NISKAYUNA – The First Tee LINK of NY’s Capital Region, a program of the Junior Golf Alliance of NY, took a major step in its development when it announced a three-year partnership with Mohawk Golf Club Wednesday.
One of the oldest and most prestigious private courses in the Capital Area, Mohawk GC will provide a home base for the First Tee Link’s junior programs for the next three years. Additionally, the organization’s inaugural fundraiser outing, set for Oct. 2, also will be played at Mohawk GC.
“Why not?” Mohawk GC general manager Brian Mullins asked rhetorically. “We have a fantastic facility with our ‘Wee Course,’ (a par-3 course for beginners), we’ve already had a great junior program led by head pro Jeremy Kerr, and we have a special interest in growing the game with our youth. I think helping out The First Tee’s local chapter will open some doors for an organization that not only teaches golf but also teaches ethics.
“This is more than a sports program for kids and teens,” Mullins continued. “The club is proud to host The First Tee program and its supporting organization, the Junior Golf Alliance, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing education programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.”
Mullins agreed that having Mohawk GC as the program’s host will draw interest as a stamp of approval from one of the Capital Area’s most respected clubs. “This will be an exciting new chapter in the history of the club,” Mullins said. “While learning the fundamentals of a golf swing, The First Tee character education programs provide a fun, active environment to teach young people how to manage emotions, resolve conflicts communicate, set goals and much more.”
GROWING THE GAME
Frank Ciarlo, president of the JGA of NY, said his organization’s new relationship with Mohawk GC will be a springboard for growth.
“We are looking forward to the partnership,” Ciarlo said. “We love having MGC as our sponsoring venue for our inaugural golfing and working with MGC to help us grow it into the premier event for the Junior Golf Alliance/First Tee of NY’s Capital Region.” He added that there are more than 800 First Tee chapters nationwide.
“The First Tee is a nonprofit youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to youth,” Ciarlo continued. “Through after-school and in-school programs, we help shape the lives of young people from all walks-of-life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf. With MGC as our home base, we have an opportunity to connect our young golfers with people whose lives exemplify the life and golf skills we teach.”
Also attending the press conference Wednesday, August 30 were local First Tee chapter board of directors Mark Walsh from the Troy City School District and Brian Mohan, who represents the Schenectady/Niskayuna region. Chapter advisor Terry Phillips, a Rotarian, was also in attendance, as well as three young members of the local First Tee, who picked up some pointers on chipping and pitching from Kerr on the 18th green.
Emily Shim, 9, said her favorite club to hit is her driver. Brothers Joey Parisi, 11, and Frank Parisi, 13, said their family moved to New York from Florida and now live in Niskayuna. Joey Parisi said his favorite club to hit is his chipper or wedge. His older brother prefers the putter.
Registration is now open for the initial fundraiser: players can register at www.juniorgolfalliance.org.