First Tee Nine Core Values

First Tee has established Nine Core Values that represent some of the many inherently positive values connected with the game of golf.

By participating in First Tee, kids are introduced to these core values which are incorporated throughout the program. Parents are encouraged to reinforce these behaviors by talking about them, what they mean and what these behaviors can look like at home.

1. Honesty

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hon•es•ty

the quality or state of being truthful; not deceptive

Golf is unique from other sports in that players regularly call penalties on themselves and report their own score. As one of First Tee’s Nine Core Values, honesty has to do with being truthful. Not only when playing golf but in everything a young person engages in throughout life. When players embrace the rules of golf, they must report scores honestly.

Applying on the Golf Course

The honesty of players is captured when they follow the rules and etiquette of the game of golf.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show honesty at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Rickie Fowler Talks About Our Values


2. Integrity

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in•teg•ri•ty

strict adherence to a standard of value or conduct; personal honesty and independence

Golf is a game of etiquette and composure. Players are responsible for their actions and personal conduct on the golf course even at times when others may not be looking. Integrity requires players to adhere to a set of standards upon which their behavior will be judged – a sense of personal honesty. Players who live with integrity know the rules of golf and embrace the etiquette of the game. They hold relationships in high regard and maintain their composure even when they think no one is looking.

Applying on the Golf Course

If a ball rolls in the water, what do I do when no when is looking? Play a 9-hole putting course that has a water hazard. If you putt the ball into the water hazard, proceed with the proper options. Inform your partner or coach of your procedure if they are nearby. If no one is around, you must still play by the rules of golf and maintain your integrity.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show integrity at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Sergio Garcia Talks About Our Values


3. Sportsmanship

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sports•man•ship

observing the rules of play and winning or losing with grace

Players must know and abide by the rules of golf and be able to conduct themselves in a kind and respectful manner towards others even in a competitive game. Players behavior on the course should be conducted in such a way that they demonstrate kindness and good sportsmanship at all times. No matter the outcome of a shot or whether they are winning or losing. The behavior is so important that the rules of golf specifically state that players should demonstrate sportsmanship – to be a good sport – as part of the etiquette of the game.

Applying on the Golf Course

Modeling sportsmanship requires that players know the rules of golf and properly follow those rules no matter how each decision will impact their outcome.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show sportsmanship at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Scott Langley Talks About Our Values


4. Respect

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re•spect

to feel or show deferential regard for; esteem

In golf it is important to show respect for oneself, playing partners, fellow competitors, the golf course, and for the honor and traditions of the game. Golf is one of the few sports in which players are responsible for reporting any break of a rule to fellow competitors or a rules official. Knowing the rules and etiquette of the game allow players to maintain a good pace of play, show respect for the course and fellow competitors, as well as enjoy the game as it should be played.

Applying on the Golf Course

The First Tee Code of Conduct

Respect for Myself

I will dress neatly and wear golf or athletic shoes.
I will always try my best when I play or practice.
I will keep a positive attitude and catch myself doing something right regardless of the outcome.
I will be physically active, eat well, get enough sleep, and be safe so I can stay healthy.
I will be honest with myself, including when I keep score and if I break a rule.
I will use proper etiquette and maintain my composure even when others may not be watching.

Respect for Others

I will follow all instructions and safety rules.
I will keep up with the pace of play on the golf course.
I will be friendly, courteous and helpful.
I will remain still and quiet while others are playing and have fun without being loud and rowdy.
I will be a good sport toward others whether I win or lose.
I will encourage others to be safe and physically active.

Respect for my Surroundings

I will keep the golf course and practice areas clean and in as good or better shape than I found them.
I will clean and take care of my and others’ golf equipment.
I will be careful not to damage anything that belongs to others.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show respect at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Paula Creamer Talks About Our Values


5. Confidence

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con•fi•dence

reliance or trust. A feeling of self-assurance

Confidence plays a key role in the level of play that one achieves. Players can increase confidence in their abilities by being positive and focusing on something they are doing well regardless of the outcome. Confidence is developed through a consistent effort to maintain a positive attitude, valuing small improvements in your game, and paying attention to thoughts, feelings and types of situations that help strengthen your confidence level. Players should reflect on all aspects of your game to determine where you have a high level of confidence or where they could spend time to develop their game to the fullest potential.

Applying on the Golf Course

Look for what you’re doing well regardless of outcome.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can develop confidence at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Jimmy Walker Talks About Our Values


6. Responsibility

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re•spon•si•bil•i•ty

accounting for one’s actions; dependable

Players are responsible for their actions on the golf course. It is up to them to keep score, repair divots, rake bunkers, repair ball marks on the green, and keep up with the pace of play. Responsibility of playing by the rules, following proper procedures and etiquette, and knowing the terms and vocabulary of the game is so important that only two organizations in the world, The R&A and the USGA, assume full responsibility for the rules of golf.

Applying on the Golf Course

It’s important players exhibit responsibility for their surroundings by taking care of the practice areas and course by repairing ball marks, replacing divots, and raking bunkers.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show responsibility at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Rickie Fowler Talks About Our Values


7. Perseverance

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per•se•ver•ance

to persist in an idea, purpose or task despite obstacles

To succeed in golf, players must continue through bad breaks and their own mistakes, while learning from past experiences. Playing with perseverance is a lot like playing with self-determination. Whether or not a young person decides to keep going after experiencing a less than favorable outcome largely depends on how much they like the challenge of test, view failure as an opportunity to learn new things and make an effort to figure out things on their own. It is inevitable that players will have to deal with errant shots, mistakes and face challenge that feel like roadblocks. At First Tee, players learn to appreciate and accept these challenges as opportunities to try something new in pursuit of self-improvement and their goals.

Applying on the Golf Course

Lost or out-of-bounds ball? If you don’t find your ball within three minutes after you begin to search for it, then under a penalty of one stroke, you may play a ball as near as possible at the spot from which the ball was last played. Think about how playing with perseverance can help you in this situation.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show perseverance at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Sergio Garcia Talks About Our Values


8. Courtesy

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cour•te•sy

considerate behavior toward others; a polite remark or gesture

A round of golf should begin and end with a handshake between fellow competitors. Players also should be still and quiet while others are preparing and performing a shot. Whether players are waiting to get started on the first hole or waiting their turn while other are playing the course, following some simple rules and etiquette will help maintain order while playing and allow them to remain courteous toward one another.

Applying on the Golf Course

One area of the course where it is important for players to be courteous to others is on the first tee. It’s the first tee that players often have to greet others who they may not know when they get paired in a foursome to play the course. It is also important for players to be courteous when other are getting prepared or ready to play.

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show courtesy at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Jimmy Walker Talk About Our Values


9. Judgment

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judg•ment

the ability to make a decision or form an opinion; a decision reached after consideration

Using good judgment is very important in golf. It comes into play when deciding on strategy, club selection, when to play safe and when to take a chance, the type of shot players consider executing, as well as making healthy choices on and off the golf course. Good judgment requires players to understand the potential consequences of their behaviors when they take chances, decide on a strategy, or fail to adhere to the rules of golf. Upon weighing the risks/rewards associated with those decisions, players refine their decision-making skills to arrive at the best decision for the situation. Those skills are like the “tools in their toolbox” that they can reflect on when faced with a similar situation on or off the course.

Applying on the Golf Course

Make it a game! Next time you play a round of golf, only bring four clubs with you on the course. Which clubs would you pick? What was your score? If you played again, would you select different clubs?

Applying at Home

Parents: Ask your child to think about three ways they can show good judgment at school, home or playing other sports, then record when you seem them do it.

Watch: Paula Creamer Talks About Our Values