While golf is an integral part of The First Tee of East Lake, program graduate Darius Davis can assure it’s much more than that.
“The coaches at The First Tee mentored me in ways unimaginable,” said Davis.
Originally from the Kirkwood area, Davis got involved in The First Tee program at age 12. He regularly acknowledges what a blessing the program was in his life.
“The First Tee is known for their golf skills and life skills. Through the golf skills I was able to get my full ride scholarship to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. And life skills wise, of course they have the nine core values: courtesy, respect, judgement, responsibility, sportsmanship, confidence, honesty, integrity and perseverance. And those I’ve taken with me throughout my whole life.”
While The First Tee teaches many skills, one of the most useful Davis found – especially when going off to college – was the meet and greet skillset. It allowed him to meet new people and make connections that ultimately have led to more opportunities for his college and future professional career.
Davis notes his college scholarship as one of the best things that came out of his involvement with The First Tee, but he also had the chance to experience leadership and life skills academies across the country in places like Tennessee and Oregon.
His favorite memory, though, was hitting the ceremonial tee shot at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola two years ago.
“I can just recall the nerves I had standing up and about to hit a golf shot in front of all these people,” he said. “And I was absolutely nervous. I know I didn’t show it, but I was.”
Now he is studying at one of only 19 schools with the PGA Professional Golf Management Program and working toward his goal of becoming a head pro or teaching professional. In his spare time, he likes to give back to the The First Tee since it provided him with so much.
“I’ve mentored kids in my off days over at Charlie Yates Golf Course so they can see me and that will build momentum for them to try to strive and do the best they can for the future.”