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NORTON, Massachusetts – Andre Tippett spent his Hall of Fame football career delivering crushing hits as a linebacker for the New England Patriots. Today, he’s crushing golf balls instead but doing so for a good cause.
On Monday, Tippett played in the First Tee of Massachusetts Charity Tournament at TPC Boston in Norton for the first time. His participation helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the First Tee Of Massachusetts, a youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people.
Tippett lives in Sharon and is a member of The Cape Club of Sharon. He also serves as the Executive Director of Community Affairs for the Patriots. Four years ago, he gave the welcome speech at the 2016 Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Mass Golf caught up with Tippett before he teed off in Monday’s charity tournament.
This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Mass Golf: How much experience and familiarity have you had with First Tee?
Andre Tippett: I’m aware of all of the things that the First Tee does. They’re trying to create more opportunities for people to play golf. You know, it’s a great learning site for new beginners and folks who have never played the game before. It’s a wonderful way to learn the game and learn to play the right way.
It’s amazing when you meet people in this game and you find out how they learn how to play and you know what they are getting out of the game. It’s always a mixed message that you get from a lot of people, and I think First Tee offers a real good opportunity for folks to learn how to play the game.
MG: How did you get your start in golf?
AT: I used to play a lot in the charity events, and I still do some; not as many as I used to in the past, but that’s how I started playing. Basically, they’d say, ‘Andre, will you go and play in the Boys and Girls Club event or the Genesis or so and so’s charitable event.
MG: So how did those go?
AT: I’d go out and have fun, but I realized I was missing out on something, and I found out I liked playing the game. For a lot of years, while I was playing in my professional career, I would dabble a little bit, but it wasn’t until I really retired from football, after the 1993 season, I kind of stepped my game up from taking lessons, learning how to play the game a little bit better and understanding the overall game. I’m hooked like you read about.
MG: Have your own kids had any experience with First Tee or youth golf in general?
AT: No, but all my kids at some point have all learned how to play the game. My son (Coby, 22), who I think has the opportunity to be a really good player, I started getting him lessons when he was 4 or 5 years old. He has a pretty good game. Like all young kids who come into the game, they want to bomb it off the tee. He’s one of those guys that probably hits a ball 20-to-30 yards farther than me, and I brought him to the game. But I’ll get him around the greens.
MG: Do you get to play any golf outside of events?
AT: I spend a lot of time at Pine Hills Golf Club, playing down there when I want to get away and just go and really take it all in. This is just a great game.