First Tee – West Michigan has been selected to receive $2,500 from the United States Golf Association through its IDEA Grant. This significant gift plays a pivotal role in advancing First Tee West Michigan’s programs, including growing its individual instruction initiative. This program provides young individuals with PGA-level lessons at a significantly reduced cost to their families.
In the spring of 2021, First Tee – West Michigan launched a new initiative that would break a significant financial barrier for families that want to provide their young golfer with individual PGA instruction. Starting with one instructor, First Tee – West Michigan began offering individual lessons to scholarship students within its programs for just $15. Since that first year, the program has grown and now offers lessons with five different certified instructors across all four communities First Tee – West Michigan serves (Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, and Kalamazoo). More than 280 subsidized lessons have been given to scholarship students, with more each week. Thanks to the USGA’s IDEA Grant, First Tee can continue to provide PGA-level instruction at a low cost while adding more instructors to fit the needs of its students, no matter their circumstances.
“This next-level partnership with local PGA Professionals is giving our kids what they need to thrive, learn, and grow through the game of golf,” Executive Director Tyler Smies said. “Now, our kids and teens who want to get better and play in high school or college can do so without worrying about the cost. The instruction is increasing our kids and teens engagement with First Tee and our life skills curriculum and with the game of golf in general. We’re so grateful to the USGA for their partnership in making the game even more impactful on our kids and teens.”
About First Tee – West Michigan
The USGA IDEA Grant program was established in 2021, building off the strength of more than 20 years of partnership between First Tee and the USGA. Since its inception, 72 grants have been distributed to 46 chapters across 30 states including First Tee – West Michigan, helping connect more diverse young people to the game and First Tee’s character-empowering programs. First Tee – West Michigan has been the recipient of this grant each of the past three years for their cutting edge initiatives to increase representation amongst kids from all backgrounds.