PLAYer is the introductory level of The First Tee Life Skills Experience. Participants, age 7-18, who are new to The First Tee should be registered for this level. PLAYer teaches participants how to play the game with special emphasis on learning golf, The First Tee Code of Conduct and The First Tee Nine Core Values™. These interpersonal skills will help participants develop much more than just their golf game.
The Par Level builds on the PLAYer level by introducing participants to life skills that will help them both on and off the golf course. The main focus of the Par Level is to assist participants in acquiring several self-management techniques and interpersonal skills that will help them in managing their thoughts, emotions, and behavior in order to perform well both on and off the golf course. Minimum age 9.
The Birdie Level focuses primarily on goal setting. The Birdie Level curriculum teaches developing goals, goal ladders (plans/steps to achieving goals) and how to deal with challenges when faced with adversity. The golf skills focus on advanced putting and short game skills, course management and moreintensive instruction in the rules of golf. Students will develop goals for their golf game and work to achieve them. Minimum age 11.
The Eagle Level focuses on health and wellness, building a support team, dealing with conflicts, appreciating diversity, and planning for the future. Students will focus on getting the most out of their practice sessions, learning to self-check their swings, improving accuracy and course management. Minimum age 13.
The Ace Level focuses on personal planning and reinforces interpersonal communication, self-management, goal setting, self-coaching, and resilience skills that were applied in the earlier levels of The First Tee Life Skills Experience. Ace Level participants are given several projects to work on throughout their sessions regarding planning for the future and giving back to the community. Minimum age 14 or 9th grade.
Ace participants engage in four projects that center on activities designed to help them further develop as individuals and assets to their communities. The four projects are:
1. Enjoy Golf for Life. Participants examine their golf skills, create an improvement plan, and consider the role they would like golf to play in their lives.
2. Investigate Career Possibilities. Participants match talents and interests with career possibilities; they also investigate elements of the employment process, including informational interviews, resumes, and job interviews.
3. Give Back: Serve as a Volunteer or Junior Coach. Participants learn the value of “giving back” by volunteering for activities at The First Tee or in the community or by helping with golf and life skills coaching.
4. Explore Educational Opportunities. Participants explore issues related to college selection and other educational and vocational preparation alternatives.
The First Tee wants everyone who completes The First Tee program to have acquired basic golf skills and to be able to demonstrate certain fundamental life skill concepts – such as interpersonal communication and the importance of rules and etiquette. At each level of the program – PLAYer, Par, Birdie and Eagle – participants will go through a Certification Process testing and evaluating participants’ understanding of and ability to apply what was taught. Upon successful completion of the certification process, participants will be promoted to the next level of the program. If completion was not successful, participants will be enabled to request additional help in preparation for another attempt.