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Honorary Chair President George W. Bush to Headline Largest Gathering of The First Tee Leaders

March 10, 2015

St. Augustine, Fla. (March 10, 2015) – More than 800 leaders from The First Tee’s 175 chapters will assemble at the Hyatt Regency Dallas later this week for The First Tee 2015 Network Meeting. It is the largest showing for The First Tee’s biennial gathering, and demonstrates the network’s growth in its effort to bring its character education programs to an additional 10 million young people between 2011 and 2017.

The attendees—chapter volunteer board members, executive directors, program directors, coaches and other staff and volunteers—will hear from a variety of speakers including President George W. Bush. President Bush became the organization’s honorary chair in 2011 following his father, President George H. W. Bush, who served in that capacity from inception in 1997 through 2010.

“This meeting promises to be both educational and inspiring,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee. “Much like our theme, ‘Building Momentum,’ The First Tee chapters are carefully expanding their efforts as we collectively aim to have an impact on our young people in communities across the United States and select international locations. I look forward to the energy and stimulus the Network Meeting will provide.”

Other speakers on deck for The First Tee 2015 Network Meeting include Admiral Michelle J. Howard, vice chief of naval operations and the first female four-star general; Carla Harris, author, motivational speaker and Morgan Stanley vice chairman; World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam; David Cook, coach, author and film-maker in the field of Sport and Performance Psychology; Roy Spence, chairman, CEO and co-founder of advertising agency GSD&M; and Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of Equal Justice Institute, and a member of The First Tee Board.

CBS Sports and Golf Channel personality David Feherty will emcee The First Tee Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 14, where eight “outstanding participants” will be presented with college scholarships courtesy of The First Tee Founding Corporate Partner of Shell Oil Company.

Throughout the three days, attendees will participate in educational classes featuring professional speakers and networking sessions at which they can exchange best practices.

Held in conjunction with the meeting is The First Tee Outstanding Participant Summit, an interactive and educational event for 28 teens to develop and hone skills to become leaders in their chapters, schools and communities. Also taking place is the first-ever Outreach Summit, a one-day meeting that brings 25 of The First Tee’s in-school and after-school partners together to interact and learn practical strategies for delivery of The First Tee programs.

From 2011 through 2014, more than 5 million young people have been reached toward the goal of 10 million by 2017.  The First Tee network has grown to include 175 chapters delivering character-based programs at 1,000 golf locations. The First Tee National School Program has been introduced to more than 7,000 elementary schools in 1,000 districts, and The First Tee DRIVE is in 450 after-school locations through partnerships with other youth-serving organizations.

For more information about The First Tee, visit

About The First Tee
The First Tee ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools and at other youth-serving locations.

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 10.5 million young people in all 50 United States and select international locations. The First Tee’s Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Shell Oil Company is The First Tee’s Founding Corporate Partner and Johnson & Johnson is its Legacy Partner. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.

Media Contact:
Sara Henika
(904) 881-7398