The “Swing Fore the Future” event featured 13 one-of-a-kind auction items and was moderated by Golf Channel Host Rich Lerner. The Learning Center, designed pro bono by MHK Architecture and Planning, as well as Freestyle Interiors, will be part of a larger public golf venue which will include a BigShots Golf Driving Range and a 12-hole Nicklaus Design golf course.
First Tee Naples/Collier (Fla.) has reached the halfway mark on the capital campaign for its new Learning Center thanks to the patrons who attended the “Swing Fore the Future” Gala on Feb. 13 at Arthrex in Naples. The sold-out event featured 13 one-of-a-kind auction items including artwork by local pop golf artist Christopher “CR” Obetz. The evening included a fireside chat with PGA and Champions Golf Legends Bernhard Langer, Peter Jacobsen and Jeff Maggert, moderated by Golf Channel Host Rich Lerner.
“Having a Learning Center will give kids a much-needed head start on understanding the fundamentals and disciplines of the swing but, more importantly, the opportunity to build life skills and leadership skills along the way,” says Jacobsen, a Bonita Springs, Fla. resident.
The Learning Center, designed pro bono by MHK Architecture and Planning, as well as Freestyle Interiors, will be part of a larger public golf venue which will include a BigShots Golf Driving Range and a 12-hole Nicklaus Design golf course.
Last year, First Tee began a capital campaign with the goal of raising $10M.
“Working with First Tee-Naples/Collier has opened my eyes to the powerful role we can play in mentoring the next generation of leaders,” said Ann Bain, Gala Chair and Board Member. “Each year, 1,000 students are actively engaged in our after-school golf and character education programs, but limited access to driving ranges and golf courses has inhibited our growth. Fortunately, Collier County has offered us the opportunity to create our own home base – a Learning Center on the site of the old Golden Gate Country Club – and now it’s up to us with the help of our community to raise the funds to build it.”
The new facility will allow First Tee Naples/Collier to reach more children from Golden Gate, East Naples, Immokalee, and other communities throughout Collier County. Executive Director Cindy Darland is confident they will be able to double the children served to 2,000 within the first three years of the center’s operation.
With the Learning Center, children will have a safe place where they can grow, learn, and have fun after school and on weekends. The program teaches children nine core values, valuable life skills, helps them build confidence and develop a positive character that will be beneficial as they step into adulthood.