1997: The First Tee National Organization is formed.

Founding Partners

1999: First Tee — Greater Austin (FTGA) was founded by John Ellett, Tom Martin and Jay Watson. The chapter began programming in fall 1999 with 13 boys whose after-school football coach had deserted them.

2000: First Tee — Greater Austin played a significant role in the development and adoption of The First Tee Life Skills Experience curriculum – the basis of our character education program. The Austin founders persuaded the organization that its unique program would have greater impact on the lives of young people by coupling it with a research-based curriculum and trained mentors. The Austin founders invested in the writing and editing of The First Tee Life Skills Experience™ curriculum that is taught today at 256 facilities, including 200+ Chapters nationwide and overseas.

Core Values

2001: FTGA starts satellite programs at local public golf courses.

Pecan Springs

FTGA hosts its first “More Than A Game” Fundraising Event. Executive Director – Jennifer MacCurrach – pictured below during the auction portion of the event alongside longtime Texas Football Coach – Darrell Royal, 2-time Masters Champion – Ben Crenshaw and former PGA of America President – Joe Black.


2003: First Tee — Greater Austin is named one of two main beneficiaries for the Champions Tour event to be held at The Hills C.C., this marks a return for the Champions Tour predecessor the SENIOR PGA TOUR which originated in Austin in 1978.


2004: Construction on Harvey Penick Golf Campus begins.

2005: First Tee — Greater Austin opened its classroom the Harvey Penick Golf Campus. Prior to that, First Tee — Greater Austin had delivered after-school programming on school playgrounds and at municipal courses where it rented space. The Harvey Penick Golf Campus is a professionally designed nine-hole course with a three-hole short course, driving range, practice greens and a pavilion available for community use. First Tee — Greater Austin also built six ball fields – three baseball/softball fields and three soccer/football fields – for use by its partner, the East Communities YMCA.

2007: Chairman’s Council raises $1.5 million toward a $3 million capital campaign to retire golf course debt and eliminate $200,000 in annual interest, which otherwise could be used to fund 100% of the after-school program.

2008: FTGA launches the Carino’s Clay’s for Kids skeet shoot as a means to raise money outside the golf industry. The chapter reaches a new milestone: serving more than 1,000 area youth in a single year!

2009: FTGA business office moves to Harvey Penick Golf Campus.

2010: FTGA partners with The First Tee’s National School Program and with the help of Samsung trains 14 elementary school physical education teachers.

2011: The National School Program started in January 2011 with over 3,900 kids enrolled in the program at all 7 Manor ISD elementary schools from kindergarten to grade 5.

2012: FTGA writes a five-year strategic plan, in alignment with TFT’s National five-year plan.

2013: FTGA programming exceeds goals in enrollment for camps (winter, spring, and summer) along with core after-school programs and affiliate classes.

2014: FTGA celebrates its 15th Anniversary! TFTGA adds UT Elementary School to its list of NSP’s. TFTGA adds Topgolf as an after-school programming site. FTGA partners with Ryan Sheckler and starts the ATX Shootout at Topgolf in conjunction with the X-Games. The one-day fundraising event raises money for both FTGA and the Sheckler Foundation.

2015: Harvey Penick Golf Campus celebrates its 10th Anniversary! FTGA also adds Colt Elementary (Marble Falls ISD) to its list of NSP programs. FTGA also adds Golfsmith and Balcones C.C. as after-school programming sites.

2016: WGC Dell Match Play signs a 4-year deal to play in Austin and FTGA is named one of the benefiting charities.

2017: FTGA adds Blackhawk and Jimmy Clay G.C. to its list of satellite locations.

2019: FTGA Celebrates 20 Years of Keeping Austin Kids on Course and begins conversations on a major expansion project, that will include the addition of a learning center at the Harvey Penick Golf Campus.