Editor's note: Seventy participants representing 47 chapters of The First Tee have been selected to play in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an official Champions Tour event held July 8-10 and televised nationally on Golf Channel. Some of them will be blogging about their experience.
|Sunday's blog entries|
The best day of my life Trevor Bernier, participant, the First Tee of Massachusetts
Today was the second round of The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. It was an amazing experience and one of the best days of my life. I started the day off by waking up at 8:30 a.m. because of my late tee time at 12:33 p.m. When I woke up I got ready for the day and walked out of the hotel and ate breakfast by the beach. Next I went to the driving range to warm up and try to fix my troubles from yesterday. I was hitting the ball great and was very excited to start the round. My caddy, Carlos, who is a local volunteer, met me at the range and I practiced my pitch and chip shots. After this we went to the practice green at Pebble Beach, where I worked on my stroke next to some of the greatest players in golf.
I went to the hospitality room to get some lunch where I met some amateurs and talked to them about the amazing views of Pebble Beach. I practiced putting for a few more minutes then headed off to the 10th tee. When I watched the groups in front of me go out I began to realize how amazing this experience was. Standing at the tee looking out at the beach and the ocean is a sight I will remember for the rest of my life. My round started off well and my pro and I shared stories and talked about our favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. I am so lucky to have been paired with Mike Reid, who is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He taught me so much in the past couple days such as how to conduct myself in a tournament round of golf and how to read these Pebble Beach greens. Finishing my round with a few great holes and watching Mr. Reid make an eagle on No. 6 was something I will never forget.
The past two days have been unbelievable and I am so grateful that I got a chance to play in this extraordinary tournament. I want to thank Nature Valley for being the title sponsor of this event and making it possible for the juniors to play. I am also thankful for the amateurs who played and Pebble Beach for allowing us to play the course. Without their support I could have never had this life changing opportunity. This trip has been a dream come true and I am so grateful that I got to play.
Playing with my professional idols Felicia Sauceda, participant, The First Tee of Golden Triangle
This tournament has been awesome! I cannot even explain this tournament in words. It is a very unique tournament, which is the reason it has to be my favorite. Playing at Pebble Beach does not hurt the cause though. It is so breath taking to be able to play this nice of a course.
My professional that I was paired up with was Ronnie Black. He was a very nice man who took the time to make me feel like I belonged. I really am glad I got paired up with him, even though we might not have made the cut.
Playing these two courses was amazing. I could have never dreamed of being able to play on courses this nice and being able to play with some of my professional idols. This experience was unbelievable. I want to thank everyone who helped put this tournament on.
|Saturday's blog entries|
The best day California Dreamin' by Megan Conder, participant, The First Tee of Contra Costa
Wow! I just experienced a real "California Beach Party" provided for all of us juniors by Nature Valley! It was a night to remember!
When I walked into the California Dreamin' party at the Boathouse on the beach I immediately could feel the energy! There were games of pool, skeeball and ping-pong to play while everyone arrived.
After everyone arrived, all the juniors were taken out to gather around firepits on the beautiful Monterey Beach. It was so great to see everyone excited and smiling! We soon were lined up for a fun waterballoon tossing contest along the beach. After we watched the winning team finish the contest, we took a wonderful group shot of all of us together on the beach, that will be a very cool photo! As soon as the picture was taken, we lined up to enjoy the BBQ chicken dinner that was great!
After dinner, some of us joined in for a Hula Hoop contest along with a great Limbo dance contest. But the Beach party would not be complete without us making 'smores. We were treated with marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers...the perfect beach party treat. It was great to just sit back and relax around the fire pits with so many of my friends.
Looking around, I felt so lucky to be there and knew that I had friends and memories that I would have forever.
I really appreciate Nature Valley and The First Tee for making such a special night for all of us.
A night of memories and friends that I will have for a lifetime. Thank you to The First Tee and thank you Nature Valley.
First Round at the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open by Abraham Bell, participant, The First Tee of St. Johns County
Today I participated in the first round of The Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. My tee time wasn't until 12:33 pm so we had some waiting to do. At about 8:00 am this morning, my chaperone/caddy and I went to the tournament Hospitality Center, where I had a great omelet. Following my excellent breakfast, we went out to the driving range and I had a great warm up session with a bucket of BRAND NEW Pro V 1s, followed by some practice around the short game area where I chipped and hit some bunker shots. I'm going to be honest after my great warm up, I was pretty pumped. After my warm up, we took about a twenty minute drive down to Del Monte Golf Club, where I spent the last twenty minutes before my tee time getting used to the greens.
For today's round, I was paired with Champions Tour Pro Bill Glasson (who I will play with tomorrow as well), former CEO of Outback Steakhouse, Chris Sullivan, and the CEO of Florida National Bank, Jack Uible. At 12:33, the starter announced our names and Mr. Glasson striped one down the fairway and we were off. On the fourth hole, a 165-yard par 3 into the wind, Mr. Uible hit a 3 hybrid, right at the pin, after a second we heard a roar from the crowd, the ball fell into the cup for a HOLE-IN-ONE! This was the first hole-in-one I ever witnessed and it was in a tournament round!
Abraham Bell from The First Tee of St. Johns County played his first round with Bill Glasson at Del Monte. My pro partner played pinpoint golf the whole front nine hitting nothing but fairways and greens; meanwhile, I saw the WHOLE front nine including five trees. We were 3 under heading into the par-5 17th and Mr. Glasson hit the green in 2 and left the eagle putt just short and made birdie. We ended up shooting 68 at Del Monte Golf Course and I was very happy with my pro partner's play. Tomorrow, we tee off on the 10th hole at Pebble Beach at 8:03 am and although I didn't play great today, I'm determined to put at least a couple of birdies on my scorecard to help my team make the cut.
The Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach has given me the chance to fulfill one of my dreams to play the one of the greatest golf courses in the world, the scenic Pebble Beach Golf Links. It has been the trip of a lifetime and i am very grateful for getting the opportunity to be here. I want to thank Nature Valley for being such gracious hosts and for sponsoring this great event. I also would like to thank the amateurs such as Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Uigle for supporting this great event as well.
|Friday's blog entries|
As for tonight, I will be dreaming about nothing but birdies tomorrow!
Enjoying the Social Media Cafe By Drew Board, participant, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley
I wasn't sure what to expect at tonight's ice cream social, but I didn't leave disappointed. As I left the eighteenth green from my practice round at Pebble, I couldn't wait to have a cold ice cream to finish off a great day and talk to all of my friends that I have met through The First Tee. As I stepped in and started to see some familiar faces, I couldn't help but notice the pictures and brief bios of every junior participant that were lined along the wall. The opportunity to learn more about each of the juniors that would be playing in this year's tournament was unexpected but very interesting and I enjoyed learning more about each of the juniors attending this event.
There was also a Playstation featuring Tiger Woods PGA TOUR golf and many computer and iPad stations that were available for everyone to use to connect with friends and family about their experiences at this year's tournament. But one of the most exciting parts of the evening was learning that we would be able to use the social media center and its many computers throughout the rest of the week so that everyone will have a relaxing place to socialize after each of their tournament rounds.
The social media center is an excellent facility. I would really like to thank Nature Valley and The First Tee for setting up and providing us access to this area which allows us to socialize and connect with friends and family. Even though there are only three days left, I have had an unforgettable time and cannot wait for the rest of the events this week. It is clear that both Nature Valley and The First Tee have put in a tremendous amount of effort into making sure that everyone has the experience of a lifetime at the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open.
How I Beat Fred Funk in Golf By Kelly Allen, participant, The First Tee of Jacksonville
|Thursday's blog entries|
OMG I just played Tiger Woods 2011 on ps3 with Fred Funk! It was so much fun teaming up with Kuriko from The First Tee of Metropolitan New York and beating Fred Funk on the very first hole we played. Fred is so funny throwing every shot we hit with his jokes. I really enjoyed it. Kuriko and I will be looking forward to a rematch in case he wants to redeem himself, and of course...VICTORY.
Legends & Leaders Pro-Junior Mixer Highlights The First Tee's Nine Core Values By Sara Scarlett, participant, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
The First Tee Life Skill of meeting and greeting has been valuable over the past few days especially last night at the Legends & Leaders Event. This event took place at the Beach Club which has a gorgeous view of the sailboats and sea lions in Carmel Bay.
Around 6:15 all of the pros and guest speakers started funneling into the room. I watched in astonishment as Hale Irwin stood behind me in line to get food, and when Chip Beck complemented my firm handshake. I even met my pro, Jerry Pate. He was really nice and wanted to know the little details about me that most people wouldn't care about.
When he said "Do you like to have fun on the golf course?" I automatically knew that this weekend was going to be a blast. I glanced around at all of the tables and noticed the juniors with giant smiles. I think I could pretty much speak for everyone saying that we were in heaven. Talking with professionals who have won the US Open and absolutely love the game of golf inspires all of us. I didn't think the night could get much better. When the first guest speaker took the stage, I knew I was wrong. Successful business people, honored military leaders, athletic professionals, and fellow juniors spoke to us about the importance of all the core values. Having Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic skier, say "you can do anything you want to do if you have confidence", and Champions Tour professional John Cook say "honesty is key in golf because it's one of the only sports where you call penalties on yourself", is truly inspirational.
The lessons I learned tonight will not only make me a better golfer, but a better person. I know exactly how to use Confidence, Responsibility, Judgment, Respect, Sportsmanship, Courtesy, Honesty, Integrity, and Perseverance on and off the golf course. As I step up to the first hole at Pebble on Friday and the announcer says "Now to the first tee, from Woodland, CA, Sara Scarlett" I know I will have the confidence to hit my drive straight down the fairway.
As I continue to meet other juniors I will be respectful and courteous because I know they will be the same to me. Throughout the course of this week I will use all of these core values, and use them properly.
On an endnote, I am quite excited because I play my practice round at Pebble Beach today! I wish all of the participants, amateurs, and professionals lots of birdies, eagles, and albatrosses on this lovely day.
Golf Should Be Played with the Intent of Having Fun By Aaron Burnett, participant, The First Tee of Nashville
Today, I played Del Monte Golf Course for my practice round. The weather and condition of the golf course were both equally beautiful which made my round very enjoyable.
I played with Ben David from The First Tee of Lexington who I had met previously at the Ace and Eagle Academy at The Golf House of Tennessee. It was nice to play with someone that I had already met because it made the round feel laid back and fun. This helped me learn something I will take to mind in the future. I need to remember that golf is just a game and should ultimately be played with the intent to have fun.
Sometimes we get caught up in the competition and forget about having fun. Tomorrow's practice round will be at Pebble Beach, therefore I don't know if I will be able to fall asleep due to the excitement. So far this week has been remarkable and it will only get better and better!
|Wednesday's blog entries|
The Excitement of the Pairings Party...And Being Paired with Tom Kite! By Allie Agrella, participant, The First Tee of Austin
I really couldn't have picked a more perfect way to jump start this amazing week than with the Pairing Party tonight. The mood was so lively; I could feel everyone's energy and excitement towards what the next few days will bring!
With the beautiful Inn at Spanish Bay as the backdrop, I knew from the beginning that the night was going to be a success! After having some great food, we all sat down and got comfortable with our delicious deserts in hand (my favorite... mini cheesecake and cupcakes!)
While we continued our feast, The First Tee previewed two promotional videos. It's hard to describe, but when the video was being played I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. First, in myself and more importantly, in the amazing organization which I'm so thankful to be a part of.
Suddenly, the time for pairings had come. At that moment, you could almost feel the anticipation buzzing all around the room as every junior participant prepared to have their pairing revealed. Providing both first class comedy and commentary during the entire pairing process was Peter Jacobsen. I, and from what I could see, everyone else, was amazed with both his charisma and charm! He made the whole night so enjoyable and kept everyone fully engaged. As I am writing this, my cheeks are still sore from laughing so hard!
My anticipation grew waiting for my name to be announced. Finally, my time came as I watched the spinning wheel on the screen reveal that my Pro was Tom Kite! After hearing about a previous member from The First Tee of Greater Austin being paired with him in a prior year and having an awesome experience, I was thrilled! I am honored to have this opportunity and I would like to thank The First Tee and Nature Valley for making this dream a reality! What an incredible night with the promise of more to come!
They Call This Mecca Haley Chinn, participant, The First Tee of Seattle
My alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. Normally, I would be in full REM at this un-teenage hour but today I was leaving for Mecca...Pebble Beach. The flight from Seattle to San Francisco was only 2 ½ hours long yet it felt like an eternity because I have been ready to play since the day I received my acceptance email to the Open.
As we approached the entrance to the world famous "Seventeen Mile Drive," my heart skipped a beat as a prominent sign welcomed First Tee Open contestants. This only solidified the beginning of this amazing opportunity. As I winded along Seventeen Mile Drive, I caught glimpses of the course and the beaches beyond. It looked more breath taking than I remembered 2 years ago when I caddied for my sister Lindsay at these very shores in the 2009 First Tee Open.
As I walked towards the Hospitality room to register, Mr. Tom Kite walked along with me, also heading to register. I would've introduced myself but that's when it hit me, I was going to play on the same course as the Legends of golf played -- Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones. After receiving my contestant ID badge and collecting my tournament ensemble, my excitement didn't have a chance to subside as PGA pro, after pro entered the room to register. Even while making my practice round appointment there were pros abound. No wonder they call this Mecca.
My sister Lindsay is on my bag just like I caddied for her in 2009. I appreciate her words of wisdom on how to overcome the pressures of playing with a pro and representing my First Tee Chapter. Her mantra comes from Francis Ouimet: "You're playing against Old Man Par, not the other players." Her most telling advice was, "Enjoy this time and take advantage of every experience." Thanks to the First Tee and Nature Valley for making all of this possible.