In January of 2003 The First Tee at Fairchild Wheeler was formed by a partnership of The First Tee of Metropolitan New York and The First Tee of Connecticut in an effort to bring the game of golf to thousands of young people from the schools, churches, and community groups in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stratford, and other cities throughout Fairfield County. Students participate in a seven week program that consists of driving range and classroom instruction from PGA Professionals. Along with their first exposure to the fundamentals of golf, students also learned about The First Tee’s “Nine Core Values” that are associated with the game and which The First Tee includes as part of its formal junior golf instruction program.
Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course is a 36-hole facility with two 18 hole courses, The Red and The Black course. The terrain ranges from flat to hilly with creeks flowing throughout the entire layout, which makes play challenging and scenic. There are three practice greens, a 24 stall driving range, and a bunker/chipping area. The junior program has a newly renovated classroom space where indoor instruction, mentor meetings, and general gatherings are held. The juniors also have access to 6 private stalls sectioned off on the range as well as their own personal artificial putting green steps away from the junior clubhouse.
A list of community groups and schools that have taken advantage of The First Tee experience at Fairchild Wheeler are:
GE Golf Buddies
Lighthouse Program Bridgeport YMCA
Barnum School Cardinal Shehan Center
Batalla School McGiveny Center
Beardsley School Trumbull Gardens
Blackham School Wakeman-Smilow Burroughs
Blackrock School Bryant School Community Centers
Cesar Batalla School Jewish Community Centers
Dunbar School Ralphola Taylor Center
Geraldine Johnson School SEPTA Special Needs Group
John Winthrop School Shelton Boys & Girls Club
Johnson School Wakeman Boys & Girls Club
Luis Marin School Domus Foundation
Longfellow School Madison School Marin School Read School Roosevelt School Tisdale School
Click on the corresponding program for more information about each:
Students begin at The First Tee in the Target Level and then progress through the PLAYer, Par, Birdie, and Eagle Levels. This past year, the Ace Level was created with an emphasis on leadership, community service, game improvement, and career planning.
At The First Tee at Fairchild Wheeler in Bridgeport, young people are taught not only how to play the game of golf, but also to respect themselves, their peers, and their environment. The First Tee Life Skills experience is the unique feature that separates The First Tee from many other youth initiatives and junior golf programs.