First Tee PGA TOUR Americas

Fortinet Cup Championship to support First Tee – Canada as Official Charitable Partner

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Caledon, Ont. – The Fortinet Cup Championship, an annual PGA TOUR Americas event taking place at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley, has selected First Tee – Canada as its Official Charitable Partner for 2024.

Part of a tradition that has seen PGA TOUR Americas events at TPC Toronto donate more than $300,000 to local charities since 2018, this year’s event will see proceeds go towards the Golf Canada Foundation, with First Tee – Canada programming as the charitable beneficiary. 

The Fortinet Cup Championship event week will also begin with a special First Tee – Canada Pro-Am Monday, September 8.

First Tee – Canada is a youth development program providing children with life-enhancing golf experiences, offering accessible and inclusive programming at golf courses, schools, and community centres, seeking to ensure that the sport of golf reflects the diversity of Canadians while promoting healthy choices through the game.

Operated by Golf Canada, the First Tee – Canada program has welcomed more than 100,000 youth participants since launching in 2020.

“First Tee – Canada plays such an important role in fostering the growth of golf in Canada, and we’re thrilled to partner with an organization that represents our shared values of promoting diversity and inclusion in the game,” said Tournament Director Brad Parkins. “We look forward to a successful partnership that will be additive to both the tournament and our community this season.”

“As the top cybersecurity vendor in Canada, Fortinet invests in community efforts and organizations that align with our corporate social responsibilities. We are glad to benefit First Tee – Canada this year, a local non-profit organization focusing on helping youth in their personal and athletic development,” said Marc Asturias, Vice President of Marketing and Government Vertical at Fortinet Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. “We’re continuing to drive innovation through our partnership with PGA TOUR Americas initiatives, which will ultimately benefit our customers, the local community, and non-profit organizations across Canada.”

TPC Toronto, which serves as the host organization for the Fortinet Cup Championship, has made a commitment to supporting the growth of golf through First Tee – Canada. In 2022, it announced alongside the Humeniuk family a $1M USD donation to the Golf Canada Foundation to power the advancement of First Tee – Canada, and the facility also serves as host to programming for First Tee – Canada’s Caledon chapter throughout each season.

“We look forward to continuing the momentum we have built over the past several years with First Tee – Canada, striving to provide all children across Canada with access to First Tee and positive experiences through golf,” said Adam Hunter, Golf Canada’s Director, Grow the Game. “Our gratitude goes out to TPC Toronto and the Fortinet Cup Championship for this opportunity to strengthen our growing relationship and reinforce our shared commitment to growing the game in Canada.”

The Fortinet Cup Championship is the 16th and final event on the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas schedule, where 10 future PGA TOUR stars will earn promotions to the Korn Ferry Tour. The event will be played on TPC Toronto’s newly renovated North course from September 2-8.

First Tee

World Autism Day: Embracing inclusion with First Tee – Canada

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“Inclusion is not bringing people into what already exists; it is making a new space, a better space for everyone.”
(George Dei, Canadian Professor)

In Canada, one in 66 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people and the world around them. It can affect body language, social interactions and relationships, and sensory processing. (Autism Ontario)

Creating a welcoming, safe, and empowering environment for children from all backgrounds and abilities is a priority for staff across the country. At the core of First Tee’s mission is inclusion.

First Tee – Canada partners with youth organizations across the country to provide all children with the opportunity to play golf in a welcoming environment.

In British Columbia, First Tee – BC has made an impact in Vancouver’s autism community by working with the Canucks Autism Network (CAN).

“One in 30 children in BC are on the spectrum,” said Jake Winn, Senior Manager of Programs, Canucks Autism Network. “By joining forces with First Tee, we’re giving kids an opportunity to try something new and discover a sport that they may have never tried before. Programs like First Tee broaden the horizons for children on the autism spectrum.”

The Canucks Autism Network provides year-round programming for children, youth, and adults on the autism spectrum across BC. Their programs for children aged three to 12 focus on sports and recreation so they were thrilled to add golf to their portfolio of offerings.

“We love the fact that First Tee lessons are adaptable,” said Winn. “We can change games on the fly depending on the group and alter tasks and challenges per athlete. It’s not a one size fits all. It’s customizable and accessible for each participant to be engaged.”

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First Tee – BC Coach Tyler McKay has been leading the programming efforts.

“Tyler knew how to interact with the kids and instilled confidence in the participants and their families,” said First Tee – BC Program Manager, Scott Stefani. “The feedback from parents and Canucks Autism Network staff was overwhelmingly positive. To see our team and the First Tee program itself create a buzz around our sport and make children excited to play golf is so exciting.”

The positive response from parents and participants is a testament to the importance of a dedicated coach, and First Tee – Canada has no shortage of those.

Similarly, on the east coast, First Tee – Atlantic’s coaches are also offering golf to children with exceptionalities.

First Tee – Atlantic partnered with the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, thanks to the efforts of Coach Wayne Allen and his daughter Coach Rosie Allen, Golf Canada’s 2023 Lorie Kane Future Leader Award recipient.  

The father-daughter duo has made a significant impact on children in their community of Corner Brook, Newfoundland over the last two years, and have gone above and beyond to create environments where all feel welcome.

In addition to obtaining a First Tee coach certification, coach Wayne completed Ernie Els’ #GameOn Autism Golf Program training, which is infused with evidence-based practices for teaching golf to people with ASD.

The time and effort put into this partnership have not gone unnoticed.

A parent of a participant left positive feedback for Coach Wayne. “Thank you for making a space for these kiddos to come together and belong to something. They are often left out of mainstream sports.”

Coaches like Wayne are proudly paving the way for a more inclusive sport across Canada.

Today, and every day, First Tee – Canada celebrates diversity and believes children of all abilities deserve to feel safe, empowered, and welcome in the sport of golf.

First Tee

Increasing female participation through First Tee – Canada

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According to the Canadian Women & Sport National Study, one in three girls will drop out of sports by adolescence – three times more likely than boysand over 60 percent of adolescent girls are not participating in any kind of sport. Some of the most common barriers preventing girls from trying, and staying, in sports are low confidence, not feeling welcomed, and perceived lack of skill.

That is where First Tee – Canada steps in. 

First Tee is delivered in three settings—golf courses, schools, and community centres, with over 70 percent of programming offered at no cost to participants. The goal is to introduce children, especially those who may have otherwise not had the chance or interest, to golf, and through a life-skills-focused curriculum, foster the continued development of skills like confidence and perseverance.

First Tee – Canada has six chapters operating programming in every province. Since launching in 2021, over 80,000 Canadian youth have been introduced to golf through First Tee – Canada. In 2023, nearly 40 percent of participants identified as female and nearly 50 percent identified as BIPOC.

What sets First Tee apart from other junior golf programming is not its focus on building life and golf skills simultaneously, instead, it is the effort made in communities to provide accessible and inviting pathways to the sport for equity-deserving groups including girls, BIPOC communities, newcomers, and individuals with exceptionalities and disabilities.

First Tee staff are intentional when onboarding new program locations and forming relationships with community organizations that serve the surrounding communities.

“Our goal is to build a community hub of First Tee programming offered at a golf course and nearby schools and community centres,” said First Tee – Ontario Program Manger, Amaya Athill. “Most of the time, we are responsible for a child’s first time on a golf course. We partner with a community organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters or a school in an identified deserving area and host ‘try-golf’ events for children to create a positive association to the sport.”

In 2023, First Tee – Canada held nearly 200 chapter-led events including try-golf days or school field trips, some of which were all-girls events, including participants and coaches.

“These events are so important,” said Athill. “We are striving to ensure folks, especially those in underrepresented groups, feel golf is a sport for them. We found that hosting all-girls events helps break down barriers that would typically prevent girls from trying golf. It is an even playing field where most, if not all participants are trying golf for the first time, they are surrounded by positive female coaches and role models, and most importantly the focus is to just have fun.”

On the east coast, First Tee – Atlantic plans to host at least one all-girls event per Atlantic province this summer with all-female coaches and volunteers. Emily Nickerson, First Tee – Atlantic Program Coordinator is spearheading this chapter’s initiative.

She plans to collaborate with organizations to introduce golf and incorporate a workshop or activity outside of golf, too. For example, First Tee – Atlantic has partnered with She is Active New Brunswick, which will provide a confidence-building exercise for the participants during their event(s) in NB. Additionally, Nickerson’s goal for these events is to ensure the girls leave excited to try golf again. She hopes to provide more participation opportunities through First Tee programming or range passes to courses in their area, for example.

“Best case scenario, a few girls enjoy themselves so much they enroll in other First Tee programming, continuing to develop their skills and become golfers for life,” said Nickerson. “Or the girls learn something new about themselves, they meet a new friend, have a coach to look up to, or apply what they learned to another sport or at school. Any of that is still a win in my books. If we can make a positive impact on even one girl and encourage her to stick with golf or any sport, I’m happy.”

That is where First Tee – Canada stands out. It is a program led by staff, coaches and volunteers who understand the power of sports and believe that every child deserves the opportunity to try golf, to believe they fit in, and trust there is space for them in the sport.  

“This is more than a golf program,” said Nickerson. “It’s changing the future of golf. I hope one day, you won’t feel judged being a woman on the golf course. Judged for playing ‘too slow’, what you’re wearing, or how your swing looks ‘for a girl’. I hope through First Tee and our focus on female participation, we are paving the way for a more inclusive and comfortable environment for girls and women in golf.”

First Tee

The Hewitt Foundation makes significant contribution to First Tee – Atlantic

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Multi-year gift will positively impact youth across the maritime provinces through affordable and inclusive access to golf

FEBRUARY 29, 2024 – Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are proud to announce that the Hewitt Foundation has pledged a major gift of $1.35M CAD that directly benefits First Tee – Atlantic.

The Hewitt Foundation is a private Canadian foundation that was established in 2017 at the time of the sale of Hewitt Equipment Limited and Atlantic Tractors and Equipment. Hewitt Equipment was founded in 1952 by the late Robert Hewitt. Jim Hewitt and the Hewitt family created the Foundation to help bring meaningful and sustainable social, economic, and cultural change by granting, investing, and collaborating with other organizations, partners, and the public.

“We are proud to support organizations that are bettering the lives of Canadians through healthy, active living and education. We understand the values that the game of golf can provide and are aligned with First Tee’s mission to provide environments that foster inner confidence, perseverance, and honesty through sport,” said Hewitt Foundation CEO, Kim Anderson. “The Maritimes are especially important to us. Hewitt Equipment operated in these provinces for 65 years, so it is special to continue that legacy and support the communities that helped make the Hewitt family business successful.”

Golf Canada partnered with First Tee in 2020 to launch First Tee – Canada and provide youth with affordable and inclusive access to golf along with life-enhancing experiences through the game. First Tee – Atlantic launched in 2022 and as of 2024, six chapters are operating First Tee – Canada programming in every province.

First Tee is delivered in three settings, golf courses, schools, and community centres with unique curriculums and training for each. Last year, First Tee – Atlantic delivered programming to nearly 11,500 participants at 54 program locations across all four provinces, with a team of three staff and 20 certified First Tee coaches. Nearly 40 percent of participants identified as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour), and 52 percent identified as female. Through the support of donors like the Hewitt Foundation, 72 percent of programming was provided at no cost to participants.

“The generosity of the Hewitt Foundation has helped accelerate the growth and impact made in communities across the Atlantic,” said Golf Canada Chief Sport Officer, Kevin Blue. “This financial support allows us to onboard program locations, train coaches, provide program equipment kits, and most importantly, provide affordable and accessible introductory golf programming to children. The work we do would not be possible without the support of donors like the Hewitt Foundation.”

Through its deep network of donors, Golf Canada Foundation is a critical partner in supporting the advancement of First Tee – Canada chapters across the country through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts.

“The Hewitt Foundation, alongside many other generous donors, is the reason we have positively impacted over 85,000 youth across Canada,” said Golf Canada Foundation CEO, Martin Barnard. “We are committed to the same mission – providing empowering opportunities to children through sport and ensuring golf participation more closely reflects the strengths of Canada’s diversity. Together, we are building game changers.”

The generosity of the Hewitt Foundation adds to a growing number of significant donations that have been secured since First Tee – Canada’s inception in 2020.

To learn more about First Tee – Atlantic, or to donate, visit

First Tee

Junior golf for all Canadians

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Photo Bernard Brault, Golf Canada Toronto, Ontario: Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 RBC CANADIAN OPEN Oakdale Golf and Country Club Hall of fame

First Tee and Youth on Course work collaboratively to provide a welcoming and accessible junior golf pathway.

Golf participation in Canada is currently at multiyear highs and as the national sport organization, Golf Canada is focused on the long-term future and overall health of our sport. For example, as golf participation thrives today, what long-term investment must be made to ensure the sport will be similarly healthy a generation from now?

Long-term trends indicate that the Canadian population will become increasingly multicultural and multidimensionally diverse than today. To sustain and grow Canadian golf participation going forward, a larger share of golfers will reflect racialized and socioeconomic backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in our sport.

Many golf courses operate highly successful and impactful junior programs across Canada. As a complement to these fundamentally important locally driven efforts, Golf Canada, along with corporate and philanthropic supporters, are making long-term investments that specifically seek to provide affordable and welcoming golf access to Canadian youth from a diversity of backgrounds.

The first primary investment is in First Tee – an internationally renowned program with over 25 years of operation in the United States. First Tee offers junior golf and youth development experiences in three settings: golf facilities, community centres, and schools. The First Tee program provides equipment, turnkey lesson plans, and in-depth instructor training. First Tee is primarily suited for publicly accessible facilities and municipal golf courses – or private courses who welcome non-member juniors for First Tee programming that takes place on driving ranges and putting greens. First Tee has an extensive track record in the United States of welcoming equity-deserving youth into our sport.

First Tee is funded by generous individuals and corporate donors. First Tee programming is offered for free at all schools and community centres. Most participating golf courses are able to offer programming for free, and need-based financial assistance is available to all participants so that cost is never a barrier.

Golf Canada initially partnered with First Tee in 2020 and the program will be operational in every province by the end of 2023, charting a course for community-by-community growth that will be executed over several years.

The second important investment into the sport is Youth on Course – a program that allows junior golfers to play golf on a participating course for a green fee of $5 or less. Junior golfers who are introduced to the sport through First Tee can thus transition onto the golf course at an affordable price.

Youth on Course started in the United States and there are nearly 2,000 participating golf courses across North America. From a Canadian perspective, the program began in Alberta and Ontario in 2019 and expanded to British Columbia and Atlantic Canada this year. Partner courses are provided with a modest subsidy in addition to the $5 green fee collected from the junior golfer. Youth on Course is funded by individual and corporate donors who believe in increasing golf course access for juniors. Host courses also make an important contribution by prioritizing access for juniors, even while incurring an opportunity cost.

What do we believe is the blueprint for supporting an accessible junior golf pathway for Canadian youth from all backgrounds? Engage youth from equity deserving communities at their local schools and community centres through First Tee, transition participants to nearby First Tee golf courses to further their development in golf and finally, provide a low-cost on-course entry point through Youth on Course.

Beyond large-scale exposure to the sport, a segment of these participants will advance on to engage in competitive golf through the Junior Skills Challenge or the multitude of local, provincial, and national junior tournaments.

The impact of junior golf programs always occurs locally, and is often supported by the local club, provincial golf associations, and the efforts of PGA of Canada professionals. Whether at the grassroots level or competitively, junior golf is driven by the energy and professionalism of local coaches and volunteers. Through First Tee and Youth on Course, Golf Canada seeks to complement existing successful junior programs and provide local leaders with additional programming that is designed for the long-term future of Canadian golf.

The long-term result will be a sport that continues to be the most played of any sport in the country, and one more closely aligned with the diversity strengths of multi-cultural Canada.

First Tee

Teeing up for a bright future: First Tee’s impact at the RBC Canadian Open

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1,5000 kids. $160,00 raised. Countless Memories.     

For Canadian sports fans, it will be hard to forget the moment that Nick Taylor sunk a 72-foot putt to be named the first Canadian to win the RBC Canadian Open in nearly 70 years. Similarly, the memories First Tee created for over 1,500 children during tournament week will last a lifetime.

First Tee welcomed First Tee – Ontario participants, local junior golfers, children from the Toronto School Board, BGC Jane and Finch, BGC Peel, Hope 4 U Community Services, and the Elms Community Centre. Children experienced behind-the-scenes tours of tournament grounds exposing them to the endless opportunities in sport aside from playing golf, and fun introductory clinics hosted by First Tee – Ontario coaches. Some even took pros’ first putts during the annual Walk With a Pro activation during Wednesday’s Championship Pro-Am round.

First Tee – Canada is funded through generous corporate and individual donors that align with the program’s mission to positively impact the lives of youth through golf. First Tee – Canada was the tournament’s official charitable beneficiary, and through 50/50 ticket sales, 18th Grandstand seating admission sales, and generous corporate donations, over $160,000 was raised.

Interested in becoming a First Tee location or a First Tee coach? Visit to learn more.

First Tee

National Indigenous History Month: Renewing Relationships with First Tee – Canada

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The world just turned its attention to Toronto for the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open. Meanwhile, First Tee – Canada is also taking a moment to reflect in honour of National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day.  

This month serves as a reminder to acknowledge that we live, work, and play on the unceded traditional homelands of Indigenous communities, stand with those who are impacted by residential school systems and ongoing colonial structures and policies, and celebrate Indigenous cultures, traditions, and heritage together.  

Canada recognizes three groups of Indigenous peoples: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, each with unique histories, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs. Nearly two million Canadians identify as Indigenous.

First Tee – Canada is made up of five chapters: First Tee – British Columbia, First Tee – Premier départ Quebec, First Tee – Atlantic, First Tee – Ontario, and First Tee – Prairies, with First Tee – Alberta launching later this year.  

Each chapter has unique and dynamic relationships with local Indigenous communities. 

BC has the greatest diversity of Indigenous cultures in Canada. First Tee – British Columbia opened its first program location, The Musqueam Golf and Learning Academy, on traditional Musqueam First Nation territory in 2021.  

Since then, it has expanded to over 53 program spaces and sold out every session this year. This summer, CPCK Women’s Open will be held at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, which is also located on Musqueam traditional territory. During tournament week, First Tee – British Columbia will host youth clinics at Musqueam Golf and Learning Academy, offer behind-the-scenes tours of the event grounds for local community groups, and provide children with positive experiences through golf.

Being home to more than 200 First Nations, First Tee – British Columbia hopes to continue to strengthen its existing relationships with Indigenous communities, but also strives to expand its network and collaborate with additional Indigenous communities across the province. 

In Quebec, there are over 40 Indigenous communities across the province. First Tee – Premier départ Quebec currently collaborates with the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, the Cree community of Waskaganish, and the First Nation of Mashteuiatsh through First Tee golf course, school, and community programming.  

The Quebec team also works closely with the Club 24 Athletics Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting young Indigenous leaders through sport and education.  

Last year, First Tee – Premier départ Quebec hosted programming for 18 Indigenous participants. The team hopes to more than double that number this year. 

In the Kahnawake First Nations reserve, there are seven golf courses in under 50 km. The community’s volunteer coaches are introducing as many children as possible to golf through First Tee, developing multisport athletes to open more doors in their futures.

First Tee – Premier départ Quebec has been able to provide most programming at no cost to participants, with an entirely Indigenous coaching staff.

Ontario is home to over 23 percent of all Indigenous peoples in Canada.

First Tee – Ontario currently works with Anishnabeg Outreach Kitchener and Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre to offer First Tee community programming at their locations throughout the summer and will provide an on-course fun day at nearby golf courses this summer, too. Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board has also come on board and will offer First Tee school programming this fall.

Additionally, last week, First Tee – Ontario coaches supported Golf Ontario’s Indigenous Try Golf Day event held at Sandusk Golf Club and led First Tee programming for children who attended the event.

First Tee – Prairies and First Tee – Atlantic are in the beginning stages of building relationships with Indigenous communities within their provinces, but hope to launch programming soon, some even this summer.  

The continued focus for First Tee – Canada is to build out community hubs of accessible pathways for golf participation through community centres, schools, and golf courses, ensuring the sport of golf reflects the strengths of Canada’s diversity.

Each chapter is dedicated to building trusting and authentic relationships with community organizations, stakeholders, and volunteers in their provinces to provide support for equity-deserving groups, including Indigenous communities.  

Click here for learning resources about First Nations, Inuit, and Metis across Canada. Visit to learn more about program efforts across the country. 

First Tee

First Tee – Canada to launch in Alberta

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The debut of First Tee – Alberta makes First Tee – Canada operational in every province

June 20, 2023 – Golf Canada and Golf Canada Foundation are proud to announce that First Tee – Alberta will launch this year thanks to the continued progress of the Golf Canada Foundation Drive Campaign. To date, Drive has raised $15.7 million in cash and commitments to support First Tee across Canada.

With support from Alberta Golf, First Tee – Alberta will hire chapter staff, onboard golf facilities, community centres and schools, and build a supportive provincial network of donors, volunteers, and coaches. Alberta-based programming will begin in the fall.

First Tee – Canada provides accessible and inclusive youth development programming and life-enhancing experiences through golf, especially for children who may have otherwise not had the opportunity.

Golf Canada partnered with First Tee in 2020 to launch First Tee – Canada. Programming began in 2021 in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario, with the Atlantic and Prairies regions following in 2022.

“The launch of First Tee – Alberta marks a milestone for First Tee – Canada, as we are now operational in every province,” said Sean Reczulski, Director, Development with First Tee – Canada. “We are thankful for the tremendous support from donors and stakeholders who make the growth of First Tee possible. We look forward to further expansion into more communities across Canada and intend for First Tee to make an even broader national impact.”

Although the launch of First Tee – Alberta establishes a presence for the program in every province, this is only the beginning of First Tee – Canada’s efforts to provide accessible introductory golf environments and participation pathways to children from all backgrounds. First Tee – Canada will continue growing its network, onboarding more program locations, and enrolling more participants across the country in the coming years.

“We look forward to continuing the momentum we have built over the past three years, striving to provide all children across Canada with access to First Tee and positive experiences through golf,” said Adam Hunter, Golf Canada’s Director, Grow the Game. “Our program is still in its infancy, so the sky is the limit for what we can achieve moving forward. Together with our dedicated supporters across the country, we will advance the game in a manner that ensures the sport of golf reflects the diversity of Canadians.”

The focus for First Tee – Alberta, and fellow chapters across Canada is to build out community hubs made up of neighbouring community centres, schools, and golf courses offering youth programming with a focus to engage equity-deserving groups.

Golf Canada and Golf Canada Foundation are continuously pursuing gifts to deliver programming to more children across Canada. To date, First Tee – Canada has received nearly $16 million in donations to support the launch and growth of five chapters, the onboarding of 57 golf facilities, 41 community centres, and 110 schools, and the engagement of nearly 50,000 participants across the country.    

To learn how to support First Tee – Alberta’s launch and growth, please email Adam Hunter. To find a chapter near you, visit


About First Tee – Canada

First Tee – Canada is a youth development program operating by Golf Canada since 2020. In partnership with First Tee, Golf Canada launched First Tee – Canada to provide inclusive and accessible life-enhancing opportunities to children through golf. First Tee – Canada continues to expand programming and positively impact youth at golf courses, schools, and community centres across the country. For more information and to learn how to support First Tee – Canada, visit

About Golf Canada Foundation

Golf Canada Foundation is the leading source for golf philanthropy in Canada, granting more than $4.5 million to golf programs in 2022, and $19 million invested in the sport since the Foundation’s inception in 1979. The Foundation’s mission is to support and promote programs that increase participation in golf by engaging players of all ages and abilities across Canada. For more information about what Golf Canada Foundation is doing to support golf in your community, visit us online at

About Golf Canada

Golf Canada is the National Sports Federation and governing body for golf in Canada, representing more than 319,000 golfers and 1,435 member clubs across the country. A proud member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Golf Canada’s vision is to be a world leader in golf and achieving the mission to increase Canadian participation and excellence For more information about what Golf Canada is doing to support golf in your community, visit

Media Contact:
Madelyn Boelhouwer | Senior Coordinator, Marketing and Communications First Tee – Canada | Golf Canada |

First Tee RBC Canadian Open

Oakdale Golf and Country Club makes an impact beyond the course

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Oakdale Golf and Country Club is not only the host of the 2023 RBC Canadian Open, but with a goal to make an impact beyond the championship, it has also opened its gates to children and non-golfing families in the community. By the end of this year, Oakdale will have introduced nearly 150 local youth to golf through First Tee – Ontario, at no cost to the participants, due to the generosity of the club’s membership.

First Tee is a youth development program that provides children with life-enhancing experiences through golf. First Tee – Ontario offers accessible introductory golf programming at golf courses, schools, and community centres, striving to ensure that the sport of golf reflects the diversity of Canadians.

Golf Canada partnered with First Tee in 2020 to launch First Tee – Canada, which is operational in nearly every region of the country, apart from Alberta, which is set to launch this summer.

As a private golf club, Oakdale’s access is typically reserved for members and guests. But with First Tee, Oakdale is setting itself apart from other private clubs by providing inclusive access to the game for high-density, lower-income neighbouring communities. Nearly 70 children from the nearby Oakdale Community Centre participated in First Tee programming last summer. This summer, more than 50 children from the Boys and Girls Club of Jane and Finch will be taking a short bus ride to the course to experience all that the sport has to offer.

“Our goal is to introduce golf to children from all backgrounds,” says Amaya Athill, Program Manager, First Tee – Ontario. “Together, we are actively addressing barriers such as affordability and accessibility by leveraging our resources to provide opportunities for meaningful access to golf.”

First Tee prides itself on providing empowering environments where children feel welcomed, safe to fail, and excited to grow. The curriculum is designed to introduce golf to children as young as five and incorporates a life skill component while focusing on having fun. Activities are modified to the age and ability of the participants and can include familiar sports such as baseball or bowling, but with a golf twist, while weaving in the continued development of skills such as confidence, perseverance, and integrity.  

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The junior golf coaches at Oakdale, Bob Beauchemin (Ontario Golf Hall of Famer and 2022 recipient of the Lorie Kane Community Spirit Award), and Izidor Markic, underwent First Tee training through the PGA of Canada last year. They have since immersed themselves in the brand and mission of introducing youth to golf, especially those who would not have otherwise had the opportunity and making a positive influence in their lives.

“It’s rewarding to be a part of this program, and a bigger movement to grow the game of golf. For most of the children, it’s their first time on a golf course,” said Bob Beauchemin, First Tee – Ontario Coach and Oakdale’s Director of Instruction. “To be a part of that first introduction to golf and then to see them progress through the program and gain confidence and skills, with a smile on their face, is amazing. We look forward to the continued success of First Tee in years to come.”

This year at the RBC Canadian Open, First Tee – Ontario and Golf Canada will host over 1,000 children from local community centres and the Toronto District School Board for behind-the-scenes tours and golf activations. The hope is to introduce children to golf in a fun and positive environment and expose them to the opportunities that are available in the world of golf, in addition to playing.

Beauchemin and his accompanying volunteer coaching staff have upheld Oakdale’s mission of making family the heart of their operations. Through First Tee – Ontario, Oakdale has created its own small family of golfers from the course’s very own backyard.

To date, First Tee – Ontario has nearly 20 golf facilities, 16 community centres, and 20 schools delivering programming across the province. To learn more about programming near you, or to donate, visit

First Tee

RBC Community Junior Golf welcomes 18 new golf course sites 

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First Tee – Canada and Youth on Course will provide greater access to the game for 10,000 youth by end of 2023

TORONTO – Today, RBC and Golf Canada are excited to welcome 18 new golf course sites to RBC Community Junior Golf, which provides affordable access to the game for underrepresented groups and socio-economically disadvantaged youth in Canada. The newly selected sites join fifteen returning courses from the 2022 inaugural season, which engaged nearly 6,000 young people in communities across Canada.

RBC Community Junior Golf enables the implementation of First Tee – Canada and Youth on Course programming at accessible municipal and public golf courses and helps create pathways to the game at nearby schools and communities. The courses were selected based on accessibility to local public transit as well as proximity to community centres, with an intentional focus on regional and diverse representation.

“RBC strongly believes that sport has the power to build character, provide opportunities for young people to grow and foster vibrant communities,” said Shannon Cole, Vice President, Brand Marketing, RBC. “We are incredibly proud of the impact RBC Community Junior Golf had in its first season and look forward to expanding our reach to enable more access to the game of golf.”

RBC Community Junior Golf Welcomes New Golf Courses:

RBC Community Junior Golf Returning Golf Courses:

Each location will be equipped with First Tee instructor training, tailored lesson plans, equipment and financial support to operate at no cost to the location or participants. Additionally, each golf facility will offer Youth on Course, which provides young golfers aged six to 18 with access to subsidized rounds of golf for five dollars or less.

“RBC Community Junior Golf has played a major role in the thriving growth of First Tee and Youth on Course across Canada,” said Kevin Blue, Chief Sport Officer, Golf Canada. “Their initiative will continue to expand our reach in equity-deserving communities and provide more children with life-enhancing opportunities through golf. We look forward to our partnership and commitment to ensuring that our sport reflects the diversity of Canadians.”

Canadian youth aged five to 18 years can benefit from First Tee and Youth on Course at one of the participating golf courses. RBC Community Junior Golf participating facilities work with community centres or schools in their local area to register youth participants. For more details, visit:

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 97,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank and one of the largest in the world, based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 27 other countries. Learn more at

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at

About Golf Canada

Golf Canada is the National Sports Federation and governing body for golf in Canada, representing more than 319,000 golfers and 1,435 member clubs across the country. A proud member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Golf Canada’s vision is to be a world leader in golf and achieving the mission to increase Canadian participation and excellence. For more information about what Golf Canada is doing to support golf in your community, visit

About First Tee – Canada

First Tee – Canada is a youth development program operating under Golf Canada since 2020. In partnership with First Tee, Golf Canada launched First Tee – Canada to provide inclusive and accessible life-enhancing opportunities to children through golf. First Tee – Canada continues to expand programming and positively impact youth at golf courses, schools, and community centres across the country. For more information and to learn how to support First Tee – Canada, visit


For further information: Fiona Anderson, RBC,; Madelyn Boelhouwer, Golf Canada (First Tee – Canada),