First Tee – Greater Charleston Honored for Commitment to Diversity

December 1, 2022 | Press Release

Charleston, SC–First Tee – Greater Charleston (FTGC) stepped into the national spotlight at First Tee Network Summit in Dallas, Texas last month as a recipient of the Barbara A. Douglas and Dr. William J. Powell Diversity Award. The award, presented by First Tee Headquarters (St. Augustine, FL) and The Toro Company (Bloomington, MN), recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to promote ethnic diversity within local golf communities and the First Tee Network at large. Out of 150+ First Tee chapters, FTGC was one of two to receive this honor.

The Diversity Award is a relatively new addition to Network Summit, a bi-annual meeting of representatives from First Tee chapters around the world. It is named for Barbara A. Douglas, the first minority chairman of the United States Golf Association, and Dr. William J Powell, the first and only African American to design, build, own and operate his own golf course (Clearview Golf Club).

FTGC was nominated for the award based on geographic and financial accessibility of programming. The local 501(c)3 offers golf and life skills curriculum at 8 courses and 35 schools, 60% of which are Title I. 97% of children served receive programming free of charge. Additionally, FTGC impressed the award selection committee by pioneering a new immersion program for middle and high school students that includes STEAM curriculum, transportation, and meals in addition to golf instruction.

Staff members and stakeholders are floored by the award, but Executive Director Bucky Dudley says the work is just beginning…

“The Barbara A. Douglas and Dr. William J. Powell Diversity Award is a uniquely special honor. It’s wonderful to receive validation that we are on the right track, but the work doesn’t end here. Inclusion is not a destination. It’s a journey, and the way is paved with persistent invitations.” 

Established in 2008, First Tee – Greater Charleston serves young people, ages 5-18, from all walks of life. The chapter offers on-course, in-school, and community programs to teach life skills through the game of golf to more than 17,000 children each year in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. 

Email [email protected] to learn more about ways to get involved.

Judson McNeil, President of The Toro Foundation; Bucky Dudley, Executive Director of First Tee – Greater Charleston; Kharynton Beggs, First Tee Alumna; Coach Lerone Johnson, Director of Special Programs; Kendall Flock, Director of Marketing and Communications; Russ Playford, Board Treasurer