High School Golf

A first for The First Tee

First Tee Trustee Fred Tattersall talks about the first First Tee National Championship (GolfClub video)
Ashton Harper won the first First Tee National Championship Boys title in a playoff at Clemson’s Walker Course. (GolfClub Photo)

The First Tee is best known for developing young golfers character through the game.

The emphasis on the nine core values helps make The First Tee different from most other junior golf programs.

But that does not mean the kids are only developing skills for life away from the game, they also are developing the skills to play the game.

Long time First Tee Trustee Fred Tattersall advocated for the development of a National Championship for the organization.

The 36 hole tournament brought together golfers from First Tee chapters all over the country.

The tournament had originally been scheduled to be played over a year ago, but the pandemic forced the event to be postponed before finally being played this year.

While the championship could have been played almost anywhere, one of the ideas behind the tournament was to play on college campus’.

“Our goal is to provide each participant with a college level experience both on and off the golf course,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee president. 

While at Clemson the young golfers stayed on campus and in their free time enjoyed the hospitality of the University. 

“We are thankful to longtime First Tee supporter Fred Tattersall for creating this opportunity for the young people in our chapter network,” added McLaughlin.

Clemson’s Walker Course was chosen to host the first event in part because of a long standing friendship between Tattersall and Clemson University president Jim Clements.

The event sponsor was at the Walker Course and was pleased with everything about the event.

“I expected Clemson would run it well and they exceeded my expectations,” said Tattersall. “I’m very pleased with the inaugural event,” he said.

A player selection committee reviewed each golfers application with an emphasis on their playing record.

The committee used Rolex AJGA Ranking, Junior Golf Scoreboard Ranking and Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Golf Ranking to select the field.

“The kids are good players. They shot under par, the winners, which was amazing. The golf course was magnificent. It was a good test of golf,” said Tattersall.

First Tee Trustee Fred Tattersall congratulates the girls winner, Symran Shah at The First Tee National Championship played at Clemson’s Walker Course. (GolfClub Photo)

Adding a national championship builds on the success The First Tee has had helping young golfers grow into the sport.

“It’s good for our kids who are in high school that are good golfers to have something like this to participate in,” added Tattersall.

The girls championship was won by Symran Shah from Carrolton, TX.

Shah finished at 2-under par for the 54 hole tournament to win by three-shots.

The boys championship needed a playoff between Ashton Harper from Roanoke, VA and Hunter Swanson from Denver, CO.

A decision on the site for the 2022 First Tee National Championship has not yet been selected.

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