First Tee of Great Knoxville making a difference for young golfers

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Golf is terrific whether you're older or younger like the kids out at Williams Creek.

These youngsters are taking center stage in the First Tee program. It's a program that teaches the kids not just about the game of golf, but the game of life as well.

"I came all the way through this program, so I know all the nine core values, all about the program," said Robert Higgins, who is a First Tee coach. "It is about golf, but it's mostly about the betterment of the person. I was just always in trouble — always doing this, always doing that — I came into the First Tee and now I'm a leader. It changed my life for the better."

The First TEE Nine Core Values Robert was talking about are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgement.

The Par-3 course at Williams Creek in East Knoxville has been and continues to thrive with a program that gives youngsters a chance to get out and meet other kids. Many of these kids say they may not have the courage to do something like play golf.

"Yeah, that's definitely a big aspect of it. It's not just about golf," golfer Gabriel New said. "So to see kids succeed out side of golf and then they can bring it back into the game."

"Kids who believe they can't do it, if they can build up their courage — especially from playing golf — their attitude will change, the way they hit their shots will change," golfer Tylan Baker added.

These young golfers are taught about the sport, which is an honor system, and the skills to be productive off the course as well.

"That's very true, there's a whole bunch of life skills that comes to play in golf; good sportsmanship, courtesy," Tylan said.

"It's also really important for us that our kids have those skills at school, at church or wherever they go, First Tee coach Mika Douglas added. "You know, you can always tell a First Tee kid apart from a different kid. We like to say we make good golfers, but we make better people around here."

Parents who want to get the kids involved can contact Williams Creek or visit