World Golf Foundation: Building the Future of Golf

In this newsletter, we often explore ways to deliver the best course conditions for players. Now it’s time to put the spotlight on what’s being done to deliver future players to the course! That’s the primary focus of the World Golf Foundation, the organization behind initiatives like The First Tee that are making a real difference — not only in the game of golf, but in the lives of youth and adults across the U.S. and around the world.

The World Golf Foundation’s mission is to “unite the golf industry in support of initiatives that enhance the growth of and provide access to the game of golf worldwide, while preserving golf’s traditional values and passing them on to others.” To achieve that mission, the Foundation focuses on a variety of initiatives, with support from industry partners like The Toro Company. Read on for a quick look at three of these key efforts.

The First Tee
Founded in 1997, The First Tee was initially designed to introduce young people to golf who would not otherwise have an opportunity to become involved in the sport. The program has since evolved into a youth development organization that not only educates youth about the game, but also uses golf as a platform to teach life skills.

Although The First Tee originally started in urban areas, it now has a substantially broader reach. There are now more than 150 chapters of The First Tee offering programs at more than 1,200 golf course locations across the U.S., in addition to youth programs at more than 10,000 elementary schools and 1,300 youth centers.

Through chapter programs at local golf courses, youth ages 7 to 18 learn The First Tee Nine Core Values (honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment), as well as life and golf skills. Some chapters also offer STEM programming. Trained coaches provide guidance and instruction.

The First Tee National School Program brings a curriculum of basic golf skills, The First Tee Nine Core Values and Nine Healthy Habits to physical education classes in elementary schools — adding golf to the rotation of sports students are exposed to during the school year.

The First Tee Drive is all about bringing the program to where kids are by partnering with youth-serving organizations like the Y and the Boys & Girls Club. Through this program, youth have a chance to learn about golf and develop character through after-school and summer activities.

Together, these programs introduce the game of golf and its positive values to more than 5 million young people per year — with support from companies like The Toro Company, which serves as a preferred supplier.

World Golf Hall of Fame
The World Golf Hall of Fame opened in 1998 at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida, where the World Golf Foundation is headquartered. This was a move from the original site established in 1974 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, which was managed by the PGA of America.

Now part of the World Golf Foundation, the World Golf Hall of Fame honors the history of the game, celebrating the legacies of golf’s greatest players and contributors from around the world — both men and women. The museum contains a combination of permanent and traveling exhibitions on everything from the game’s heritage, major players and organizations to golf course design, management, equipment and dress.

GOLF 20/20
GOLF 20/20 is a coalition of leading golf organizations from all sectors of the industry that have come together to not only focus on driving interest and participation in the game but also to advocate for the collective interest of the industry. GOLF 20/20 also seeks to ensure golf’s continued growth and vitality among youth, women and minorities, while fostering diversity within the golf industry.

GOLF 20/20 includes We Are Golf, a government affairs coalition that advocates for the golf industry on legislative issues. Activities also include industry research, as well as public relations and media relations efforts to present golf in a positive way — especially in non-golf/non-sports media.

In addition, GOLF 20/20 supports five direct player development initiatives: Drive, Chip and Putt; LPGA-USGA Girls Golf; the PGA Jr. League; The First Tee and Get Golf Ready. The first four are youth initiatives, while Get Golf Ready is an adult player initiative designed to bring adults into the game who have never played golf or have minimal experience with it.

How to Get Involved
There are several ways you can support the World Golf Foundation in its mission to promote interest and participation in the game of golf for generations to come:

  • If you’re inspired to get involved at the junior golf level, find your local chapter of The First Tee and reach out to ask how you can provide support, from offering your course at off-peak times to volunteering your time.
  • If you are interested in government relations, visit for opportunities to get involved at the national or state level.
  • Your course’s golf professional can also provide instruction to adults through the Get Golf Ready program, which has achieved proven success in player retention — more than 80 percent of participants are still playing golf a year after participating.

Toro has been a proud supporter of the World Golf Foundation for over 20 years.  The Toro Company has participated in numerous initiatives via financial and in-kind contributions, as well as advisory board support. Please visit to learn more about the organization and its many programs and initiatives to promote the growth of the game and to ensure a stronger future for golf.