First Tee

12 Days of Golf in support of First Tee – Ontario

The 2021 edition of 12 Days of Golf in support of First Tee – Ontario will run until December 13th.

This online auction, in support of growth of the First Tee’s Ontario chapter in 2022, will see funds helping to expand program locations, coach training, and equipment.  

We believe all kids deserve to be excited to grow, feel safe to fail, and be better equipped for whatever comes at them next. Using golf to teach life lessons and leadership skills, First Tee helps youth develop their swing, but more importantly, their inner strength; self confidence, and resilience to become good golfers and even better people.

Last year’s auction raised over $17,000 and we are hoping to surpass this total for 2021.

The auction features a mix of high-profile special items, one-of-a-kind experiences, and foursome certificates to clubs around Ontario. Click the link below to check out the auction and support this worthy cause.

12 Days of Golf in support of First Tee – Ontario AUCTION

First Tee Media Release

Gragtmans Family Foundation makes $1M USD gift to First Tee – Canada

Inspired to support the life skills and development values ingrained in golf, the Gragtmans Family Foundation has announced a major $1M USD donation to the Golf Canada Foundation to directly power the advancement of First Tee – Canada.

The generosity of the Gragtmans Family Foundation as the Founding Donor and Trustee of First Tee – Ontario will fund and facilitate the provincial chapter launch including program development and delivery with multi-faceted activities designed for schools, community centres, and youth facilities.

First Tee – Canada will provide Canadian youth, and especially those in underrepresented groups, access to affordable and meaningful character education programs through golf. Golf Canada intends on launching chapters in every province in Canada by 2022, with the goal of 100,000 annual participants in the program by 2023.

“The Gragtmans Family Foundation focuses on the positive development and advancement of youth in Canada and abroad,” said Ian Gragtmans, Founder of the Gragtmans Family Foundation. “We are thrilled to be aligned with one of the world’s premiere and proven international youth development organizations. Our mission of providing youth with support to help positively design and advance their lives aligns well with the First Tee values of integrity, respect and perseverance.” A pursuer of growth and knowledge, Mr. Gragtmans credits many who have and continue to act as mentors, and his support of First Tee Canada directly reflects the ongoing responsibility of giving back by helping others.

“The pace of growth behind First Tee – Canada since being announced in Fall 2020 has been incredible, and that’s because of the shared vision of youth champions like the Gragtmans Family Foundation,” said Golf Canada Chief Sport Officer Kevin Blue. “The generosity of the Gragtmans Family Foundation towards this provincial chapter-founding, multi-year gift brings incredible momentum to our national youth development program in Canada’s largest market and will surely set the example and encourage deeper expansion across the Canadian philanthropic community.”

Through its deep network of donors and trustees, Golf Canada Foundation is a critical partner in supporting the launch and advancement of First Tee Canada through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Canada’s Provincial Golf Associations will also play a role in the advancement of First Tee Canada as chapters form in markets across Canada.

“We are extremely grateful to Ian Gragtmans and the Gragtmans Family Foundation for their incredible generosity as the catalyst to officially launch the first Ontario chapter of First Tee Canada,” said Golf Canada Foundation CEO Martin Barnard. “The meaningful support of our donors and corporate champions has far exceeded our early expectations and has provided real momentum in our discussion with others who want to get behind this character building program for youth.”

The generosity of the Gragtmans Family Foundation joins a growing number of chapter-founding and program advancement gifts that have been secured in 2021 with additional investments to be announced in the coming weeks.

Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has impacted more than 15 million young people through its character-building programs on golf courses, in schools and at youth-serving locations. The First Tee network has grown to over 150 chapters and more than 1,200 program locations across the United States as well as six international chapters in Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, and Canada, delivering programs that help young people build character and develop life skills through the game of golf.

Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are continuously pursuing more gifts, which will allow more chapters to launch in Canada. For more information on First Tee – Canada, to get involved, or to donate, visit www.firstteecanada.ca

First Tee Media Release

Humeniuk Foundation & TPC Toronto At Osprey Valley make $1M USD gift to power launch of First Tee – Canada

Humeniuk Family – TPC Toronto

TORONTO – The Humeniuk family and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley are proof that the impact of golf’s champions is measured by more than just trophies.

Inspired to support the life skills and youth development values ingrained in golf, the Humeniuk Foundation and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley have announced a major $1M USD donation to the Golf Canada Foundation to power the advancement of First Tee – Canada. 

The generosity of the Humeniuk family will be a catalyst for Golf Canada to expand the national rollout of First Tee – Canada program development and delivery with multi-faceted activities designed for schools, community centres, and golf facilities. With the gift, the Humeniuk Foundation will become a First Tee International Trustee. 

“We are extremely grateful to the Humeniuk family and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley for this meaningful gift that will enable First Tee – Canada to make an impact on youth development in communities across the country” said Kevin Blue, Chief Sport Officer for Golf Canada. “It is because of these generous donations that First Tee will help to provide transformational life skills and experiences to youth through the game of golf.” 

The Humeniuk Foundation gift to First Tee – Canada coincides with an exciting new era for TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley as the 54-hole facility is set to break ground on construction of two new clubhouses along with on-site accommodations that will transform the property into one of Canada’s premier golf destinations.   

The Humeniuk Foundation and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley have a history of giving back to the game of golf and their community with significant charitable commitments in recent years, from more than $350,000 in 2020 to organizations providing Covid-19 relief efforts to events like The Face-off, an annual charity match that features celebrities and media personalities including TSN’s James Duthie, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and NHL stars Mark Scheifele and Brandon Tanev and has donated $110,000 to charitable causes.

TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley has also supported numerous local causes including the Credit Valley Conservation Foundation, Caledon Community Services, Bethell Hospice Foundation and others, while acting as a leading partner in Golf’s Canada’s Covid-19 Golf Relief Fund which supported golf facilities in 2020 through reimbursement for PPE as well as rounds played subsidies for front-line workers and juniors. 

“We have been incredibly fortunate over the past few years to be in a position to give back to some wonderful organizations throughout our community. On behalf of the Humeniuk family and our entire team at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, we are very proud to play a part in the advancement of First Tee – Canada and look forward to a bright future ahead for youth experiences in the game of golf,” said Chris Humeniuk, President, TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley.

Located in Caledon, Ont., TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley features three of Canada’s Top 100 Courses and is the only Canadian facility to join the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Players Club (TPC) Network. The facility has hosted a number of premier championships including qualifiers for both the RBC Canadian Open and US Open as well as the Osprey Valley Open on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. Earlier this year, the facility launched The Road to TPC presented COBRA PUMA GOLF, a new six-event (36-hole) qualifying series for junior golfers to experience competition across Ontario and culminating with the series finale at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley. 

An accomplished executive and philanthropist that has supported his community through countless charitable endeavors, Chris Humeniuk is also the President of Pro-M Capital Partners Inc., providing strategic leadership and oversight of private equity real estate developments and mortgage lending. 

First Tee – Canada will provide Canadian youth and especially those in underrepresented groups access to affordable and meaningful character education programs through golf. Golf Canada is striving to launch chapters in every province in Canada by 2022, with the goal of 100,000 annual participants. 

Through its deep network of donors and trustees, Golf Canada Foundation is a critical partner in supporting the launch and advancement of First Tee – Canada through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Canada’s Provincial Golf Associations will also play a role in the advancement of First Tee – Canada as chapters begin to form in markets across Canada. 

“This is an exciting time for youth golf in Canada and thanks to the Humeniuk Foundation and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, we are advancing the national roll-out of First Tee – Canada programing with pace nationwide,” said Golf Canada Foundation CEO Martin Barnard. “The Humeniuk family and TPC Toronto have become exceptional supporters of the game and their community, and we are extremely appreciative of their continued generosity and shared vision to invest in the growth of the game.”

Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has impacted more than 15 million young people through its character-building programs on golf courses, in schools and at youth-serving locations. 

The First Tee network has grown to over 150 chapters and more than 1,200 program locations across the United States as well as six international chapters—Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, and Canada—delivering programs that help young people build character and develop life skills through the game of golf. 

Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are continuously pursuing more gifts, which will allow more chapters to launch in Canada. For more information on First Tee – Canada, to get involved, or to donate, visit www.firstteecanada.ca

First Tee Media Release Youth on Course

Team RBC welcomes newest Ambassador Harold Varner III and partners with Golf Canada to create the RBC Community Junior Golf Program

RBC Community Golf

TORONTO, August 17, 2021 — RBC and Golf Canada have announced the RBC Community Junior Golf Program, an initiative that will focus on building greater diversity and equity in golf by enabling affordable access to the game for youth in underrepresented communities in Canada. PGA TOUR professional golfer Harold Varner III will join Team RBC and serve as an ambassador for the new program.

As part of the RBC Community Junior Golf Program, Golf Canada will implement the First Tee – Canada and Youth on Course programs at municipal and especially accessible public golf courses across Canada. By 2023, the program is expected to engage more than 10,000 young people by delivering free First Tee programing, which integrates the game of golf with life skills curriculum and $5 Youth on Course green fees to select courses from coast to coast.

Harold Varner III, Team RBC ambassador

As founder of the HV3 Foundation and National Ambassador for Youth on Course, Varner will lend his expertise as an advisor to the RBC Community Junior Golf Program. In September 2021, Varner will host the program’s launch event at a GTA-based golf course, where youth from traditionally underserved communities will have the opportunity to spend time with Varner, learning tips from the pro and benefiting from on-course programming.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Team RBC family and to partner with an organization whose values match my own, including providing young people with affordable access to sport and playing an active role in populating a more diverse pipeline of golf talent,“ said Harold Varner III, Team RBC ambassador. “Through my work with young people, I understand the positive impact sport can have on a young person’s life. It can open doors and present opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. It is an absolute honour to be an ambassador for the RBC Community Junior Golf Program while joining the elite group of players on Team RBC.”

“As a long-standing supporter of golf, RBC is proud to launch a program that will help increase diversity, inclusivity and access to the game of golf,” said Mary DePaoli, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, RBC. “We believe in ensuring everyone has equal opportunity to realize their full potential and we look forward to bringing this program to life with the support of Harold Varner III, our newest Team RBC ambassador and someone who is equally as passionate about working with youth as we are.”

One of the important ways RBC brings its purpose of helping client thrive and communities prosper to life is by empowering youth. RBC Future Launch is the bank’s $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, including $50 million in focused funding to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for 25,000 BIPOC youth by 2025. In addition, through the RBC Heritage and RBC Canadian Open tournaments, RBC has helped raise over $25 million in support of local charities in Canada and the United States.

With 14 Canadian, U.S. and international ambassadors, including World No. 2 Dustin Johnson and World No. 7 Brooke Henderson, Varner joins a team of touring professionals that embodies the pinnacle of golf performance. Along with wearing RBC branding on his golf bag, Varner and his RBC teammates support many of the bank’s marketing initiatives and client experiences.

“Evolving the participant base of Canadian golf so it matches the diversity of multicultural Canada is an important priority,” said Kevin Blue, Chief Sport Officer of Golf Canada. “We’re eager to partner with RBC to help increase access to junior golf, especially for youth from backgrounds that historically have been underserved. By bringing First Tee – Canada and Youth on Course to the most accessible golf courses in Canada, the RBC Community Junior Golf program will help us make sure golf is welcoming to all Canadian youth.”

First Tee

Golf Canada partners with First Tee to establish First Tee – Canada

First Tee – Canada

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]OAKVILLE, Ont. – Golf Canada and First Tee announced today a new partnership to launch First Tee –  Canada. First Tee’s Board Chairman, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, shared the news during a global announcement that Presidents Cup will return to Royal Montreal Golf Club in 2024.

First Tee – Canada

Together, the partnership will bring First Tee’s youth development emphasis to strengthen Golf Canada’s junior golf activities – previously conducted under the Future Links brand – that reach kids in schools and at golf facilities. The innovative First Tee curriculum will focus on empowering young people to build their strength of character through the game of golf. Golf Canada will serve as the national headquarters of First Tee – Canada.

“Partnering with First Tee towards the 2021 launch of First Tee – Canada will provide Canadian youth and especially those in underrepresented groups access to affordable and meaningful character education programs through golf,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada have developed a strong foundation for junior golf programming over the past twenty plus years through Future Links. We are excited going forward to partner with the globally recognized First Tee brand and work collaboratively with the Golf Canada Foundation to strengthen our youth development activities.”

First Tee - Canada

“Golf Canada has made a significant impact on the growth of the sport in Canada through their multi-faceted junior golf initiatives and was a natural fit for us to partner with the launch of  First Tee – Canada,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO, First Tee. “Together, we will bring the First Tee youth development program nationwide and build on Golf Canada’s impressive grassroots success with programming that reaches kids via nearly 600 golf facilities and 4,100 participating schools.”

The PGA of Canada will play a leading role in the training of coaches who will serve as mentors to the kids and teens in the program. Coaches will help bring the curriculum to life by introducing youth to fun and active experiences that help them build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that can carry to everything they do.

“We are proud that PGA of Canada professionals will play an important role in utilizing golf to teach First Tee core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, judgement and courtesy,” said Kevin Thistle, CEO of PGA of Canada. “We look forward to supporting the development of youth and junior golfers through the coaching and mentorship of PGA of Canada professionals in alignment with the National Coaching Certification Program.”

First Tee – Canada

First Tee – Canada will target to launch multiple chapters in 2021 with a growth strategy to establish First Tee chapters in markets across Canada through 2023. The inaugural First Tee – Canada chapter launching in 2021 will be located in Victoria, British Columbia at the Bear Mountain Golf & Tennis Resort Community which is also home to Golf Canada’s National Training Centre. This was made possible by the support of the Matthews and Kusumoto families. Dan Matthews is a global Trustee and a member of the Board of Governors of the First Tee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Golf Canada Foundation.  A First Tee chapter in Quebec will also be launched shortly thereafter, continuing the incredible legacy of past  Presidents Cups. With support from the Presidents Cup, First Tee has successfully launched global chapters in Australia (2019) and Korea (2015).

Through its deep network of donors and trustees, Golf Canada Foundation will be a critical partner in supporting the launch and advancement of First Tee – Canada through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Canada’s Provincial Golf Associations will also play a role in the advancement of First Tee – Canada as chapters begin to form in markets across Canada. In addition, Golf Canada will continue to work with the NGCOA Canada (National Golf Course Owner’s Association) and other key industry stakeholders towards a more inclusive golf experience for Canadian youth.

Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has impacted more than 15 million young people through its character-building programs on golf courses, in schools and at youth-serving locations.

The First Tee network has grown to over 150 chapters and more than 1,200 program locations across the United States as well as six international chapters—Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco and Canada—delivering programs that help young people build character and develop life skills through the game of golf. A First Tee chapter out of Vancouver is operating independently out of Vancouver, and previously out of Montreal, prior to the launch of First Tee – Canada.


To learn more about First Tee, visit thefirsttee.org.


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First Tee

Greg McLaughlin named World Golf Foundation CEO & President of The First Tee

Greg McLaughlin
Greg McLaughlin ( Simon Bruty/Any Chance Productions/Getty Images)

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida, and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The World Golf Foundation Board of Directors announced today that Greg McLaughlin will assume the combined roles and responsibilities of World Golf Foundation Chief Executive Officer & President of The First Tee. McLaughlin most recently served as President of PGA TOUR Champions, since January 2015; prior to his role at the TOUR, he was CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation for 14 years.

McLaughlin will strategically direct the World Golf Foundation, The First Tee and World Golf Hall of Fame, expanding the reach, impact and global prominence of each and ensuring financial performance and sustainability. McLaughlin will serve as a leader among the world’s top golf organizations, and a key ambassador and spokesperson for the game of golf.

“We are thrilled to welcome Greg to this incredibly important new role,” said Jay Monahan, World Golf Foundation Chairman and PGA TOUR Commissioner. “I’m not sure we could have asked for a more qualified, passionate leader, considering his deep level of experience and executive leadership success within the golf world and beyond. Given the scope of this newly consolidated role – to further the World Golf Foundation’s mission and build upon the vision of The First Tee – his proven ability to build relationships at the highest level of the sports, business and not-for-profit communities is unique and will be invaluable. This restructure represents an exciting evolution for the World Golf Foundation, and Greg is the perfect person to take the mantle.”

World Golf Foundation Board Member and LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan added, “Greg will be a perfect fit in this new role. He is an authentic, proven leader who delivers on so many important attributes – he’s experienced, passionate and a visionary. Specifically, I think Greg will instantly connect with The First Tee chapters, donors and participants. With Greg at the helm, and given his ability to build lasting partnerships, this will be an exciting time for The First Tee and the World Golf Foundation.”

“As a member of the greater golf community for more than 30 years, I have always been proud of what the collective efforts of our sport have done and continue to do to inspire communities and change lives, especially for young people who can learn and grow through the values of golf,” said McLaughlin. “This is an exciting time in the evolution of the World Golf Foundation and, specifically, The First Tee, and I am humbled by and excited for the opportunity to lead our industry’s efforts to increase participation and global awareness of golf as a sport that is welcoming to all.”

McLaughlin joined the PGA TOUR in 2014, initially as Senior Vice President of the TOUR’s Championship Management division; he was promoted to PGA TOUR Champions President in 2015 and Executive Vice President of the PGA TOUR in 2018. McLaughlin has been instrumental in the success of PGA TOUR Champions, overseeing a record-setting 20-year marketing partnership with Charles Schwab & Co., the implementation of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs and the addition of several new title sponsors and markets.

Prior to joining the Tiger Woods Foundation in 2000, McLaughlin was the Vice President of Tournaments at the (now-named) Genesis Open, Honda Classic and BMW Championship.

McLaughlin graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Economics. He also received his Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Ten-year World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona will assist McLaughlin with the transition, as Executive Director of WE ARE GOLF and Senior Advisor, before retiring later next year. In addition, 25-year golf industry veteran, Jack Peter, who has made significant contributions including overseeing the design, build out and operation of PGA TOUR Entertainment and most recently, helping to bring the World Golf Hall of Fame to global prominence in his role as President, will retire from his position at the end of the year.

“I’d like to thank Jack for his incredible leadership through the years, specifically his success in raising the profile of the of the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum,” added Monahan.

Brodie Waters, World Golf Hall of Fame Vice President of Business Affairs, will lead the Hall of Fame structure, funding and operations with McLaughlin’s oversight, and will also oversee PR/communications activities for the World Golf Foundation.

Miller Brady, a 19-year veteran of the PGA TOUR, will succeed McLaughlin to lead PGA TOUR Champions. Brady steps into the role after most recently working under McLaughlin as Senior Vice President & Chief of Operations, where his responsibilities have included direct oversight of tournament business affairs, operations, competitions and player relations as well as scheduling. In previous roles at the TOUR, Brady gained valuable experience within the Corporate Marketing department and as Special Assistant to the Commissioner (Tim Finchem) during the development of the FedExCup. Brady began working in the sports industry in 1996 with Advantage International (now Octagon), overseeing BMW’s grassroots golf program and eventually Bank of America’s PGA TOUR Sponsorship of the West Coast Swing. He is from Atlanta and is a graduate of Georgia Southern University.