Nassau County welcomed The First Tee as they opened a new facility at Eisenhower Park, Long Island, NY. The Grand Opening of the 2nd facility in the New York Metropolitan area began with words from Jim Kelly of ESPN, CNBC, and The Golf Channel. Kelly congratulated The First Tee of Metropolitan NY and its partners the MGA Foundation and the MET Section PGA on successfully gaining facility status for their new Eisenhower Park site. This site is designed to offer state-of-the-art learning opportunities for over 1,000 youngsters with continued programming and access to all First Tee resources.
The new Eisenhower facility is located at the site of the Commerce Bank Classic, a Champions Tour Event. Rick George, the President of the Champions Tour, pointed out the long history of this event dating back to when it was known as The Northville. Ed Travaglianti of Commerce Bank spoke about how excited Commerce Bank was to continue its sponsorship of this exciting event at Eisenhower Park on Long Island.
Long Island native and professional basketball player Wally Szczerbiak of the Minnesota Timberwolves stepped up to say a few quick words about the influence golf has made on his life. He mentioned how much he wished that First Tee programs existed when he was young. The First Tee Executive Director Joe Louis Barrow Jr. took the platform to speak about The First Tee’s important influence on children. The First Tee has opened 200 golf-learning facilities and introduced the game of golf to over 450,000 participants since 2000. The focus is to give young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop, through golf and character education, life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship.
Nassau County Legislator Diane Yatauro directed over 400 kids to the practice green to watch the ceremonial “First Putt”. Second year First Tee member Ryan Brion along with new member and his little brother Jordan helped kick off the ceremony. Ryan smiled as he said “I like golf, it makes me relax and builds up my confidence. I feel lucky to participate in this program and I’m going to enjoy it.” As for a career in golf Ryan says it’s just a hobby, but little brother Jordan says “I want to be Tiger!”
As founding corporate partner of The First Tee, Shell Oil Company has provided financial resources to support the development of this charitable youth initiative aimed at promoting character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Because of Shell’s initial contribution, The First Tee has garnered the support of hundreds of corporations and organizations that have provided financial or promotional support to The First Tee and its Chapters.