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Jan 30, 2024

New scholarship helps First Tee – The Lowcountry help its college-bound students

Barry Kaufman

Photography By

Provided by First Tee - the Lowcountry
“With this scholarship, we really want to help these students become the person they want to become..."

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Ask any student who has gone through a program at First Tee – The Lowcountry, and they’ll tell you that what they learn there goes far beyond the game of golf. Sure, they learn the correct stance and grip to get the most off the tee. They learn the approach shots that create the easiest putt-in. They learn the discipline involved in keeping your swing just where it needs to be for maximum control.

But they also learn what it means to be a good person. They learn to value what matters most – honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and good judgment. It’s a curriculum that doesn’t just pair golf skills with life skills – it shows how one can inform the other. 

For those students, the lessons learned at First Tee are lessons they’ll take with them long after their time at the Gumtree Road facility ends. And now, thanks to the generosity of a community that has embraced First Tee – The Lowcountry as its own, the students will get a chance to take something else with them when they’ve finished their studies. 

Specifically, a $5,000 scholarship for post-secondary education that First Tee – The Lowcountry recently introduced. To be awarded at the organization’s banquet April 16, this scholarship will change one worthy student’s life while adding an exciting new dynamic to First Tee – The Lowcountry’s offerings.

“We’re a maturing chapter, and we have a great deal of kids who are getting ready to graduate from high school,” said Pat Zuk, executive director of First Tee – The Lowcountry. “Our board and our staff felt that with so many of these kids having been in the program for several years, we wanted to be able to help them out beyond the program.”

That idea came to the surface just a little over a year ago, a shockingly quick turnaround for such an ambitious offering. Fortunately, First Tee – The Lowcountry has found a wealth of support throughout the Lowcountry: donors who generously give to allow the mission to expand.

“We had one local donor who has become a trustee of First Tee nationally, and he stipulated that a portion of his donation be given to our chapter. They were instrumental in allowing this scholarship to happen, along with Ken and Joan Campbell and The Tiscornia Foundation,” Zuk said. “They really made this happen.”

And they made it happen quickly. Zuk notes that when a chapter he was involved with elsewhere had a similar plan to create a scholarship, the process took several years from concept to execution. “All the cogs seemed to mesh to make this happen,” he said. “They made all of this possible so much quicker than it would have otherwise… This whole area has been great to us.”

Students who are interested in applying for the scholarship should be current or former students of First Tee – The Lowcountry programs, with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Applications will be available at firstteelowcountry.org beginning February 15, and the deadline to apply is March 15. 

“With this scholarship, we really want to help these students become the person they want to become,” said Zuk. “And we want them to become the kind of person we envision when they first show up at First Tee as a child. Great citizens, members of their community and always aware that there is more to the world than themselves.” 

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