First Tee certification levels introduce young people to different aspects of golf and life skills. The lessons learned through the Life Skills Experience are lessons that will remain with young people well into their future, regardless of how long they play golf as a recreation.
First Tee wants everyone who completes the First Tee program to have acquired basic golf skills and to be able to demonstrate certain fundamental life skill concepts – such as interpersonal communication and the importance of rules and etiquette. At each level of the program – PLAYer, Par, Birdie and Eagle – participants will go through a Certification Process testing and evaluating participants’ understanding of and ability to apply what was taught.
The primary objective of the Certification Process is to ensure participants have been exposed to core lesson material and have a basic grasp of the concepts and skills. Certification testing is an opportunity to reinforce those concepts. The process is designed to provide additional assistance to those who need help in certain areas while advancing other students to the next level to acquire more life skills. Participants will complete a given number of golf and life skills lessons, and play a certain number of rounds on a Chapter course. They also will demonstrate and/or discuss core life skills and basic golf skills for instructors, who evaluate their performance.
If someone is having difficulty with an aspect of the testing process, instructors will help review the material and let him or her try again. Each of the testing and evaluation forms state the specific score required to pass the golf and life skills sections at the PLAYer, Par and Birdie and Eagle levels. The testing and evaluation for life and golf skills is done at the same time so participants understand the life skills are as important, if not more so, than their golf skills.
Little General Juniors:
The Little General Juniors level is broken down into six components which are used to spark curiosity in the game of golf, meet new people, and have fun. In the Little General Juniors level, First Tee concepts of interpersonal skills and self-management are the focus of each lesson. The Little General Juniors level is for 5 & 6 year old participants. Sessions are 45 minutes in length.
The PLAYer level helps to establish the foundation for young people to become lifelong PLAYers of the game of golf. The PLAYer level starts at 7-years old and is the introductory level for all PLAYers new to First Tee. The PLAYer level introduces the Nine Core Values and incorporates them into each lesson. The PLAYer level is for all new participants of First Tee who are a minimum of 7 years old. Previous enrollment in the Little General Juniors program is not a requirement to participate in the PLAYer level. Sessions are 90 minutes in length.
The PAR level participants are introduced to the intellectual side of playing golf while learning skills that will help them on and off the golf course. The main focus of the PAR level is to assist participants in acquiring several self-management techniques that will help them in managing their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to perform at their best on and off the golf course. The focus of the PAR core lessons is on self-management which helps to provide the underpinnings for the external self-management and goal setting skills PLAYers will acquire at the Birdie and Eagle levels. The ideal age for cognitive, emotional, and physical readiness for the PAR level is 9 years old. Sessions are 90 minutes in length.
In the Birdie level, the life skill focus is on goal setting. Participants with the ability to set and pursue their own goals will have a greater sense of purpose, direction, and motivation in their lives. The purpose of the Birdie level is to help participants learn how to identify personal goals and to develop strategy for reaching their goals. The ideal age of cognitive, emotional, and physical readiness for the Birdie level is 11 years old. Sessions are 120 minutes in length.
During the Eagle level, the focus is on developing the participant in all aspects of golf and life. Participants build on the self-management, interpersonal skills, and goal setting techniques of the PLAYer, Par, and Birdie levels with a specific emphasis on resilience skills, conflict resolution, and planning for the future. The Eagle level has a minimum mandatory starting age of 13 years old.