- Golfer Benefits
NORTON, Massachusetts — First Tee — Massachusetts, a youth development organization where kids and teens are learning life lessons and leadership skills through golf, held its 16th annual fundraiser tournament under comfortable fall conditions Monday at TPC Boston.
Another strong showing of 128 golfers took part in the shotgun start event at TPC Boston, with the proceeds supporting programs and organizational activities for First Tee — Massachusetts. According to Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for First Tee — Massachusetts, the tournament has continued to grow each year with the net revenue from this year’s tournament increasing by 35% over 2021’s outing.
“We’re extremely grateful to have vast support from our golf community in sustaining our annual operations as well as efforts to expand our programming in physical locations and the depth of our overall offerings,” said Harris, who has led the First Tee program since 2018. “We had a lot of first-time participants this year based on an increase in sponsors, and some new player groups joining us. We have now tripled the net revenue coming in from this fundraiser since 2018, and I’m extremely proud of the hard work our staff and our Committee has put into growing the impact of this annual event.”
This year’s increase in sponsors was highlighted by a new Presenting Sponsor in Lighthouse Electrical Contracting, Inc., a full-service, union electrical contractor based in Rockland. Herbie Aikens, president of Lighthouse Electrical and a decorated amateur golfer, serves on the First Tee Committee and has been a steadfast supporter of the organization.
“Golf is the game I love, and it’s bringing the game to people who would otherwise struggle to get access,” Aikens said. “We contribute to a lot of organizations, but this one creates great humans, and the everlasting effects are unquantifiable. This is something near and dear to my heart, and hopefully we want to support this cause forever.”
“We are so thankful for Lighthouse’s commitment to this event and to the First Tee – Massachusetts chapter overall,” said Harris. “When the presenting sponsor opportunity opened, Herbie immediately stepped in to sponsor this year and also expressed his desire for a long-term partnership. That kind of support and commitment is what every non-profit organization dreams about and we can’t express our gratitude strongly enough.”
Aikens played in a four-some with J.P. Norden, who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing and since then his family has launched its own charity to help other amputees in need through fundraising efforts.
Other notable participants in the field included 2022 Special Olympics gold medalist Tyler Lagasse, whose story was profiled in the Fall 2022 edition of MassGolfer Magazine. Lagasse works part-time at PGA Tour Superstore, and he played with Tim Carlson, Kevin Cullivan, and Greg Cosgrove, the general managers of the three PGA Tour Superstore locations in Massachusetts (Braintree, Natick, Peabody).
Sarah Forbes, chair of the First Tee Committee also participated, as did Kyzar Joshi, a high school senior who completed the First Tee Ace Level this year. First Tee lead coach Joe Eadie (Springfield) and Kevin Frawley, the head golf professional at William J. Devine Golf Course, the Boston site for First Tee, were also playing.
As for results, Andrew Godek, Michael Rolleri, Roy Dellinger, and John Rolleri took home the low gross team score of 8-under-par 65. Godek shot 3-under 68 on his own ball that included an eagle on the par-5 14th. The team of Phil Colletti, Alex Coletti, Ryan Bjorn, and John Driscoll won the net division, winning a three-way tiebreaker with a score of 14-under 59.
In addition to this year’s tournament, there are many ways you can support the mission of First Tee and help us introduce the game of golf and its inherent values like honesty, respect, and confidence, to kids and teens. Options include: equipment donations, volunteerism, and monetary contributions.
To learn more about giving back to First Tee Massachusetts, visit: FirstTeeMass.org
In 2003, Mass Golf was selected by The First Tee to join its national network with the goal of bringing an affordable junior golf program to youth and communities that did not have them.
Since that time, Mass Golf has introduced eight program locations: D.W. Field Golf Course (Brockton), William J. Devine GC at Franklin Park (Boston), Hyannis Golf Course (Cape Cod), Cranberry Valley Golf Course (Harwich), Fenway Golf Center (Springfield), KOHR Golf (Natick), The Links at Mass Golf (Norton), and The Ranch Golf Club (Southwick).
As part of the curriculum, the children progress through a series of golf lessons where they are introduced to the different aspects of a golf course including the green, tee, fairway, rough, bunkers, and water hazards. The participants are also introduced to the basic elements of the game of golf and the swing including distance and accuracy control, course management, how to score, pace of play, honor, and proper, grip, stance, and posture.
In addition to golf, the participants are introduced to the nine core values inherent to the game including honesty, integrity, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, sportsmanship, judgment, respect, and courtesy. The life skills experience was the platform used in getting the participants to become comfortable with introducing themselves to others, meeting new people, learning something new, setting goals, and dealing with conflict. The life skills learned are useful for the participants both on and off the golf course.