COVID-19 - Status Updates on Local Courses: Tampa Bay Area Sarasota Area SWFL Area

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July 27, 2020

SARASOTA – The pros of the Southwst Chapter of the North Florida PGA evidently have been making plenty of birdies.
First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee (FTSM) — an organization founded in 2000 with the primary goal of impacting the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf – announced a $9,494 gift from North Florida PGA Members of the Southwest Chapter. The announcement was made at the First Tee Chapter’s awards ceremony at Laurel Oak Country Club.

Through the Southwest Chapter’s PGA Golf Day campaign, the charitable total was raised directly by the hands of PGA Professionals in the Sarasota/Manatee community. “PGA Professionals have a particular affinity for helping children,” states Lakewood Ranch Teaching Professional, Jeff Bourdrie, PGA. “All of us had mentors in our lives who not only taught us golf but also taught us valuable life lessons in how to be good human beings.”

FTSM Executive Director, Lexi McKenney said, “We are thrilled to have the support of PGA Members in the Southwest Chapter. This is a great golf community and PGA Members are the backbone. Their generous donation will further advance the First Tee and Greater Sarasota Junior Golf Association mission here, especially during these unprecedented times dealing with COVID-19.”

This year’s proceeds are the result of The Oaks Club’s PGA Golf Day event. The Oaks Club in Osprey, Florida welcomed pledges from over 200 golfers and PGA Professionals alike, pledging $10 each per birdie made by the professional staff. “I am so proud of the club and our staff and I am honored to be able to give back to our community through these fundraising efforts,” states Tim Beckwith, PGA Director of Golf.

The PGA of America is a founding member of First Tee. The Southwest Chapter of the North Florida PGA Section is made up of 214 PGA Professionals and Associates with over 80 facilities. Andy Mears, PGA, is Development Director for First Tee Sarasota/Manatee and states, “Creating Good Golfers is a key component of First Tee but creating Better People is our mission. Teaming with fellow PGA Professionals for such a worthy cause will keep the game of golf growing.”

First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee currently serves area youth at its golf course locations and in-school program, as well as, LPGA/USGA Girls Golf of Sarasota/Manatee, Greater Sarasota Junior Golf Association, and PGA Jr. League. FTSM is supported by generous donations from corporate partners, foundation grants, and individual donors.