HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After years of operating separately, The First Tee of Houston at F.M. Law Park and The First Tee of Greater Houston are combining forces to provide a unified effort to expand The First Tee’s character-building programs throughout the greater Houston area.
“We are excited about the opportunity to increase our impact on the area’s youth as we combine resources through this consolidation,” said Steve Timms, President/CEO of Houston Golf Association, a 501c (3) non-profit organization and the parent corporation of The First Tee of Greater Houston.
“This consolidation and partnership with the Houston Golf Association fulfills HPARD’s original vision of providing access to the game of golf and youth development for all of Houston’s children,” said Joe Turner, Director of Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “We look forward to the exciting new opportunities that this merger will bring.”
“Houston is an important market to The First Tee and one which presents significant opportunity for expansion,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee. “We have looked across metropolitan markets and asked our chapters to consider opportunities to work together or in some cases become one entity. The purpose is to position the chapter to have an even greater impact in the community.”
The First Tee is a youth development organization that gives young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop through golf and character education, life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. Through The First Tee Life Skills Experience®, participants are also taught the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, making decisions, setting goals and transferring values such as responsibility, honesty, and respect from the golf course to everyday life.
Located in Southeast Houston at 8400 Mykawa Road, F. M. Law Park joins three other green grass facilities to offer The First Tee’s character building programs. The three others are located in Humble adjacent to the Golf Club of Houston; northwest in Hockley at Houston Oaks; and southwest in Missouri City at Quail Valley Golf Course.
To kick off the partnership, a Welcome to The First Tee of Greater Houston Ice Cream Social will take place on Aug. 9 at 2 PM at the F.M. Law Park Pavilion for participants, family members, current and potential volunteers.
“We look forward to working with the youngsters, their families, staff and volunteers who have been involved with The First Tee at F.M. Law Park,” said Doug Earle, Executive Director of The First Tee of Greater Houston. “And we are looking forward to exploring opportunities for additional programming initiatives within the City of Houston.”
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Junior Golf Program has been overseeing the operation of The First Tee at F.M. Law Park programming since October of 1999 when the Houston Parks Board, Inc. was awarded its chapter license. The Houston Parks Board secured grants and private matching funds totaling nearly $1.3 million. These funds were used to design and construct the golf course, driving range, learning center and maintenance facility at F.M. Law Park. Houston City Council recently voted in favor of the opportunity to join forces with The First Tee of Greater Houston and to transfer the operation of the 70-acre facility to the chapter, which has been operating since 2004.
“The Houston Parks Board is very proud of the role we have played in funding improvements to F.M. Law Park,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, Executive Director. “It is always rewarding to be involved with a program that takes youth outdoors and teaches them valuable life skills.”
Through the partnership, The First Tee of Greater Houston will have an opportunity to expand programming at city-operated golf courses such as Sharpstown and Gus Wortham.
In addition to its green grass facilities, collectively The First Tee of Greater Houston also delivers programming to schools in physical education classes. To date 16 public school districts (263 schools) are in the program — Aldine, Clear Creek, Conroe, Cy-Fair, Dickinson, Fort Bend, Galena Park, Houston, Humble, Pasadena, Pearland, Sheldon, Spring Branch, Stafford, Texas City, Waller, plus several private schools.
The First Tee at F.M. Law Park website will now be redirected to The First Tee of Greater Houston site, located at www.thefirstteegreaterhouston.org.
About The First Tee of Greater Houston
The First Tee of Greater Houston ranks No. 1 in outreach in the worldwide network of nearly 200 chapters. Since 2004 it has been dedicated to impacting the lives of young people in the Greater Houston area by providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
About the Houston Golf Association
Founded in 1946, HGA is a not-for-profit, tax exempt 501c (3) organization that uses golf promotion to generate funds to support worthy causes and make a difference in our community. Bolstered by a strong group of volunteers, the HGA will surpass the $60 million-dollar mark in community impact in 2014. The funds have been generated through the Shell Houston Open PGA TOUR event and other golf-related activities. Shell Oil Company is the founding corporate partner of The First Tee.
About the Houston Parks and Recreation Department
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages 37,851 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call 832-395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.
About Houston Parks Board
The Houston Parks Board is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create, improve, protect and advocate for parkland in the Greater Houston region. Since its inception in 1976, the organization has raised and leveraged millions of dollars and touched at least 75% of the City’s parkland either through acquisitions and/or capital improvements. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org.