The mission statement of First Tee — Tulsa is to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Our motto is to “teach life skills through the game of golf.”
This story aired recently on News On 6, and takes a look at how First Tee — Tulsa is impacting the lives of some kids who live at Parkview Terrace.
Our vision is to provide all kids ages 8-18 an opportunity to join our large First Tee family and enjoy the great game of golf while learning valuable life lessons. First Tee program seamlessly uses the game of golf as a vehicle to instill in our members the inherent qualities (values) of the game. We provide all equipment necessary for the class however, if a player has their own equipment, we encourage them to bring it. Programming is offered to all students at no cost.
About First Tee — Tulsa
First Tee — Tulsa is a character development youth program teaching life skills using the game of golf as the vehicle. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located at Mohawk Park Golf Course and Page Belcher Golf Course in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as The Canyons at Blackjack Ridge in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. First Tee — Tulsa is one of 180 licensed First Tee chapters worldwide. Our licensed demographic area includes all of northeastern Oklahoma.
The goal of the founders of First Tee — Tulsa was to offer the program at no cost to any participant. To this day, First Tee — Tulsa continues to be one of the few chapters in the entire First Tee Network that offers this opportunity at no cost to the schools, kids, or their families.
First Tee — Tulsa is a year-round program in which students come to our main location at Mohawk Park Golf Course or our affiliate location, Page Belcher Golf Course, in the spring, summer and fall. Thanks to a sponsorship from Mike Case, programming also began in 2019 at The Canyons at Blackjack Ridge in Sand Springs, Oklahoma in the spring, summer, and fall.
During the winter, First Tee — Tulsa staff visits schools, exposing kids who would most likely not play golf to both the program and the game. Students ages 8-18 are welcome to register.
There are eight levels of promotion in the program: Sorenstam, Jones, Hogan, Whitworth, Palmer, Birdie, Eagle, and Ace. Each program level addresses different life skills and golf skills.
Funds from the 1995 and 1996 PGA TOUR Championships were placed in the Southern Hills Country Club Charitable Foundation and in March 2000, Southern Hills Country Club’s Board of Governors approved application of the foundation assets toward the promotion of golf and tennis to children of all diversities and social strata. The Southern Hills Country Club Charitable Foundation has been instrumental in the development and continued success of the First Tee program at Mohawk Park for the youth of Tulsa. Nick Sidorakis and the Southern Hills Country Club Board of Governors continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes raising and seeking funding to defray operational costs to keep the program free to all participants. This program is an initiative to provide access to the game of golf to all kids. The program is grounded on golf’s unique way of instilling and nurturing essential values such as honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and a solid work ethic in young people.
In 1999, a partnership between Southern Hills Country Club Charitable Foundation and First Tee was formed. The physical plant construction was started in the summer of 2000 and was completed in 2001. Phase one included construction of a practice driving range and chipping and putting green (which Mohawk Park has never had) for use by the general public and the First Tee program. Further, it included the re-routing of the back nine of the Pecan Valley Golf Course for the First Tee program. In excess of $475,000 was raised to start the phase two construction of the Junior Golf Headquarters and Learning Center.
Janice Gibson was hired as the Program Director in the spring of 2001 and the first classes were in session the summer of 2001.
Sunday, October 14, 2001, was the grand opening of First Tee — Tulsa Junior Golf Headquarters and Learning Center at Mohawk Park Golf Course. The 5,079 square foot facility (enclosed area and porches, decks, etc.) features an indoor hitting facility, including a computer learning center; classrooms to conduct educational programs; class space for activities that will develop participants’ self-esteem, civic responsibility and confidence to broaden their goals in life.
The grand opening was well-attended by the program participants, their parents, First Tee — Tulsa Board members, program instructors, the Tulsa community and representatives from the First Tee home office. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a life-size version of the statue entitled, “Someday,” created by Rosalind Cook for the U.S. Open contestants, was unveiled. Southern Hills Country Club Charitable Foundation donated the statue to First Tee—Tulsa in honor of Al Bush, Chairman of the 101st U.S. Open, for his efforts on behalf of Southern Hills Country Club. The statue is dedicated to all the boys and girls who, through First Tee, will have the opportunity to play and enjoy the great game of golf.
About Us Today
Since its inception through November 2021, more than 100,000 students have participated in First Tee — Tulsa programming.
Our 8-week sessions at First Tee — Tulsa Learning Center at Mohawk Park Golf Course, Page Belcher Golf Course, Canyons at Blackjack Ridge, and other partnering facilities through 2021 have taught over 26,000 students.
In addition, through the end of 2021, more than 73,000 students have been introduced to the game and its inherent values during outreach programming that consists of our Winter Program, The National School Program, and our Outreach Clinics, in which First Tee staff goes into the schools and introduces young people to First Tee — Tulsa. At First Tee — Tulsa, we use golf as the vehicle through which kids can accomplish their dreams, thrive socially, excel academically and athletically, and become productive members of society with integrity, strong family values, and commitment.
For more details about our facility and programs, please contact our offices at (918) 591-4168 or email us at [email protected].