The organization plans to expand the Jamesville, N.Y., facility, keeping it open for public play while it serves as The First Tee’s permanent home. Plans are also in motion to renovate the clubhouse, adding three classrooms for core-value instruction, and upgrading the course.
In January, The First Tee of Syracuse, which teaches golf and life skills to youngsters, purchased Butternut Creek Golf Course in Jamesville, N.Y., the Syracuse, N.Y., Post-Standard reported.
Executive Director Peter Webber has big plans for the 9-year-old charity, including expanding the facility, which will serve as The First Tee’s permanent home and stay open for public play, the Post-Standard reported.
“This guarantees our long-term ability to control this program within public play, ” Webber said. “We needed a home. This is the perfect site for us. It’s centrally located and it’s close to the city.”
The First Tee of Syracuse, one of 180 chapters globally, was able to acquire the nine-hole, 1,365-yard Butternut Creek thanks to generous donations from a long list of benefactors, including the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, Wegmans, O’Brien and Gere and Key Bank. The 15-year-old course includes a driving range and is home to Suburban Propane, the Post-Standard reported.
The First Tee of Syracuse is only one of 20 chapters throughout the organization that owns its own golf course and driving range. The summer program is open to all boys and girls ages 7-17, the Post-Standard reported.
Plans are in motion to renovate the clubhouse building and upgrade the course. There also will be a pro shop and a club room lounge in the current building, and three classrooms will be added for core-value instruction (such as sportsmanship and courtesy), the Post-Standard reported.
“What we pride ourselves in is not just teaching golf, it’s also teaching life skills,” Webber said.
The Central New York Golf Course Superintendents Association has partnered with The First Tee and will build a practice green and a grass practice tee area in the fall. Both will be designed by Barry Jordan, who also designed Butternut Creek, the Post-Standard reported.
Last summer, more than 300 Syracuse City School District elementary students from the Say Yes program were among the youngsters who took part in The First Tee program. In addition to Butternut Creek, the First Tee will continue to use Sunnycrest Golf Course, Drumlins Golf Club and the Golf Dome and Sandstone Hollow at Turning Stone Resort and Casino as affiliate courses, the Post-Standard reported.
This year, The First Tee will offer opportunities to youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA, as well as the children from the Southwest Community Central and Say Yes, the Post-Standard reported.
“Unless you have opportunities like this, then kids aren’t going to learn this game and it will not grow, ” Webber said. “Our program has the potential to teach young people the beautiful sport of golf and give them opportunities because, let’s face it, golf and country clubs are expensive. We have scholarships for those who can’t afford it.”
The First Tee of Syracuse begins in late June. A one-day-per-week academy costs $50 and the certified program is $125. For more details or to register a child, visit The First Tee of Syracuse’s website.