golf professional, Victory Links Golf Course, Blaine

Some of the values are easy for kids to understand and remember like sportsmanship and honesty. Some are more difficult to understand like perseverance and integrity. But all nine are important. Just for the record, the nine core values are sportsmanship, courtesy, honesty, integrity, perseverance, confidence, respect, judgment and responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong, we do teach traditional golf skills, but that is only half the story. I have had many parents who have come back to me months after the class was over and tell me how the First Tee has changed their child’s attitude around the house and at school (for the better).

I think some adults you and I know could benefit from attending a First Tee class and being taught the nine core values. For example, during a recent tournament at my golf course a player had an accident with one of the golf carts. I talked to the player to get his information and he gave me a false name and phone number. When I asked some of the other players in the event who knew him (seven people standing together) what his real name was they all stood silent and just looked at me.

It was like something out of a movie. I have heard stories of things like this happening, but I have never been involved directly. If other people had not witnessed it, I would have though it didn’t really happen. I even asked the group twice what his real name was and they all just looked at me with blank faces and said nothing. This is a group of people who have forgotten at least five of the core values. They had no idea what courtesy, honesty, integrity, respect, judgment and responsibility were.

Thankfully, I don’t run across situations like that every day or even every week. But it wouldn’t hurt most of us (me included) to look over those core values once and a while.

For every story I may have with a bad ending, I know 10 more with a good ending. Just the other day, someone came to the golf course and donated over a thousand golf balls for our junior golf programs and wanted nothing in return. Another person came to me this season and wanted to volunteer as a course marshal and wants nothing in return.

There are also the dozens of lost clubs turned into the clubhouse each month, not to mention the hundreds of head covers and other items. All of these people absolutely know something about core values.

Hopefully then next time you are faced with a situation in your life where you need to make a tough decision; one of the 9 core values can help you make the right choice.

Scott Roth, PGA member, is head golf professional at Victory Links Golf Course in Blaine.