- Golfer Benefits
NORTON, Massachusetts — It’s been a celebratory year for First Tee – Massachusetts as it recognizes 20 years since its founding as the state’s chapter of the national youth development organization where kids and teens are learning life lessons and leadership skills through golf,
On Monday, the chapter’s annual fundraising tournament at TPC Boston reached new heights as it raised approximately $115,000 that will fund programming and organizational activities for the upcoming year and beyond. The fundraiser is part of the Applied Underwriters Invitational, and the winners Monday were invited to play in the National Finals in May 2024 at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.
“The fact that this many people came out and braved the rain to support First Tee again this year is really meaningful,” said Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for First Tee Massachusetts. “To see other people support and care about it and recognize that what we do makes a difference is huge. The money we raised is game-changing for us.”
For the second straight year, Lighthouse Electrical served as the tournament’s Presenting Sponsor. Herbie Aikens, who qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship earlier this year, is the company’s owner and founder. In addition to securing sponsorships and funding support, Aikens played in the tournament and donated several prizes for the day.
“I love the game of golf and what it’s done for me so to know that it’s doing great things for other people, we hope it opens up so many doors for them,” Aikens said. “The positive influence it’s been on their life makes you so happy and so proud, and then to know that it’s actually reaching into newer communities and the communities that it’s already existing is growing, that’s what it’s all about.”
Aikens also provided an idea for a new twist to this year’s on-course festivities. He brought in Brockton native and amateur standout Matt Parziale who has partnered with Aikens in several statewide and national four-ball championships over the years. Parziale, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur winner, participated in a “beat the pro” style contest on the par-3 8th hole. Participants tried to hit a shot closer to the hole than the amateur standout, and for extra money could choose the club Parziale used in his attempt — including in some cases a putter or driver.
“Every year we try to add something and to have a high-level amateur player give up his time to volunteer to be here and support us was huge,” Harris said of Parziale. “We’re definitely going to do that again next year. Players seem to appreciate it.”
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As for results, James O’Neill, Robert Smith, Michael Antonietti, and Mike Canal earned the trip to Big Cedar with a low net score of 20-under 53 in the best-ball format. The team had three net eagles, including two straight from Antonietti on holes 11 and 12.
Michael Quirk, Dan Moran, Jud Milam, and Andrew Eggleston earned the low gross total at 9-under-par 64 as they collected 10 birdies, including three straight from Moran on holes 12-14.
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 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 10 program locations: Cyprian Keyes Golf Club (Boylston), 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), Sagamore Spring Golf Club (Lynnfield), 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. As participants grow and improve their golf skills, they will meet new challenges and potentially earn opportunities to play and compete on the local or national level.
In addition to golf, the participants are introduced to the First Tee Program, which is the curriculum of age-appropriate life skills that are interwoven into our golf lessons. Participants develop resilience, grit, and integrity as they experience lessons that fall into one of our five Key Commitment categories, which include Pursuing Goals, Growing through Challenge, Collaborating with Others, Building Positive Self Identity, and Using Good Judgment.