First Tee Spotlight: Lindsay Reens

Lindsay Reens | 23 years old | First Tee Alum | Kindergarten Teacher, Holy Trinity Catholic School

A Heart for Education: How First Tee’s Junior Coach Program Ignited a Teen’s Teaching Career

Lindsay was one of our first four junior coaches. Hear from her how junior coaching made an impact on her life! 

Lindsay reading to her kindergarten class this fall.

Lindsay began at First Tee at the age of 13 in 2013. From the outset, she was dedicated to improving and had aspirations of playing college golf. With Lindsay so dedicated to her game and First Tee, she got a multitude of opportunities to learn and grow through the program.

Lindsay, age 14, with LPGA star Paula Creamer in 2014

Lindsay applied and was selected to participate in Life Skills and Leadership Academy and the First Tee Champions Challenge, traveling free of charge to Philadelphia, PA and Naples, FL when she was 16 and 17 years old. She also got to caddie for a round with LPGA winner Megan Khang at the Meijer LPGA Classic upon graduating high school and met Paula Creamer as she just started in First Tee.

Lindsay, age 18, preparing to caddie for LPGA winner Megan Khang

Lindsay, at age 16 alongside First Tee grad Robert Butler meeting Masters Champion Larry Mize on her all-expense paid trip to Naples, FL in the First Tee Champions Challenge.

Even with all these experiences playing and learning through golf herself, Lindsay knew she wanted to try her hand at coaching. So, in 2017, Lindsay started as one of our first four junior coaches – a paid position for teenagers in the program, built to develop leadership and organization habits. During that time, she fell in love with teaching kids. 

“The junior coach program helped me realize I wanted to be a teacher. Being on the course also allowed me to practice teaching and learn the qualities of being a great teacher and a mentor to the younger participants.”

What Lindsay helped start is now a fundamental development and leadership program of the chapter.  This summer, more than 25 teenagers who grew up in First Tee were junior coaches, assisting or leading 1-5 classes per week, depending on their availability and interest.  This year, more than $50,000 in payroll was paid out to current First Tee students or Alumni in the form of coaching or job training experience in fields like marketing, event planning, fundraising, and accounting. In addition, The Phil DeBoer Memorial Scholarship helped pay an additional $13,000 in college scholarships to nine First Tee – West Michigan grads this year alone. Lindsay was multiple-time winner of the scholarship, being awarded in 2020 and 2021. 

Upon high school graduation, Lindsay headed to Aquinas College, playing golf there but knowing that through her experience as a junior coach at First Tee, she wanted to become an educator. Each summer in college, Lindsay would return to work at First Tee, now leading the class with other adult mentors and younger junior coaches assisting her.  Each of the past three summers, Lindsay has led our LPGA*USGA Girls Golf classes at Kaufman GC, all while gaining experience and schooling in how to become a teacher.  In addition, she helped Cascade Hills CC Junior Golf Program after personally receiving instruction from their top-ranked instructor, Brandon Roby, PGA.

This fall, after graduating from Aquinas, Lindsay began as a kindergarten teacher for the first time at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Comstock Park. Her classroom was set up with one of her best friends from First Tee by her side, and many First Tee donors and volunteers pitching in for supplies. 

“The junior coach program has shaped me into the teacher I am today. I wouldn’t be the same without the experience I had coaching for First Tee.”

Now, you can help support our next generation of junior coaches. Graduates like Lindsay are Game Changers right here in West Michigan – your gift helps First Tee cultivate our next generation of leaders!