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Memphis Wins Golf Digest Award

August 17, 2011

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. with students from The First Tee of Memphis program.

Due to its creation of the First Tee of Memphis, the City of Memphis recently won Golf Digest’s 2011 Junior Development Award for a municipality.

Each year, Golf Digest honors five entities — a municipality, a club, an individual, a corporation, and an association — for their positive impact on juniors. The magazine cited Memphis this year specifically for the First Tee program:  

“This city is an example of the best efforts of local government, corporate giving, and community interests to create The First Tee of Memphis,” wrote Topsy Siderowf. “On 92 acres of brown fields donated by Firestone/Bridgestone and reclaimed by the city, urban youths are learning golf. Kids pay $50 for a nine-week session. Scholarships are available, and costs are kept down through the participation of parents, teachers, and area professionals.”

The 20-year-old First Tee organization, which teaches golf to about 100 young people, focuses on nine core values: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Perseverance, Courtesy, Judgment, Confidence and Responsibility.

This year, under the reins of new Executive Director Nyrone Hawkins, First Tee also received a grant from the Black Rose Foundation. The funding will be used to give life skills and golf lesson to 30 youth from North Memphis and to start a golf team at nearby Manassas High School.

“As the executive director, I’m excited about the direction of The First Tee of Memphis. As a citizen of Memphis, however, it brings me great joy to see Memphis on top of a national list,” said First Tee of Memphis Executive Director Nyrone Hawkins. “We are proud to run a life skills program that is inclusive of everyone in Shelby County, and we stand by our motto: ‘A swing in the right direction.’”

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. was happy to hear of the award.

“First Tee joined me for an outing in the spring and I was quickly reminded that while these students are learning how to play golf, they are learning so much more than that,” Mayor Wharton said. “For me, the greatest honor is being able to see what this type of program does for our kids: They are exercising; they are working together; they are becoming more self-confidant. The Golf Digest award is the icing on the cake.”



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