The First Tee of West Michigan

Which of The First Tee Nine Core Values has helped you the most on your personal journey to become a better student, citizen, golfer or better prepared for life?

The First Tee Core Value I have used in school and throughout life is perseverance. Whether it’s a lesson in math I didn’t understand, a teacher that I didn’t see eye to eye with, or a class that I found challenging, I have had to persevere throughout each of these situations.

This year I have a teacher that is difficult to learn from. Her teaching style is not what I am used to and I find it challenging to understand some of the topics we are covering in the class. I have had to persevere throughout the entire year in the class by putting in extra time, going in early for help, and meeting with friends at study sessions. I have learned a lot about working with different styles and as a result my grade has even improved from a B to an A.

I have also used perseverance in golf. Last year in one of my tournaments I could not hit my driver straight off the tee and my irons were spraying all over the place. I had to make the decision mid-round to change up my plan of action in order to persevere through the round and not give up. After a few holes I decided to tee off with a long iron and lay up in order to minimize my sporadic shots. Staying the course and relying on my First Tee Core Value of perseverance worked very well for me and I’m grateful to have learned this for school, golf and life.

Which core value have you employed to help someone else achieve their goals?

I have employed my core values of confidence and positivity to help someone else achieve their goals many times.

Specifically last year one of my friends had a goal to shoot par or better before the end of summer. We played together all last summer and he would get close but he just couldn’t break par. He was so hard on himself and would get very frustrated. The core values I live by would allow me to help him focus on the positives instead of the negatives which really allowed him get closer and closer to his goal.

By helping him focus on something positive from each round or a hole he just played really well, I was able to help him raise his confidence and play better as the summer went on. Finally, in the last week of summer we played and he shot even par. Because I had stuck to my core values of confidence and positivity I was able to help him throughout the summer. This really helped my friend and finally led him to achieve his goal. If he continued to get down on himself or stay mad while playing he would have never improved. Encouraging him to stay more positive not only allowed him to achieve his goal, but it also made him a better golfer in the long run and got him more confidence in his game.

Identify a lesson that you have learned from a mentor, peer or role model that you have translated into your daily life.

One of the most important lessons I have ever learned is to practice, practice, practice.

Whether it’s practicing my golf swing after a lesson or doing extra math problems before a test I have always been encouraged to practice. The first time I was encouraged to do this was by my math teacher before one of our unit tests. Everyday in school the week before the test he would tell me to do practice problems to be better prepared. Unfortunately I didn’t take it seriously and learned the hard way. From that day on I have done practice problems daily before every weekly test.

Another time practicing was drilled into my head was by my swing coach. After each lesson we would work on something new and he would always tell me to practice it multiple times before my next lesson. I did not practiced enough and my swing did not change so I would have to work on the same thing every lesson. I began to realize on my own that my swing coach was modeling a life lesson and I needed to use it daily. By identifying the importance of practicing daily I was able to see first hand the benefits and improve greatly. My scores have dramatically dropped and I am motivated to continue practicing as much as I can.