An anonymous donation of $250,000 ($50,000 per year for five years) to The First Tee of North Florida has been made as an initial investment for a new scholarship program. “The scholarship program will benefit First Tee participants and aspiring PGA and LPGA professionals at local courses in The First Tee of North Florida’s service area including Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties,” says Jeff Willoughby, Executive Director of the First Tee of North Florida.
Willoughby also announced that the scholarships would be named in the honor of Karl G. Estes and Thomas L. Stecker. The Karl G. Estes Scholarship will be awarded to selected active participant(s) of the First Tee that have been with the program for three years or longer, give back to their community, and have been accepted to college. The amount is $20,000 payable at $5,000 per year for up to four years. Karl was an avid golfer who appreciated hard work and high character values such as those endorsed by The First Tee. He would be thrilled to know this scholarship was being created in his name and that it had the potential to positively impact so many young lives in Florida’s First Coast.
The Thomas L. Stecker Scholarship will be awarded to local PGA and LPGA apprentices that are starting their careers in the golf industry and work for golf clubs that are affiliated with The First Tee of North Florida to cover their educational requirements. Tom was a consummate PGA Golf Professional, working at St. Johns Golf Club (St. Augustine) before his untimely passing from ALS, and was dedicated to the next generation of PGA members, always working to mentor them throughout their development. Creating this scholarship in his honor is a perfect fit and will help perpetuate his name throughout The First Coast Golf community.
The First Tee of North Florida 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. In 2016, The First Tee of North Florida helped introduce over 107,000 children ages 5-17 to golf and the values and life skills associated with the game.
“We believe that this scholarship program will help retain children longer in our programs and increase the awareness among local courses and the professionals that run them,” said Willoughby. “These scholarships allow us to invest in our future leaders and their college education, plus give back to the courses that support our organization and growing the game of golf. Our goal is to make The First Tee of North Florida one of the model youth development chapters in the nation.”
For additional information on the scholarship program or if you would like to contribute please contact Jeff@TheFirstTeeNorthFlorida.org.