First Tee – Canada spent RBC Canadian Open tournament week providing experiences of a lifetime and putting smiles on children’s faces. Youth spectators did more than have fun – they also learned valuable life lessons through golf.
Walk With a Pro
During Wednesday’s Championship Pro-Am round, over 50 local Youth on Course members and junior golfers walked alongside PGA TOUR professionals as they played hole no. 16 “The Rink” – some even took the pros’ first putts.
PGA Tour Goal-in-one
Kooper had the extraordinary opportunity to be inside the ropes on Wednesday’s Championship Pro-Am round. He acted as the pros’ caddy, advising them which club to hit to secure a goal-in-one on a hockey net 260 yards away. This meant meeting some of his idols including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. He even talked his way into hitting a few shots of his own with the pros’ clubs – what an experience!
Youth Group Tours
Wednesday and Thursday evening of tournament week were busy with visits from BGC Peel and BGC Albion Club (Boys and Girls Clubs). Both groups experienced a behind-the-scenes tour of the RBC Canadian Open grounds and met some of the folks who make the tournament the successful event it is, including the media centre, volunteer centre, and agronomy, environmental and sustainability teams. This tour opens kids’ eyes to the various opportunities that exist in the world of sport.
On Wednesday, youth from BGC Peel were treated to a surprise. With the support of RBC Community Junior Golf, the First Tee Game Changers Pavilion had a drop-in from special guest Team RBC Ambassador and PGA Tour professional Harold Varner III.
HV3 chatted with the group and cracked some “dad jokes”. Most importantly, Varner III drove home the message to the children that golf has made him a better person. From the manners he has learned, the relationships he has formed, and the understanding of commitment he has gained, golf provides valuable life skills.
“Because of partnerships like this, our youth are presented with opportunities that they normally would not be exposed to.” Said BGC Peel Executive Director, Michael Gyovai. “Moments like these make memories that can last a lifetime. They also provide motivation to our youth, tomorrow’s leaders, to strive to be the best they can be, and to face obstacles and barriers head-on.”
The youth group tours are a glimpse into what First Tee – Canada programming is looking to do. Introduce children to the game, and better yet, introduce them to inspiring and empowering experiences.
First Tee Game Changers Pavilion
Throughout the week, hundreds of families stopped by the Game Changers Pavilion situated at the first tee at St. George’s Golf and Country Club. Kids signed up for lessons on the Foresight simulator with a First Tee coach, tested their skills on the putting green, and made their marks on the colouring wall.
It didn’t stop there. Next to the Game Changers Pavilion was the First Tee – Canada children-only autograph zone at the championship putting green. Youth had the chance to get up close to their favourite pros and have them sign their First Tee – Canada autograph cards.
Closing Ceremony with the Champion
To wrap up an unforgettable week, First Tee – Canada selected four lucky children from the crowd to participate in the RBC Canadian Open closing ceremonies alongside back-to-back champion, Rory McIlroy.
Charlie, Islay, Anjun and Adamo were also lucky enough to meet Rivermead Cup winner, Corey Conners, and snag a few autographs.
It was great to welcome back the RBC Canadian Open after two long years and to debut First Tee – Canada on Canadian soil. First Tee – Canada looks forward to expanding its roots across the country and positively impacting the lives of thousands of Canadian youth.
To learn more about First Tee – Canada and to find a program location near you, click here.