From Participants To Mentors

We always love receiving updates from participants who have gone through our programs. In the case of two “alums” – Sterling Simmons and Brittany Woo – we’re getting to see their updates first-hand…they joined our team in 2020! Read below to hear more from Sterling and Brittany and learn how First Tee shaped them into who they are as mentors and why they chose to give back to the organization based upon their experiences in the program as youth participants.

Sterling Simmons, Player Development Instructor

Old Dominion University, 2018 – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
In His Words
Sterling as a youth participant at First Tee.
The reason that I am giving back to our First Tee community is to help create special moments with participants the way my coach did for me when I was growing up. I remember volunteering with my old coach one day for a PLAYer class, and we were on the range about to start an activity. He asked me to demonstrate hitting a shot on the range, and I remembered I was really nervous to hit in front of the other participants. As I stepped up to the ball, he said, ‘You’ve got this,’ and in that moment I truly believed in myself. I proceeded to crush the ball down the middle of the range, and I walked back with a big smile on my face. He gave me a fist bump and told me it was a nice shot. After that, we didn’t talk about it, but that moment between us has always stuck with me, and I know when I hit in front of people I just think back to that moment and I have confidence in myself. I want to help create these small moments that have a big impact on our participants that they will remember for their lifetime.

Brittany Woo,  Director of Programming

University of Richmond, 2018 — Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; currently earning her Master of Nonprofit Studies at the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies
In Her Words
Brittany as a youth participant at First Tee.
First Tee — Greater Richmond has given me so many opportunities as a participant and continues to do so as a working professional in the ‘real world’ and an alumna of the organization. When my dad signed up for golf class 17 years ago, no one could’ve imagined it would lead into a leadership role within the organization itself. There are many moments that shaped or guided my First Tee experience as a participant, older sister of other First Tee participants, volunteer, coach, intern at the First Tee HQ and in my current role as the Director of Programming. One of those moments was when my First Tee coach at the time told me I was his on his ‘go-to’ team. As a 13-year-old participant, this meant the absolute world to me. Having my mentor tell me I was on his team meant the absolute world to me. I gained so much confidence and felt self-worth within the greater community. Another moment was when my First Tee coach came to one of my high school golf tournaments. I was not having the greatest front nine, but after a pep talk at the turn, I was able to shoot even par on the back nine. Having my First Tee coach support me in all of my endeavors, even outside of First Tee, was something I truly cherished growing up. These are very small moments, but ones that stick in my mind of what makes a great coach and mentor. My inspiration for giving back to First Tee — Greater Richmond is so I can also be that mentor in a young person’s life. I’m inspired by the young community and the great potential they have. Giving them the opportunity to grow, learn, lead and be the best they can be through the game of golf is what I strive for every day.

Giving Tuesday – Our 2019 Scorecard

First Tee – Greater Richmond enables kids and teens to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges by seamlessly integrating the game of golf with life skills. The organization provides active learning experiences that develop inner strength, self-confidence and resilience that kids can carry into everything they set out to accomplish. First Tee builds experiences that builds character: First Tee is building game changers.
In 2019, we delivered programming to more than 71,000 youth throughout Richmond. Some of the other impact we are making:

The Time is NOW

Today is Giving Tuesday – a national day to support nonprofits through their annual giving funds. Please join us by making a gift to First Tee – Greater Richmond. Your support will allow us to continue addressing the needs of young people in our community by providing high-quality, positive youth development programs that build game changers out of children from all backgrounds. JOIN OUR MISSION HERE

2020 Programming: A Recap

Despite the year of uncertainty, First Tee – Greater Richmond is pleased share a summary on a wonderful year of programs. 


Due to the national outbreak of COVID-19, in person programming came to a sudden halt. However, Director of Programming, Brittany Woo, and Player Development Instructor, Sterling Simmons, did not let that stop them from having a successful spring season. First Tee participants and coaches were all able to persevere during such an unusual time and host fun virtual classes through Zoom. You might have even seen First Tee on the local news!  Watch here!


This summer was remarkable. We had the most amazing group of interns lead seven weeks of summer camp for nearly 200 participants. Both the Tattersall Youth Development Center and Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range were packed with eager young golfers who made improvements day after day. Even through a pandemic, First Tee and its families came together, make new friends and improve our golf game. This season, we implemented the use of facemasks inside of the facility and we were able to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within First Tee facilities.  We wrapped up the summer with the Junior Advisory Board’s annual Back to School Scramble which raised over $2,600 and 400 pieces of school supplies collected for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond!


Fall classes were completely full this session. We even had to add a PLAYer class to the schedule in order to accommodate more participants! To wrap up the season, the Junior Advisory Board planned our annual Golf-o-Ween. The spirit of Halloween was still able to be celebrated by everyone as we had plenty of spooky activities and ghoulish treats to go around. Check out these fun and spooky pictures!

Upcoming Winter Programs

We are excited to see participants all year round, even if it is a bit chilly!  This winter, we are offering a Fast Track program for participants to move up to Par and Birdie within just four weeks. If you are an Ace level participant, sign up for our Winter Ace Workshops so you can work on Ace projects and develop your own personal goals. Prior to the spring season, participants can refine their skills in our Preseason Junior Golf Skills Clinic.  Click here to view our 2020 Winter Program schedules + REGISTER!

Our Commitment to Safety

First Tee – Greater Richmond thanks you for doing your part and adhering to the safety guidelines implemented over this past year. We have a commitment to keeping our environment fun and safe to ensure the continued success of our program. We truly appreciate your flexibility and positivity during this extraordinary time. We are very thankful for every single participant and family that help us strengthen the character of our community through the wonderful game of golf. 
Thank you to our VCU Center for Sport Leadership Graduate Assistant, Ashley Frederick for writing this review.

PGA TOUR Champion Kirk Triplett Gives Back to First Tee

In addition to getting youth on the golf course, First Tee – Greater Richmond offers exciting opportunities to put life skills learned in classes into action. With the help of our corporate partners, First Tee hosts multiple events per year to active participants giving them an outlet to exhibit the nine core values by meeting new people and playing extra golf around the country. One of the most notable events is the Pure Insurance Championship, an event where participants apply through a series of applications and interviews from all across the country and are selected to play at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course alongside PGA TOUR Champions players. In 2020, three of First Tee – Greater Richmond’s Ace  participants, Nicole Chang, Tyler Tingen, and D’yan Robinson, completed the extensive application and interview process to attend this unique opportunity. 

The Reality

Given the current public health crisis, First Tee Headquarters and the TOUR determined that this year’s PURE Insurance Championship should be played without First Tee participants.  Despite the unfortunate news, our teen participants kept their spirits high as they continued to volunteer and dedicate their time to our local chapter, host a Back to School Scramble fundraising and supply drive golf tournament, and organized one of the most fun events of the year, Golf-O-Ween. 

Kirk Triplett Gives Back

With PGA TOUR events moving forward without fans, one of the TOUR players still sought an opportunity to engage and impact the local community of First Tee participants. Kirk Triplett, professional golfer from the PGA Tour, Nationwide Tour, and PGA TOUR Champions, presented an idea to invite First Tee participants to play in the remaining Pro-Am at PGA TOUR Champions Events for 2020. Because of Kirk’s efforts,  First Tee – Greater Richmond’s three participants who applied for the Pure Insurance Championship were invited to play in the 2020 Dominion Energy Charity Classic Pro-Am with him! Another participant from First Tee – Hampton Roads also joined their group.  On October 15th, birdies and light hearted jokes gave the Ace participants’ experience playing alongside Kirk Triplett at The Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course memories of a lifetime. Nicole, Tyler, and D’yan cannot thank the TOUR and Kirk Triplett enough for their unforgettable experience. 
To play at CCV James River with Kirk Triplett was a memorable experience for me and I’m grateful for First Tee and the DECC for giving us this opportunity. – D’yan Robinson It was awesome to play with Kirk. He is such a nice, kind person and I loved the entire experience. – Nicole Chang I really enjoyed having this once in a lifetime opportunity! – Tyler Tingen
Click here to view a video of the day provided by the PGA TOUR Champions!

Event Photos  


Building Our Growth Story

For two decades First Tee has helped kids write their growth story. Now, we are writing ours. We took a page out of our own yardage book. We’ve reflected on who we are, what makes our work meaningful, and how we can continue showing up in the ways that matter for kids today. Together, with our entire First Tee network that spans 150 chapters across the U.S. and select international chapters, we’re unveiling a refreshed First Tee as we bring our work to life in a new expression this week. Just like we guide kids in their journey — we’re not changing who we are; we’re growing into what we can become. Thank you for being a part of our growth story. Together, we’re Building Game Changers.   Follow us: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Meet Our 2020 Summer Interns

Join First Tee in welcoming seven new interns for this summer programming session! Ranging from law students to incoming college freshmen, these interns completed a rigorous interview process with a wide pool of applicants. While some are beginner golfers and others collegiate athletes, they represent a variety of colleges in the region.

Meet our 2020 interns

Lucia Eovino – Richmond | William and Mary 
Lucia is a sophomore at William and Mary studying Linguistics and Chinese. She has been involved with The First Tee from a young age, taking classes up through Ace level, going to the Life Skills and Leadership Academy, volunteering and working in the pro shop at Richmond. She is extremely excited to work with the campers and make sure they stay safe and have fun while learning about the core values and healthy habits. 
Emily Erickson – Green Bay | University of Lynchburg
Emily is a freshman at the University of Lynchburg and will be studying Marketing and Psychology. She is also a member of the women’s golf team at the university. Emily has been playing golf since she was seven. She is passionate about growing the game of junior golf and is excited to be working with the First Tee program this summer. She is looking forward to working with the campers and helping them develop a love for the game of golf. 
Michael Fortune – Richmond | James Madison University
Michael is a sophomore finance major at James Madison University and new to the First Tee. He is also new to the game of golf but is eager to learn the game. A graduate from Douglas Southall Freeman High School, Michael has been around sports his whole life having played basketball and baseball for as long as he remembers, and he loves to work in a sports environment. He is looking forward to working with campers and helping them grow as both athletes and individuals. 
Ashley Frederick – Richmond | University of Virginia
Ashley is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia. She majored in Kinesiology and has applied to the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University for graduate school. She has an interest in working with youth development programs and student athletes in the future. She is new to golf, but played volleyball in high school and is a recreational runner. Ashley is looking forward to meeting the campers and helping them integrate The Nine Core Values with lifelong golf skills.
Chae Han – Richmond | Randolph Macon
Chae is a current nursing student at Randolph Macon College. She double majors in Nursing and Asian studies. She is also a member of the golf team and has been a part of the First Tee at the age of ten. She looks forward to being involved with the First Tee programs again and to work with campers on life lessons by utilizing golf. 
Benjamin Lockhart – Raleigh | Wake Forest University 
Benjamin is an aspiring law student after the conclusion of his senior year at Wake Forest in 2021, where he will graduate as a Business Enterprise Management Major with a concentration in Business Law. He has been an avid golfer for most of his life, playing recreationally as well as competing at an amateur level. His background in instructing Tae Kwon Do has inspired him to get back into working with the campers here at the First Tee and he is most looking forward to getting to know the campers and working with them to become integral parts of the Greater Richmond community. 
Emma Whitten – Richmond | Campbell University School of Law
Emma received her Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Criminal Justice and Women and Gender Studies at James Madison University in 2018. She currently attends law school in Raleigh, North Carolina and just finished her 1L year. Her passion is human rights law and working with local non-profits. She has played golf recreationally since elementary school, attending summer camps similar to The First Tee. She comes from a family of Richmond natives and is excited to give back to her community through the game of golf. 
Summer is always an exciting time for First Tee of Greater Richmond. Every year, the interns bring new ideas, fresh perspective, and positive energy. I love sharing the First Tee’s mission to aspiring young talent. The team we have this year is superb and I have full confidence that they will positively impact every single participant they cross paths with. – Brittany Woo, Director of Programming

about first tee’s internship program

The First Tee Interns are responsible for helping to guide and coach young people to become responsible citizens and active golfers through the delivery of daily life skill and golf instruction in summer camp. The Summer Internship Program will:
  • Introduce interns to inspiring young people
  • Develop interactions with families, board members, staff and other constituents of First Tee of Greater Richmond
  • Expose interns to all elements of a thriving, growing, and successful nonprofit in the Richmond area including but not limited to marketing strategies, fundraising, and professional development. 
All of the interns are ready to work together to help run multiple camps over the summer ranging from the Little Legends Camp to the First Tee Golf Camp: Powered by Operation 36. Over the course of the summer the interns are committed to providing and operating a safe and fun environment for the campers as well as abiding by all the rules and regulations surrounding COVID-19. 

From our CEO: Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As we continue to monitor the rapidly changing developments regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), effective today, Wednesday, March 18th The Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range will be closed until further notice. The safety of participants, patrons, employees, and volunteers is First Tee of Greater Richmond’s top priority. We intend to maintain our facilities with limited personnel on-site and will support our many other functions by working remotely where possible.

First Tee of Greater Richmond’s Plan of Action

Youth Programs, Community Events, Group Outings, etc. List of March Events:
  • Ace Workshops: March 28th –  format changed to a virtual meeting.
  • Belmont Information Presentation: March 19thformat changing to a virtual meeting. More information to follow.
  • Girls Golf Kick-Off: March 21st– CANCELLED
  • Winter League Party: March 26th – POSTPONED
  • Week-long Club Drive: March 30th – April 4th – TBD
  • PGA HOPE Series: March 31st – This is the series kick off date. The series is TBD
  • Swing into Spring: April 4th –  TBD
List of March Outings:
  • Bensley Elementary: March 16th – 20th –  CANCELLED
  • Harrowgate Elementary: March 23rd – March 27th –  CANCELLED
  • Wilder Middle School: March 24th –  CANCELLED
  • Ratcliffe Elementary: March 24th –  CANCELLED
  • Collegiate Golf Program: March 25th –  CANCELLED
Thank you for your dedication in helping us strengthen the character of our community and your partnership as we continue to review this situation in order to provide timely information and comfort  during these unsettling times. Please continue to take every precaution to stay healthy by following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and local health administrators. Sincerely, Brent Schneider, President & CEO First Tee of Greater Richmond

The History of American Golf Meets the Future of American Golf


Dear Friends, I’m writing to you today to share some wonderful news regarding the future of The First Tee of Greater Richmond. Last night, the Henrico County Board of Supervisors voted to accept a proposal we made to lease Belmont Golf Course from the county for the next 20 years. Beginning Jan. 1, The First Tee of Greater Richmond will take over the operation and management of Belmont, the only golf course in Virginia to host a PGA major tournament. This incredible opportunity – made possible by the generous support of a group of dedicated donors – aligns perfectly with our vision to strengthen the character of our community and our mission to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. It also affords us the chance to impact more of Central Virginia’s youth from all walks of life. While we already reach more than 23,000 Henrico County youth in 44 schools through our National School Program, we expect to grow enrollment of Henrico County children and teens in our Life Skills Experience Program by more than 700. Because of our successful and longtime partnerships with Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond, we see this partnership as a perfect fit. Over the coming months, we will be transforming Belmont not only to fit the needs of our programming, but also to create a community-focused, inclusive and affordable golf facility for all ages and skill levels. We’ll be adding a driving range, a short-game practice area, a six-hole short course and a putting course to pair with a reimagined 12-hole championship course that celebrates the legendary design of course architect A.W. Tillinghast. We’ve enlisted Love Golf Design, led by former PGA star Davis Love III, to help us fulfill our vision for Belmont. Simply put, we envision Belmont to become a place where the history of American golf meets the future of American golf. We can’t thank each of you enough for all you have done to help us grow over the years. We look forward to keeping you updated with our progress at Belmont and encourage you to let us know if you have any questions. Sincerely, Brent Schneider, CEO The First Tee of Greater Richmond P.S. If you’d like to read more about our big news, see these stories by RichmondBizSense, the Henrico Citizen, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Join Us: Transforming & Empowering Youth

The First Tee of Greater Richmond is strengthening the character of our community by providing programs that build resilience in our youth, teach critical life skills, and provide caring adult supervision in a safe environment. At elementary schools, youth centers, and golf facilities, The First Tee students participate in a seamless golf and character education program, promoting physical activity and embedding core values and wellness in every lesson.  In an independent study of participants, 73% reported higher academic confidence and 82% felt more confident socially because of their involvement with The First Tee.  These positive outcomes illustrate that our evidence-based youth programs are a promising approach to the prevention of problems ranging from aggressive and antisocial behaviors to academic under-achievement.  We are building a stronger community by transforming and empowering our youth. Providing affordable golf access in our city is also a priority.  The Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range near downtown was renovated in 2017, while a renovation of The Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course is planned for early 2020.  Both facilities provide an inclusive environment for both program participants and thousands of golf patrons annually, making our organization a multi-faceted resource for youth and families in our area. We are grateful for your recent support of The First Tee of Greater Richmond and hope you will consider renewing your support this year.  Your ongoing commitment will allow us to continue addressing the needs of young people in our community by providing high-quality, positive youth development programs that build up children of all backgrounds. Sincerely, Brent Schneider, CEO [email protected] Click here & join our mission

The First Tee National School Program Brings RVA Schools Together

Within the past week, The First Tee of Greater Richmond hosted its signature Champions Day for Richmond Public Schools at the Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range. Richmond middle schools joined the green grass facility on Thursday and Richmond elementary schools came out on Tuesday. Each of the schools selected four exemplary students to represent their school based upon the student’s performance and understanding of golf skills and life skills taught through The First Tee National School Program. Champions Day gave students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and showcase their skills learned in physical education classes on course.
“Field trips are important teaching moments for students that provide very personal learning experiences. Many of the lessons the RPS students receive on Champions day will be with them throughout their lives. We had buses full of happy, smiling students leave the driving range! Thanks again for a beautiful day of Golf and life lessons!” – Stefanie C. Ramsey, Ed.D., RPS Coordinator of  H&PE and Athletics
Students rotated through a variety of stations including a combination of golf skills, The First Tee Nine Core Values, The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits, and STEM curriculum. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) has been used by the United States Golf Association as an exciting way to educate young people using the game of golf.

About The First Tee national school program

The First Tee of Greater Richmond partners with 126 elementary schools through The First Tee National School Program  (NSP). The goal of NSP is to provide students with life skills, while learning the game of golf, through activity-based learning. This program is implemented as a part of regular, in-school elementary physical education classes and is delivered by school-based physical educators.                               For all questions about Champions Day, please contact Berkley Jackson, Program Coordinator: [email protected]

Renovation Preview: The Tattersall Youth Development Center

Entire facility closed starting MOnday, December 9th
The First Tee of Greater Richmond is preparing for clubhouse renovations at The Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course. The scheduled work will be very similar to the look and feel of the 2017 renovation at the Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range clubhouse to foster a consistent energy and youth-centric feel at both locations. The clubhouse at The Tattersall Youth Development Center was originally built in 1999 and The First Tee of Greater Richmond remains committed to providing first-class facilities for our youth participants, families, patrons, volunteers, and the community. Scheduled changes for the building include reshaping and repurposing the interior of the clubhouse, a new Trackman 4 Simulator, additional space for youth programs, and improved patio space and furniture for parents and golf outings. Beginning Monday, December 9th, the clubhouse, programming classroom, golf course, and practice areas will be closed to the public and youth programs. The clubhouse and surrounding golf course will re-open in May 2020. Patrons with annual memberships or monthly dues at this facility will not be charged during the renovation.   During the closure at Chesterfield, we welcome all golfers to visit our downtown practice facility, The Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range (400 School Street, Richmond 23222), to utilize the practice areas, covered hitting bays, Trackman Simulators, and 6 hole par-3 course.
The First Tee of Greater Richmond invites parents, patrons, donors, and community partners to attend a Town Hall Meeting to learn more about the renovation, timeline, and ask questions of our leadership team.

When: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Where: 6736 Huntingcreek Drive, North Chesterfield, VA 23237

For all questions regarding facility renovations or operations, please contact Kelly McAnally, Senior VP of Operations of The First Tee of Greater Richmond: [email protected]



Three Participants Play With Champions

On Monday, October 14th, three of The First Tee’s participants, D’yan Robinson (Ace), Ivan Chan (Ace), and Meg Lavinder (Eagle) played alongside Mike Goodes at The Kanawha Club in the “Four Amigos and Friends Golf Gala.” Hosted by Fred Funk, Gene Sauers, Bernhard Langer, and Mike Goodes, this event brings PGA Champions TOUR players together to raise money for Folds of Honor and Virginians for Veterans programs. D’yan, Ivan, and Meg filled a foursome with Goodes to shoot a score of 20 (-7) through 9-holes at Kanawha Club, a private 9-hole par-3 course in Manakin-Sabot, VA. They tied for first but finished second after a scorecard playoff.
Being able to share in this experience with The First Tee was absolutely amazing. The kids exhibited all of the core values throughout the day and received positive praise and feedback from the Pro Golfers. What a wonderful experience! – Denise Robinson, Parent of D’yan Robinson This is an amazing experience for the junior golfers to learn and to collaborate with the Pro Golfers. A great opportunity for the junior golfers to exercise the core values that are taught in The First Tee Program. Positive feedback and praise were received from all the participants. We are so proud of our amazing kids! – Kevin Chan, Parent of Ivan Chan
This event comes ahead of the 2019 Dominion Energy Charity Classic to be held at the Country Club of Virginia later this week.

More event photos