Greenwood County Expansion Keeps on Growing

Written by Zach Pretzer – Tournament Director

As some of you may know, First Tee — Upstate South Carolina recently expanded into two new counties in 2023; Greenwood and Oconee Counties. Now the chapter conducts programming in six of the ten counties that make up the Upstate of South Carolina. First Tee programming began in 2000 in Spartanburg County and now encompasses Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Oconee Counties with plans to expand into Pickens and Union Counties before the end of 2024. In 2023 and now into 2024 Greenwood County experienced some of the most recent success so far with our programming, events, and the start of our school program in District 50!

Our first programming location in Greenwood County is The Fort Club (formally Star Fort) in Ninety Six. In 2022, a new ownership took over the club and welcomed our First Tee with open arms. We are so grateful to have a Program Location that is excited to grow the game of golf and be so welcoming to kids and teens of Greenwood County. In our first year we hosted programming in collaboration with the local Boys & Girls Club and have been able to host with the support of the SCJGA, The Rick Vieth Junior 4-Ball Championship for the past two years. Sponsorships for the event go directly to First Tee and continue to help our chapter grow our programming in Greenwood County. During that event in 2023 we had two of our Ace Level Participants, Julia Conroy and Mercy Santerini complete in the Girls Division! Below are pictures from the winners of both the girls and boys divisions of the event!

Classes at The Fort Club have been fantastic and we love utilizing the club to not only give kids in Greenwood County the opportunity to learn the game golf and build their character within our programming, but also provide opportunities to compete in state-wide tournaments!

We also have reached the community by getting equipment in the hands of kids while they are in school. We love to see kids out at the golf course, but our school program gives kids the opportunity to learn the game of golf and teach our character education during regularly schedule school hours. We are grateful for the support of the community and District 50 investing in their young people by providing the equipment, teacher training and curriculum to all eight elementary schools in District 50. The equipment bag allows PE Teachers to teach up to 48 kids at one time our golf and life skills curriculum in a safe way in the gym or outdoors! Learn more about our school program by clicking here and if you would like to see our First Tee School Program in your school, please reach out to Michael Pius, PGA Executive Director at [email protected].

Our expansion into new counties has been amazing to not only help our chapter grow as a whole, but continue to impact kids and teens and enable them to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges.

Are you interested in programming in Greenwood County? Click on the button below!