Spotlight on | Golf

Students use The First Tee of Miami to learn life’s lessons, values through golf

 
 
Charlie DeLucca Jr. beams as he talks with sports writers about The First Tee Miami Learning Center on opening day of the center on Jan. 26, 2013. DeLucca founded The First Tee and envisioned it as a place for education and golf training for youngsters. DeThe new nearly $2 million golf and learning facility is open to youngsters ages 5 to 18. The new facility is at 1802 NW 37th Ave., at Melreese Golf Course in Miami. It includes functional training bays, play and art areas, and a spacious learning center where youngsters can get tutoring, do homework or other creative activities. The First Tee of Miami Learning Center is the result of public-private partnerships. DeLucca and his son, Charlie DeLucca III, The First Tee Miami's executive director, worked together to secure the partnerships.
Charlie DeLucca Jr. beams as he talks with sports writers about The First Tee Miami Learning Center on opening day of the center on Jan. 26, 2013. DeLucca founded The First Tee and envisioned it as a place for education and golf training for youngsters. DeThe new nearly $2 million golf and learning facility is open to youngsters ages 5 to 18. The new facility is at 1802 NW 37th Ave., at Melreese Golf Course in Miami. It includes functional training bays, play and art areas, and a spacious learning center where youngsters can get tutoring, do homework or other creative activities. The First Tee of Miami Learning Center is the result of public-private partnerships. DeLucca and his son, Charlie DeLucca III, The First Tee Miami's executive director, worked together to secure the partnerships.
MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

Special to the Miami Herald

There they stood on the driving range earlier this week at International Links-Melreese Golf Course.

About 72 elementary school physical education teachers whacking golf balls. Some hit the ball 250 yards or more, but many more were dribbling it 25 yards or even less.

Golf wasn’t the main thing they were learning, though. They were learning to teach children life values, and golf was just a means to getting to those values. The training, under the auspices of The First Tee of Miami, wasn’t just a local effort, either. The First Tee, on the national level, had sent several trainers and teachers as part of the program.

“You can go through a quarter of million kids playing golf, and you’ll end up with a half dozen that make it to the pro level,” said Charlie DeLucca III, executive director of The First Tee of Miami. “You can teach many, many more kids life values that will help them stay in school and graduate.

“You tell me which is more important? Seems pretty easy to answer. It’s not just golf. Golf is the vehicle to values — mental development and happiness — that help kids.”

The First Tee program has nine core values — honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment — that it centers more emphasis on than how to line up a putt or hit down on the ball.

How important is the program? Rory McIlroy won a First Tee event, the Doral Publix Championship, as a child, and to this day he refers to it as, “My first major.”

So, all those teachers on the driving range this week were getting themselves into something bigger than they knew. As the day ended, they were given a written test, which most likely had questions about core values, as well as hitting a golf ball.

The Miami First Tee has become a model program for other chapters, some 186 of them around the country.

Benna Cawthorn, a national representative of The First Tee who was in Miami for the training, said, “The First Tee of Miami, it’s the best at what we do.”

The elementary school teachers, who were given $3,000 worth of golf equipment to take back to their schools, did not just learn about golf. They learned about those values that The First Tee and Charlie DeLucca III and his father, Charlie DeLucca Jr., preach with a passion. A passion that’s much more impressive than a 350-yard drive or hole-in-one or anything else you can achieve on the golf course.

“I would sincerely like them to be golfers,” Charles DeLucca III said of all the children he has worked with daily for 32 years. “Make no doubt, I think golf is a unique sport. But as far as these kids are concerned, given the choice, I would much rather see them graduate and go to college.

“Actually, it would be great if they did both.”

Palmetto update

The Palmetto golf course shut down this summer, as many courses do, to make upgrades and changes.

It has reopened, and they succeeded on the greens, which are better than ever. Smooth and accurate.

Traps have also been redone with new sand.

However, because of the extremely soggy summer weather, the course could not get the fairways to the improved condition they wanted. But that will happen, according to course general manager Tom Gibson. “That’s our goal and it will occur,” Gibson said.

That’s a fact, jack

Scotland, as is widely known, is the birthplace of golf. What most people don’t know is that golf was banned in Scotland from 1457 to 1502 to ensure citizens would not waste time when preparing for an English invasion.

Read more Golf stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2012, file photo, USA's Keegan Bradley celebrates after winning their foursomes match on the 15th hole at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson announces his wild-card selections for the American team, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, with Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Chris Kirk among the favorites.

    Tom Watson fills out his Ryder Cup team

    U.S. captain Tom Watson went with experience and a gut feeling Tuesday night when he filled out his Ryder Cup team with Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson.

  •  
Jordan Spieth hits off the third tee during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Mass., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.

    Creating more playing opportunities on PGA Tour

    PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is not inclined to make drastic changes next year that would create more starts for players who earn their cards through the Web.Com Tour Finals.

  • PGA European - Omega European Masters Preview

    Thursday, September 4th through Sunday, September 7th Course Info Site: Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club (Alpine Course), Crans Montana, Switzerland Course Architect: Fremantle and Gedge (1906), M Nicholson (1929 - redesign), Par: 70 Yardage: 6,848 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,507 Yds 1 - Par 5 540 Yds 2 - Par 4 446 Yds 3 - Par 3 191 Yds 4 - Par 4 503 Yds 5 - Par 4 364 Yds 6 - Par 4 324 Yds 7 - Par 4 331 Yds 8 - Par 3 175 Yds 9 - Par 5 633 Yds Back Nine: 35 3,341 Yds 10 - Par 4 406 Yds 11 - Par 3 217 Yds 12 - Par 4 417 Yds 13 - Par 3 195 Yds 14 - Par 5 559 Yds 15 - Par 5 516 Yds 16 - Par 3 235 Yds 17 - Par 4 394 Yds 18 - Par 4 402 Yds Tournament Info Year: 80th Television: Golf Channel - Thursday -- 5:30-7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m.-12:30 pm (et) - Friday -- 6-7:30 a.m. (et), 9:30-11:30 a.m. (et), - Saturday/Sunday -- 7-11 a.m. (et) Champion: Thomas Bjorn Runner Up: Craig Lee Tournament Record: 260 (Colin Montgomerie, 1996) 54-Hole Record: 193 (Patrick Sjoland, 1998) 36-Hole Record: 127 (Sandy Lyle, 1983) Course Record: 60 (Baldovino Bassu, 1971; Jamie Spence, 1992) Total Purse: $3,018,654 (2,300,000 euros) Shares: 1st Place - $504,423; 2nd Place - $336,278; 3rd Place - $189,463 2013 Final Leaderboard Thomas Bjorn * 264 Craig Lee 264 Victor Dubuisson 265 Alejandro Canizares 266 Miguel Angel Jimenez 269 Ross Fisher 269 Gregory Havret 270 Brooks Koepka 270 Three players at 272 Past Winners 2013: *Thomas Bjorn (264). Runner up: Craig Lee 2012: Richie Ramsay (267). Runner up: Fredrik Andersson Hed, Marcus Fraser, Danny Willett, Romain Wattel 2011: Thomas Bjorn (264). Runner up: Martin Kaymer 2010: Miguel Angel Jimenez (263). Runner up: Edoardo Molinari 2009: Alexander Noren (264). Runner up: Bradley Dredge 2008: *Jean-Francois Lucquin (271). Runner up: Rory McIlroy 2007: *Brett Rumford (268). Runner up: Phillip Archer 2006: Bradley Dredge (267). Runner up: Francesco Molinari, Marcel Siem 2005: Sergio Garcia (270). Runner up: Peter Gustafsson 2004: Luke Donald (265). Runner up: Miguel Angel Jimenez 2003: Ernie Els (267). Runner up: Michael Campbell 2002: Robert Karlsson (270). Runner up: Trevor Immelman, Paul Lawrie 2001: Ricardo Gonzalez (268). Runner up: Soren Hansen 2000: Eduardo Romero (261). Runner up: Thomas Bjorn 1999: Lee Westwood (270). Runner up: Thomas Bjorn 1998: *Sven Struver (263). Runner up: Patrik Sjoland 1997: Costantino Rocca (266). Runner up: Robert Karlsson, Scott Henderson 1996: Colin Montgomerie (260). Runner up: Sam Torrance 1995: Mathias Gronberg (270). Runner up: Costantino Rocca, Barry Lane 1994: Eduardo Romero (266). Runner up: Pierre Fulke 1993: Barry Lane (270). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Miguel Angel Jimenez 1992: *Jamie Spence (271). Runner up: Anders Forsbrand 1991: Jeff Hawkes (268). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros 1990: Ronan Rafferty (267). Runner up: John Bland 1989: Seve Ballesteros (266). Runner up: Craig Parry 1988: Chris Moody (268). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Anders Forsbrand, Ian Woosnam 1987: Anders Forsbrand (263). Runner up: Mark Mouland 1986: Jose Maria Olazabal (262). Runner up: Anders Forsbrand 1985: Craig Stadler (267). Runner up: 1984: Jerry Anderson (261). Runner up: Howard Clark 1983: *Nick Faldo (268). Runner up: Sandy Lyle 1982: *Ian Woosnam (272). Runner up: Bill Longmuir 1981: *Manuel Pinero (277). Runner up: Antonio Garrido, Tony Johnstone 1980: Nick Price (267). Runner up: Manuel Calero 1979: Hugh Baiocchi (275). Runner up: Antonio Garrido, Dale Hayes, Delio Lovato 1978: Seve Ballesteros (272). Runner up: Manuel Pinero 1977: Seve Ballesteros (273). Runner up: John Schroeder 1976: Manuel Pinero (274). Runner up: Dave Hill 1975: Dale Hayes (273). Runner up: Tienie Britz, Bernard Gallacher, Gary Player 1974: Bob Charles (275). Runner up: Tony Jacklin 1973: Hugh Baiocchi (278). Runner up: Eddie Polland, Jack Newton 1972: Graham Marsh (270). Runner up: Tony Jacklin 1971: Peter Townsend (270). Runner up: Manuel Ballesteros 1970: Graham Marsh (274). Runner up: 1969: Roberto Bernardini (277). Runner up: 1968: Roberto Bernardini (272). Runner up: 1967: Randall Vines (272). Runner up: 1966: Alfonso Angelini (271). Runner up: 1965: #Harold Henning (208). Runner up: 1964: Harold Henning (276). Runner up: 1963: *Dai Rees (278). Runner up: 1962: *Bob Charles (272). Runner up: 1961: Kel Nagle (268). Runner up: 1960: Harold Henning (270). Runner up: 1959: Dai Rees (274). Runner up: 1958: Ken Bousfield (272). Runner up: 1957: Alfonso Angelini (270). Runner up: 1956: Dai Rees (278). Runner up: 1955: Flory van Donck (277). Runner up: 1954: Bobby Locke (276). Runner up: 1953: Flory van Donck (267). Runner up: 1952: Ugo Grappasonni (267). Runner up: 1951: Eric Brown (267). Runner up: 1950: Aldo Casera (276). Runner up: 1949: Marcel Dallemagne (270). Runner up: 1948: Ugo Grappasonni (285). Runner up: 1947: Not Held. Runner up: 1946: Not Held. Runner up: 1945: Not Held. Runner up: 1944: Not Held. Runner up: 1943: Not Held. Runner up: 1942: Not Held. Runner up: 1941: Not Held. Runner up: 1940: Not Held. Runner up: 1939: Fifi Cavalo (273). Runner up: 1938: J. Saubaber (139). Runner up: 1937: M. Dallemagne (138). Runner up: 1936: @F. Francis (134). Runner up: 1935: Auguste Boyer (137). Runner up: 1934: Auguste Boyer (133). Runner up: 1933: Not Held. Runner up: 1932: Not Held. Runner up: 1931: M. Dallemagne (145). Runner up: 1930: Auguste Boyer (150). Runner up: 1929: A. Wilson (142). Runner up: 1928: Not Held. Runner up: 1927: Not Held. Runner up: 1926: Alex Ross (145). Runner up: 1925: Alex Ross (148). Runner up: 1924: P. Boomer (150). Runner up: 1923: Alex Ross (149). Runner up: * - Won in Playoff # - 54 Holes @ - Amateur Formerly called Swiss Open (1971-81), Ebel Swiss Masters (1982), Ebel European Masters Swiss Open (1983-1990), Canon European Masters Swiss Open (1991), Canon European Masters (1992-2000). Top Contenders Thomas Bjorn 2004: T-26 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: T-15 2011: Won 2012: mc 2013: Won Craig Lee 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 74th 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: 2nd Victor Dubuisson 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-49 2013: 3rd Miguel A. Jimenez 2004: 2nd 2005: T-13 2006: T-37 2007: mc 2008: T-3 2009: 4th 2010: Won 2011: T-9 2012: T-11 2013: T-5 Brooks Koepka 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: T-7 Paul Lawrie 2004: T-46 2005: mc 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-35 2012: T-6 2013: 12th Brett Rumford 2004: T-56 2005: T-69 2006: T-44 2007: Won 2008: T-23 2009: T-32 2010: T-13 2011: T-65 2012: T-19 2013: T-15 David Howell 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-7 2010: mc 2011: dq 2012: T-27 2013: T-26 Danny Willett 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-23 2010: T-42 2011: T-25 2012: T-2 2013: T-26 Matteo Manassero 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-23 2010: 3rd 2011: T-18 2012: T-34 2013: T-34 Gregory Bourdy 2004: 2005: mc 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-19 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-34 2013: T-44 Richie Ramsay 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: 34th 2012: Won 2013: mc Jamie Donaldson 2004: 2005: mc 2006: wd 2007: 2008: mc 2009: 2010: T-23 2011: T-3 2012: T-9 2013: mc Fabrizio Zanotti 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-47 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: T-45 2012: T-41 2013: mc Marc Warren 2004: 2005: 2006: T-4 2007: mc 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: T-9 2011: mc 2012: T-55 2013: mc Hennie Otto 2004: T-60 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-55 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-61 2012: T-64 2013: mc Darren Clarke 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-60 2010: T-15 2011: T-35 2012: T-71 2013: mc Pablo Larrazabal 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: T-48 2012: mc 2013: mc Mikko Ilonen 2004: wd 2005: mc 2006: T-7 2007: T-18 2008: T-32 2009: 2010: T-9 2011: 2012: mc 2013: mc Peter Uihlein 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: mc Bernd Wiesberger 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-6 2013: Shane Lowry 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: mc 2012: T-49 2013: George Coetzee 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-25 2012: 2013: NOTES: The European Tour travels to Switzerland this week for the Omega European Masters. With the best players on the European Tour competing in the United States on the PGA Tour at the FedExCup Playoffs, only three players ranked in the top 30 of the world are in the field - Victor Dubuisson (21), defending champion Thomas Bjorn (26) and Jamie Donaldson (28).

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category