The First Tee of the Coachella Valley is a youth development organization dedicated to impacting the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. The core values of The First Tee are: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, and Judgment.
Although there are Chapters in cities and communities across the country and in most major golf communities, the Coachella Valley Chapter of The First Tee was born through the work of the Desert Recreation District to bring The First Tee chapter to the valley. Beginning with an introduction and impetus to explore the national program from Bob Spiegel, Palm Desert city councilman, the Desert Recreation District began the application process in 2007. Notification came from The First Tee home office in the spring of 2007 that a The First Tee Chapter had been awarded to The District with an opening set for the beginning of 2008.
Plans for The First Tee of the Coachella Valley included a program open to children from all backgrounds and communities within the valley to participate in the program after school and on weekends at The First Tee of the Coachella Valley, known as The Golf Center of Palm Desert. The golf course and clubhouse facility was recently renovated and upgraded to include multiple classroom spaces and on-course teaching areas where chipping, putting and driving will be taught as part of the life skills curriculum taught to participants. “It is not only an honor, but a responsibility to extend The First Tee experience as a potential life changing opportunity to every young person in our community.” stated Dustin Smith, Program Director of The First Tee of the Coachella Valley. Kevin Kalman, General Manager of The Desert Recreation District, the driving force behind The First Tee experience to the Coachella Valley children states, “We are honored to be chosen by The First Tee to be part of the best youth program available. The First Tee is about making better people – not just better golfers. When you consider the importance of golf to the Valley, the DRD is in a position to have an incredible impact not only to our youth but our future.”