February 13th will be a hole-in-one for kids and golfers at the First Tee-Naples/Collier gala, “Swing Fore the Future.” The event will take place at Arthrex, Inc. in Naples, Florida. Arthrex is also the presenting sponsor. Golf Channel Host Rich Lerner will moderate a fireside chat with PGA Tour and Champions Tour Legends Peter Jacobsen, Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington, and Jeff Maggert. Proceeds will fund First Tee’s new Learning Center.
“Having a Learning Center will give kids a much-needed head start on understanding the fundamentals and disciplines of the swing but, more importantly, the opportunity to build life skills and leadership skills along the way,” says Jacobsen, a Bonita Springs resident.
The Learning Center, designed pro bono by MHK Architecture and Planning as well as Freestyle Interiors, will be part of a larger public golf venue which will include a BigShots Golf Driving Range facility and a 12-hole Nicklaus Designs golf course.
“Working with First Tee-Naples/Collier has opened my eyes to the powerful role we can play in mentoring the next generation of leaders. Each year, 1,000 students are actively engaged in our after-school golf and character education programs, but limited access to driving ranges and golf courses has inhibited our growth. Fortunately, Collier County has offered us the opportunity to create our own home base – a Learning Center on the site of the old Golden Gate Country Club – and now it’s up to us with the help of our community to raise the funds to build it. We hope The Swing Fore the Future Gala will help us to reach our goal,” Ann Bain, Gala Chair and Board Member.
This new facility will allow First Tee Naples/Collier to reach many more children from Golden Gate, East Naples, Immokalee, and other communities throughout Collier County. Executive Director Cindy Darland is confident they will be able to double the children served to 2000 within the first three years of the center’s operation. With the Learning Center, children will have a safe place where they can grow, learn, and have fun after school and on weekends. The program teaches children nine core values, valuable life skills and helps them build confidence and develop a positive character that will be beneficial as they step into adulthood.
In addition to the Presenting Sponsor Arthrex, Platinum Sponsors include Benson Blackburn, LLC, DeVoe Automotive Group, First Foundation Bank, MHK, Freestyle Interiors, Barton & Gray Mariners Club, and Flexjet LLC. Golf Digest has come in as a Silver Sponsor.
The live auction will be a golf lover’s dream with items such as a “2023 Double Eagle Club/Masters Experience for 4” including transportation on a private jet, and priceless art by Pop Golf Artist Christopher “CR” Obetz, a week’s stay in the Hamptons with golf, and a Sonoma/Napa and Golf experience.
About First Tee Naples/Collier:
The First Tee – Naples/Collier is a chapter of an international positive youth development organization introducing character development to young people via the game of golf. The First Tee has helped shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by teaching values like integrity, honesty, respect and perseverance. Through its programs, young people discover how skills essential to success on a golf course can also help them flourish in life. To learn more, visit www.firstteenaplescollier.org.