3 Generations of Coaches at First Tee — Upstate South Carolina

Written by Zach Pretzer – Tournament Director

The Kinzer family has been around golf their entire lives and this love for the game has translated to our chapter here at First Tee — Upstate South Carolina.

Al Kinzer raised Derek Kinzer our Program Director to have a passion for the game of golf and it led Derek to becoming a PGA Member throughout his early years in the golf business. I can story tell as much as I want, but nothing will top the story Al and Derek are able to tell. On the day before Derek’s wedding, Derek was out at Thrornblade Club and he hit a hole in one on Hole 17. As Derek’s celebration subsided, his Dad stepped onto the tee box, being that he was second to hit, and i’ll let you guess what happened next. Al followed up Dereks shot with a hole in one of his own. This feat is said to be 1 and 159 million probability.

Al and Derek have seen it all when it comes to golf and throughout Dereks career path and he grew a deep connection with the fantastic organization, The First Tee. Derek has been the Program Director here at our chapter for close to 4 years and it was awesome for Derek to see his knowledge of the golf business and family tree come together in Greenville, SC.

Now the newest generation of the Kinzer Family is Coach Star. Star is Derek’s daughter and is a lead coach for our chapter. She has been a huge help when it came to our girls golf program and her classes assisted the chapter in growing the number of girls in our programming. With her girls only classes at the Preserve at Verdae and other LPGA/USGA Girls Golf programs within our chapter, the percentage of girls climbed to just over 40%, in terms of all participants in our chapter! I’ll let you guess who her assistant coach is. Of course, her Grandpa Al Kinzer.

We could not be more thankful for what these three individuals have done for our chapter and for the Upstate as a whole. It is incredible that 3 generations of family members can drive so much success and it is on full display here at First Tee — Upstate South Carolina!

The 3 Generations

Coach Al Kinzer

  •  Age 82, certified First Tee coach since 2020
  • Has been a First Tee Coach and Volunteer for First Tee Programs at The Preserve at Verdae Golf Course for 3 years. 
  •  Coach Al Kinzer is the retired President of BMW Manufacturing. In his role at BMW he has always encouraged associates to give back to the community and that message resonated in and through the Kinzer Family. 

Derek Kinzer, Program Director, PGA

  • Age 56, certified First Tee coach since 2003.
  • Coach Derek is a PGA Member and was a First Tee Coach for First Tee Columbus, and First Tee Central Ohio.
  • Coach Derek Kinzer has been the Program Director for the First Tee Upstate South Carolina for over 3.5 years. 

Coach Star Kinzer

  • Age 23, certified First Tee coach since 2021.
  • Coach Star is the Lead Coach for the Girls Only First Tee Program at The Preserve at Verdae. 
  • Coach Star is an Alumni of the First Tee Central Ohio Program and played high school golf in Dublin, OH. 

Click on the button below to register for classes. Stars Girls Only class is listed and your child could experience the Kinzer Generations as well!