This spring all First Tee chapters across the country will modernize their Golf & Life Skills Programs to better meet the needs of kids and teens. This transformation will match the way nearly all other youth sports and programs are arranged as well as meet the surveyed preference of kids and their parents to keep participants in groups of a similar age.
While we are excited about this change, we realize that parents/guardians and program participants may have questions, which is why we created the following FAQs.
Why move to age-based programming?
- Extensive research and feedback from participants and parents consistently show that age-appropriate programming will increase both engagement and retention of kids, especially older youth.
- Registration will be simpler as parents are familiar with age-based as most sports and activities are set up this way. As participants stay with us longer, they will be eligible for more life-changing experiences and opportunities including scholarships.
- The switch will allow for kids to learn with kids their own age and progress with them. Friends can learn and grow with their friends.
What are the age groups?
- The age groups are: 5-6, 7-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14+
What if my child ages up during the middle of a session?
- The age a child is during the session/season will dictate what class they sign-up for.
- If a child has a birthday in the middle of a session that moves them up an age group, they will be permitted to enroll in the older class. For example, a child turning 10 in the middle of a session will be eligible to register for the 10-11 class.
Will my child lose their level?
- Throughout 2022, First Tee began sun-setting “levels” and moving to a new system of measuring accomplishments and progression. More information about this system is forthcoming.
- Levels will be used at a limited capacity for events outside of classes.
- 2023 is a transition year, participants will receive recognition for their level accomplishments in some manner.
How will the age-based classes affect the current level of progression?
- Participants will no longer test to move into a new level. Once they reach the new age group, they will automatically move into the next age group.
- Progression will be measured through a new badge system that will begin rolling out during Q2/Q3 of 2023.
- Badges will be used to measure progression and accomplishments.
Will the whole structure of advancement change?
- Yes, they will not advance based on skill but based on age.
- Badges will be used to measure advancement and progress made within the age level.
How will more advanced players be taught in a class with those just learning the game?
- Classes will be split up into smaller groups that are based on ability or by their previous program level (PLAYer, Par, Birdie, or Eagle) or experience.
- This will allow for each group to receive the skill instruction that’s appropriate for their skill level and ability.
- The Life Skills Curriculum will be refreshed so there will be new information for both new and returning participants.
How will eligibility for non-class opportunities be determined?
- For 2023, previous levels will still be used to help determine eligibility for opportunities outside of classes.
- Coaches will help identify kids who are ready for non-class opportunities. These kids then may need to complete additional steps prior to being eligible for the event.
Will there be a breakout of groups?
- Yes, these groups may be based on skill level or previous program level.
Will there be a basics class for beginners to learn the game so that advanced level players don’t have to go through basic instructions again?
- If possible, yes, but classes will be split into smaller groups to accommodate different skill levels and ability.
How will children be assessed (tested) using the age-based system?
- Participants will not move through different levels as in previous years.
- Badges will replace assessments. Badges will be based on various accomplishments.
Will class duration change?
- Yes, class times will vary a little bit from past classes:
- 5-6 & 7-9 & 10-11 year olds will meet for one hour per week for 8 weeks
- 12-13 and 14+ will meet for 90 minutes for 8 weeks
Will it be harder for my child to get into a class because there is only a single day for that age group?
- No, we have done research into the breakdown of each age group at various locations and used this data to create the schedule.
- We will also adjust the class breakdown as necessary.
Will there be an exception for siblings of different ages to be in the same group for convenience purposes if they are at the same skill level?
- No, we will adhere to the age of participants. Accommodations will not be made for siblings.
- The curriculum is designed for the specific age groups, and we want to ensure that all participants receive a curriculum that is developmentally appropriate.
Please contact us at [email protected] for any additional questions.