Annual Mentor/Junior Tournament

First Tee – Silicon Valley held our annual Mentor-Junior Tournament at Rancho del Pueblo Golf Course on November 13th.  Twenty-five participants paired with twenty-five mentors, including seven Stanford Men’s Golf Team members, and competed in an alternate shot stroke play tournament. Tournament experience is always valuable for young golfers, especially when they can learn from the accomplished Stanford Men’s Golf Team and form new social bonds with them.

“Watching the participants, mentors (FTSV coaches and Stanford Golfers) and parents/guardians all come together, share laughs, and have a good time is all we could ask for,” said Program Coordinator, Robby Keith. “Our tournaments are great ways for our participants and families to build their skills while forging a family-like community.” 

Thank you to our participants and mentors for attending and making the event fun and formative for all.

FTSV hosts a tournament quarterly, 2 weeks after each season ends. We hope to increase the capacity of these events and encourage many more FTSV participants to join us in our next tournament, which will be our Adult/Junior Tournament on February 26th. We hope to see you there, and look forward to your continued support! For more information on our tournaments please visit our youth opportunity page.

Below are the results of the tournament as well as a few pictures.

Par Division:

1st place = Jesse Jang and Martin Fu

Birdie Division:

1st place = Vincent Vo, Nicolas Hernandez, and a Stanford player

Eagle/Ace Division:

1st Place = Joshua Jang and his Stanford partner

Girls Golf – Fall Festive Play Day

First Tee – Silicon Valley capped off the Fall season with our third Girls Golf event of the year – Fall Festive Play Day on November 13th. Our 16 girl golfers wore their favorite cozy sweater and joined us for an “unbeleafable” time. The girls played on the course with our female FTSV coaches, and practiced their teamwork skills while playing different themed games including, Pumpkin Golf, Archery Golf, Speed Golf and Beat the Coach Golf. Girl golfers Elsa, Elena, Taj and Zoe sure knew pace of play as they got the fastest time for Speed Golf, finishing hole 3 in less than 4 minutes!

In addition to the golf, the girls used their art skills to decorate their Fall-themed ornaments, and took part in a trivia challenge where Elise and Taj took home the prize which was a pumpkin carved by FTSV coach Jasmine.

“This Girls Golf Play Day was special because we had five new Girls Golf members that joined for the first time. It was also great to see the engagement between our female coaches and the Girl Golfers as we empowered the girls with confidence and helped them develop their skills on the golf course,” shared FTSV Program Coordinator, Gabby Ruiz.

Girls Golf events occur 4 times a year. In each event our female participants play golf games and engage in team-building activities that fosters empowerment, healthy habits, and provides an outlet to build positive self-esteem.

Make sure to join us for the next Girls Golf event by visiting our Youth Opportunity page. Registration for the 2022 Girls Golf Play Day held on February 26th will open February 9th. See you in 2022!

Sales of Bay Area RG9 Hats Benefit First Tee – Silicon Valley

Start your Christmas shopping now by clicking here for your choice of 4 Bay Area hometown sports colors while supplies last and support FTSV with our goal of raising $10,000 through this partnership.

d.hudson Golfwear and San Francisco 49ers kicker, Robbie Gould, have partnered together to create the Bay Area RG9 hat series, sales of which will go toward supporting a charitable cause.  Their first collection features iconic images representing The Bay in hometown sports colors.  d.hudson and Robbie have selected First Tee – Silicon Valley as the beneficiary of the first collection, donating a portion of the proceeds to the organization ($5 of $35 website price). 

As a company founded in San Francisco, d.hudson Golfwear is proud to join hometown football star Robbie Gould in giving back to the community.  Rock the Hud with Bay Area pride!

FTSV is a non-profit dedicated to Building Game Changers so all kids have a chance to grow in a supportive environment with mentors, who are accessible, welcoming and impactful, guiding them through a golf program.

First Tee Innovators Forum in SJ – Nancy Rivera Awarded $10,000 scholarship!

First Tee – Silicon Valley participant Nancy Rivera represented First Tee — Silicon Valley exceptionally when she attended the 2021 Innovators Forum in San Jose, CA. Nancy’s continued effort in her community and in her school were large factors into getting accepted to participate and her project gained her a $10,000 scholarship towards continuing her education.

The First Tee Innovators Forum empowered selected First Tee teens to develop a meaningful service project in their communities focusing on raising awareness on global issues focusing on education, health, and sustainability. Twenty-six participants were selected from across the country and had the opportunity to learn from global industry leaders through interactive workshops and small group breakout sessions.

“FTSV was very pleased to have the FT Innovators Forum here in Silicon Valley giving the outstanding participants who attended from around the country a taste of Silicon Valley.” said First Tee – Silicon Valley CEO and President, George Maxe. “That included the inspirational keynote address of Frank Carbajal, the founder of Silicon Valley Leadership Summit at EsTiempo LLC. Frank is an accomplished author and thought leader who spoke to the participants about culture, leadership and performance as well as his upbringing in East San Jose.”

As a result of group workshops and motivating speeches by Frank and others, Nancy narrowed in on her project, which will provide resources to promote and explain higher education in low income and undocumented communities.

“As a first generation in my family to go college and graduate high school, I have faced challenges such as understanding the college application process, college requirements, and federal documents/financial options,” said Nancy. “Being able to have mentors in First Tee and taking the FTSV Educational Ace project has definitely helped me through this difficult and foreign process. I know others in my position are not exposed to the same opportunities or guidance, which led me to think that everyone should have a support system or a place where they are able to go and receive this help for free. For my family and I, it was not just the higher educational process that was challenging or was unknown, but navigating this space in a foreign language that made it that much more challenging, and is why I want to provide this help in Spanish.”

“I want to provide different workshops that can help with the college application process like filling out FAFSA, or preparing for the common application process, or discussing financial options. Many schools do not offer this information and specifically do not offer it in Spanish which is what I would like to change. I want to break down stereotypes and would like our families to see higher education as being possible. I have already started reserving meeting spaces, thanks to my school, to host several of these workshops and hope to have my project up a running by March of 2022. I have had a great go-to team (which is one of the Eagle core life lessons) and I now want to be a go-to person for others in need.”

Her leadership and project work helped her be selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship towards continuing her education! According to Director of Events at First Tee HQ, Brandon Luna, “Nancy is an incredible representation of First Tee! We have great confidence in her project she developed in San Jose and know she has a bright future ahead of her.”  

The Innovators Forum is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to inspire and equip teens on a deeper level as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. Congratulations Nancy on a well-deserved honor! We are very proud of her and of her actions to make this world a better place for all!

To apply for the national opportunities, one must progress through our program to the advance levels of our program. To find out more about our national opportunities, please visit our youth opportunity page.

Battle of the Bays @ TopGolf – Monday, Jan 31st

Form your 6-person “A Team” for a fun and competitive evening at TopGolf on Monday, January 31st from 6pm – 9pm for the Battle of the Bays benefiting First Tee – Silicon Valley.  This event is perfect for employee team building or to invite clients, customers, family or friends. Challenge your industry peers to see if they’ve got the game to compete!

Each team member will hit 40 balls (8 to each of 5 targets) playing 2 Top Contender games to gain the maximum points for their team, which will be officially scored on the Top Golf leaderboard. Teams will be grouped and compete within industry divisions.  Teams with the highest 2-game total will be declared the Division Winners. The team with the top score will be crowned the inaugural “Battle of the Bays” Champion, awarded golf and lunch for 6 at Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach and showcased as FTSV’s Sponsor of the Year at all ’22 events.

Show your philanthropic and competitive spirit by stepping up as a $10,000 Sponsor!

Benefits include:

  • 6-person team plus up to 6 additional guests
  • All-inclusive taco bar buffet and beverages for 12 + 2 cocktails per person
  • Raffle Tickets and Tee Prizes (1 of each per team member)
  • Sponsor logo featured on event materials and FTSV website for 2022
  • 90% Tax Deductible Donation

Proceeds will benefit FTSV STEM Education and Financial Aid.

FTSV exists to enable kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By seamlessly integrating the game of golf with FTSV’s life skills curriculum, we create learning experiences that build inner the strength, self-confidence, and resilience that kids carry in everything they do. With the belief that ALL kids deserve the chance to grow in a supportive environment with mentors guiding them, we are dedicated to building life-changing programs that are as inclusive, accessible, and impactful as they are fun.

Register here

Or contact our Development Director, Judy Dixon Deaton [email protected] or 408-508-4881.

Register Now for Student-Centered Classes

How do you learn best? This is a question we pose to our participants in the survey we pass out each season. The participants consistently rank the three in the following order,  # 1 – learn by doing, #2 –  learn by seeing, and #3 – learn by hearing.

Learning by doing is a student-centered approach to learning where coaches facilitate through guiding, open-ended questions and participants have a more hands-on approach to learning the material. For us that means participants are asked to demonstrate and reflect on how they are using the life lesson and golf skill in the games. Our coaches are encouraged to meet the students where they are and adapt to the individual.  Contrastingly, a teacher–centered approach is one that includes information being passed on in the form of a lecture or a direct instruction from the coach. Everyone learns differently and learning through hearing does work for some so there is a part of our classes where our coaches tell and explain the skill.

However, far more frequently we want to guide them and engage them using games. For that reason, our staff spends time and energy into making our games not just fun and visually enticing, but also purposeful to help put participants into situations where they can experience and work on the specific golf and life skill of the day.

This Winter season we are excited to present a myriad of golf activities and our goal is that participants have fun while learning.

Registration for the Winter season is now open. There are a few spaces still available, especially for our Par level. The season itself will start November 30th and will end February 5th with two break weeks 12/19 to 1/3. The classes will take place at Baylands Golf Links in Palo Alto, Rancho Del Pueblo Golf Course in San Jose, and Gavilan Golf Course in Gilroy.  We encourage everyone 2nd grade and above to join our program and help spread the word. For more information on our programs please visit https://www.firstteesiliconvalley.org/. and click here for the Winter schedule.

We hope to see you at the course!

Help teach valuable life lesson– Be a volunteer coach!

First Tee — Silicon Valley is looking for high quality caring people that are interested in making a positive impact on youth. Volunteer coaches make the core lessons come to life by finding and using coachable moments. They also work together to make the classes fun and engaging and build a space where mentoring relationships can be formed and grow.

Learn new skills.

Our experience as coaches is that we are constantly learning, learning strategies for class management, class flow, lesson delivery, and how to connect. In our in-person volunteer training we review our coaching strategies, our golf cues, and our best practices. Also, at our in-person trainings we usually hear the phrase, “Wow, this skill really helps my game!” We have supplemental online coach resources available for coach development. However, where we learn the most is through experience and working together with a team of caring coaches. We strive to provide a supportive space where one can learn with others that share a similar passion for helping others.

Coaching makes a big difference.

When we ask and survey our advanced participants about their experience in First Tee, they overwhelmingly credit their coaches for improving their communication skills, and their ability to overcome challenges. Additionally, they say they are appreciative of the relationships they formed and the confidence they gained from having their coach believe in them. In a national study across the First Tee network, 87% of First Tee alumni said their relationships with their coaches were meaningful and grew stronger over time. These relationships were based on empathy, high positive expectations, and advocacy (e.g., open doors and eyes to new experiences). According to our participant surveys over the last year, on average:

  • 86% said their life skills have improved.
  • 95% said their golf skills have improved.
  • 97% said their coaches made the classes fun
  • 93% said they felt part of the group.

Ace Education Project – Learning What’s Next!

At First Tee – Silicon Valley, we believe in education and building life skills through golf. Golf is an excellent vehicle to practice collaborative and effective communication, learn self-management techniques, and set goals. These skills are developed in our first 4 class levels (PLAYer through Eagle). However, in our top level we dive deeper into 3 specific projects – career exploration, volunteering, and post high school education.

This Fall season we have had 20 Ace students (a new FTSV record) take part in the education module. Over the 8-weeks the participants explored a myriad of strategies for post high school identification starting with self-identification, and then progressing to research methods for schools, identifying what to look for and how to find it. Then we extensively discussed the college applications process, covering essay writing strategies, interviews, dates and deadlines, and identifying project management tools to set and monitor their progress and goals. We reviewed financial planning options for college, including the various available scholarships and where to find them, as well as defining and differentiating loans vs grants. We also explored the different costs associated with the multiple post high school educational options. Lastly, we introduced budgeting to help provide the framework needed to pay for school after high school.

“Ace Education is one of my favorite classes to teach,” says FTSV Program Director, Chris Moreno-Hunt. “The college process can be overwhelming, and several concepts within this process are not adequately covered in school, so anytime we can help ease their anxiety and help prepare them for their future, it is a gratifying experience.”

One of our goals is to have participants retain in our program and continue to learn the skills as they progress through our 5 levels. We are fortunate to have a large group of Ace participants that are taking advantage of these projects and passing on their acquired knowledge to our younger participants by way of volunteering.

To find out more about program please visit our Youth Classes page.

3rd Annual Challenge Cup Returns Dec 3rd

Our 3rd Annual Challenge Cup returns on Friday, December 3rd with 6 Country Clubs participating*.  It is an inclusive and friendly challenge between golf clubs benefiting the First Tee – Silicon Valley to help us grow the game of golf while building game changers in our community. It is an opportunity for golf clubs to demonstrate their philanthropic spirit of giving back to a non-profit closely associated with their favorite past time.

The head-to-head challenge matchups competing for the Challenge Cup are: 

  • La Rinconada Vs Almaden  
  • Silver Creek Vs San Jose  
  • Sharon Heights Vs Menlo  

These same clubs raised $56,600 last year while La Rinconada was crowned the cup winner!

(See results below.)

All teams are encouraged to include men, women, seniors and teens in their team tally. Each participant makes a donation to benefit the FTSV to register. The format is a Point Par Scoring with 100% of Handicap — Net Par 1point, Net Birdie 2 points, Net Eagle 3 points, and Net Albatross 4 points.   Other members can make donations to support their club team. 

Click here to register or donate

The Aggregate of Top 24 scores from each Club determines their team score. The Team scores will be compared to rival Club to determine each match up Club winner. All money raised by both teams will be donated to FTSV in the name of the winning club plus bragging rights!  The team with highest overall score among ALL Clubs is declared winner of the 3rd Annual Challenge Cup Perpetual Trophy!

The donations from the Challenge Cup will allow us to create a sense of belonging for all kids – no matter what walk of life. It will help us build the strength of character that empowers kids through a lifetime of new challenges by seamlessly integrating the game of golf with life skills.

If your golf club wants to challenge another club, Contact Development Director, Judy Dixon Deaton to get started 408-508-4881 – [email protected].

The 2nd Annual Challenge Cup was awarded to LaRinconada Country Club scoring 434 Points – the most of the 6 competing clubs.  Thank you to all of the 181 donors that supported us! 

USGA Extends Longtime Support of First Tee to Strengthen Diversity in the Game

USGA IDEA grant program delivers $200K to First Tee chapters in support of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts.  Silicon Valley local chapter awarded $10K. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has distributed $200,000 in grants across 20 First Tee chapters through the inaugural IDEA grant program – a dedicated effort to directly empower inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts at the local golf level. First Tee – Silicon Valley was awarded a $10,000 local grant which will partially fund a Program Coordinator position dedicated to growing our Community Program with Title 1 schools in the East Palo Alto, Redwood City, and the Fair Oaks underserved neighborhoods near our Baylands Golf Links class location. The program was created this year to address the barriers that underserved and underrepresented youths face in their potential introduction to and participation in golf and First Tee’s character-building programs. “We have a commitment as an organization to be an impactful partner to those in the industry who share our vision for what we want golf’s future to look like,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Both the USGA and First Tee believe that golf is a better game now and, in the future, when it’s accessible and representative of everyone, and it starts at the junior level.” “The USGA’s support is a game changer for youths in the communities that we serve,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “With these grants, our chapters are opening the door to even more youth, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, to explore the possibilities in golf and beyond as they build their character and life lessons through the game.” Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $33 million among First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt programs in an effort to provide greater access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game. The commitment is part of a $1.3 million annual investment the organization makes in national programs that reach young people, fueled by revenue from the U.S. Open. Grant applications were available to First Tee chapters located within the 14 markets where USGA championships took place in 2021 and where they are scheduled in 2022, as well as chapters affiliated with one of the association’s 59 Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). Located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, AGAs serve millions of golfers at the recreational level by increasing engagement and participation and improving the golfer experience. The 2021 grant recipients include:
First Tee Chapter USGA Championship Host Communities and Supporting USGA Allied Golf Associations
First Tee — Central Carolina 2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Coachella Valley Southern California Golf Association
First Tee — Connecticut 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, Connecticut State Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Baltimore   2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Charleston Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Greater Cincinnati Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Pasadena Southern California Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Philadelphia Golf Association of Philadelphia
First Tee — Greater Washington, DC 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — Hawaii Hawaii State Golf Association
First Tee — Louisville Kentucky Golf Association
First Tee — Metropolitan New York   2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Metropolitan Golf Association
First Tee — Omaha 2021 U.S. Senior Open, Nebraska Golf Association
First Tee — Pittsburgh   2021 U.S. Amateur, Western Pennsylvania Golf Association
First Tee — San Diego 2021 U.S. Open, Southern California Golf Association
First Tee — Sandhills 2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Silicon Valley 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Northern California Golf Association
First Tee — Upstate South Carolina Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — West Michigan 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, Golf Association of Michigan
First Tee — West Virginia West Virginia Golf Association
  About the USGA The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.

Charles Schwab Challenge Grant

We are excited to share an amazing opportunity for First Tee — Silicon Valley and our community.  We can make every gift go further, reach more kids and teens in our community, and make a bigger impact than ever before thanks to the announcement of the Charles Schwab Challenge Grant. This program is only possible because of the leadership and commitment of Charles Schwab. He and his company believe in the mission of First Tee and the power of our Chapters to change the game for young people.

From now through 2026, this matching grant will help us deliver the life-changing impact of our program to kids from all walks of life. We will be able to expand our reach like never before and connect with kids and families in new and innovative ways. And we will be able to support the next great generation of mentors and leaders.

FTSV’s ability to receive this match will be tied directly to support from existing and new donors! We invite you to accept the challenge to help us make a bigger impact in our community, reaching more kids and teens like Bornia Sutikto.

Borina is a 9-year FTSV participant, and 3-year FTSV volunteer coach. She is graduating with a 4.25 GPA and plans to study Accounting & Information Systems while playing on the women’s golf team at Santa Clara University. She was one of 12 high school graduates selected from around the country (over 250 program locations nationwide) to the First Tee College Scholarship Program. The need and merit-based Scholarship Program supports alumni throughout their college career in providing scholarships up to $5,000 per year.

Borina was also selected to compete in the inaugural First Tee National Championship held at Clemson University Golf Course in June, 2021. She tied for 2nd place with a three-day total of 1 over par!  Last week, she was one of our ACE participants selected to compete in the PURE Insurance Tournament supporting First Tee at historic Pebble Beach Golf Course in Monterey, CA.  She joined 80 top First Tee golfers from around the country based heavily on their golf acumen and resume coupled with their demonstration of strong character. See video below

When Borina was asked what had part of the First Tee had the most impact, she said, “I have learned about character from my respectful coaches, which helps prepare me for success in high school, college, and life. For example, the lesson in the Birdie level taught me how to set a goal and break down my goal into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily plans. I owe my achievements to my First Tee coaches.”

We appreciate your ongoing support and your commitment to Building Game Changers.  Click here to see the different ways you can donate today.

PURE Insurance Championship – Recap

First Tee – Silicon Valley participants Rachel Truong, Calvin Kong, Sophie Thai, and Borina Sutikto represented First Tee — Silicon Valley well when they competed in the 2021 PURE Insurance Championship Impacting the First Tee September 20th-26th. (Check out the “junior bio book” of all the participants.) The tournament occurs once per year and is a national televised professional golf tournament. A senior Champions Tour player is paired with one of the top performing First Tee player at historic Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, CA. The application for First Tee participants is rigorous so it’s no surprise that they comported themselves so well since their outstanding character was the most important factor in their selection to participate.

Rachel played with Carlos Franco and finished with a score of -5.

Calvin played with Duffy Waldorf and finished with a score of -5.

Sophie played with Rod Pampling and finished with a score of -10.

Borina played with Paul Stankowski and finished with a score of -24 (2nd Overall).

Following the tournament, Calvin wrote, “I cannot express the gratitude I have for giving me the opportunity to play in the Pure Insurance Championship. This was truly a special experience. The memories I made, the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, etc are unforgettable.” In turn, FTSV staff is grateful for the chance to walk alongside participants like these in their development.

For more information on the tournament, visit PUREInsuranceChampionship.com. To learn more about First Tee, visit FirstTee.org.