Mayor Greg Fischer joined youth golfers, public and corporate officials in teeing off at the new UPS/First Tee youth golf course at Seneca Park, officially dedicating the recently completed 9-hole course.
Located within the Seneca Golf Course, it will serve youngsters and teens participating in The First Tee of Louisville, the local chapter of an international youth development organization. The First Tee also operates programs at Metro Parks’ Shawnee, Bobby Nichols and Long Run golf courses, each of which have a 3-hole youth course, but Seneca is the first 9-hole course in the program.
“It’s important to give young people real-life experiences, whether it’s a first job or exposure to a sport or recreation that gives them confidence and a new perspective on life and First Tee has provided that opportunity for hundreds of our community’s youth,” said Fisher.
Initially planned as a 3-hole course, a $50,000 grant from UPS, along with $16,000 in funds from Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson, District 26, as well as nearly $30,000 in donations and in-kind contributions from other partners provided for the expansion to nine holes.
The Wolf Creek Company, a wholesale distributor of landscape, golf course and irrigation supplies, and its dealers Jacobsen and Rain Bird, provided at-cost, below-cost, and donated, materials and equipment. Superintendent’s Choice Sod provided labor, donated, and at-cost sod. Support also came from Syngenta, a biotech company, and Advanced Turf Solutions.
The First Tee program introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. Designed for ages 5 to 18, and all golf skill levels, the program uses golf as the platform for cultivating life skills and ingraining core values that apply to all facets of life, such as respect, confidence, honesty, and responsibility.
“UPS is honored to be a part of this course’s opening,” said Tom Volta, vice president of UPS Air Group Human Resources. “Our hope is that the same young people who benefit from this latest project will use the skills they learn from The First Tee program to become contributors and leaders in the Louisville community.”
“These extraordinary gifts are exactly what was needed to start and complete the construction of the Par-3 course at Seneca Golf Course,” said Ed Perry, president of The First Tee of Louisville. “UPS and Councilman Brent Ackerson made contributions which got this project kick-started, more partners came on board with generous assistance, and Metro Parks made it happen. This extraordinary nine-hole course will be enjoyed by our community for many years, and is one of which we are justly proud.”
Youth courses are typically designed with shorter holes and smaller greens than traditional courses to accommodate beginning golfers, but with enough variety of design to offer challenging play as skills develop.
The UPS/First Tee course will also serve as a testing ground for different turf varieties, which could lead to greater efficiencies and cost-savings in maintenance, and less reliance on chemicals. Course superintendents will be able to observe how different species react to real play conditions–a rare opportunity for most golf courses–and young golfers will be able to sharpen their skills by experiencing a variety of playing surfaces.
“Generous gifts from corporate citizens and partners make a huge difference in our community,” said Marty Storch, assistant director of Metro Parks. “We’ve had a great partnership with The First Tee for several years now as part of our Growth of the Game initiatives, offering an affordable way for young people to be introduced to the game of golf and the life lessons it teaches.”