Junior Golf's 'Magic
A long drive takes on new meaning with The First
Tee Mobile Learning Center in Hampton Roads, Va.
April 16, 2009
By Emily Kolbe, USGA Fellow
The Magic School Bus taught us that buses have more uses
than driving from Point A to Point B. The First Tee of
Hampton Roads, based in Virginia Beach, Va., embraced that
concept with its own magical vehicle: The First Tee Mobile
The Mobile Learning Center is more than a bus; it is a
virtual golf course on wheels. Since revving up last year,
the Learning Center has reached more than 12,000 kids in
the Hampton Roads region. The bus is fully equipped with an
indoor putting surface, benches for a classroom-like
setting, audiovisual equipment and a storage closet full of
teaching materials. The closet is stocked with an array of
golf clubs, SNAG golf equipment, driving range mats,
hitting nets and instructional materials.
|The First Tee Mobile Learning
Center has visited more than 40 schools and other
organizations in the Hampton Roads, Va., area.|
"The Mobile Learning Center removed transportation
issues as an obstacle to teaching our core values and life
skills and introducing children to the game of golf,"
said Mike Vinsand, executive director and former board
chairman of The First Tee of Hampton Roads. "It
enables us to reach children who would otherwise never have
the opportunity to experience The First Tee."
Hampton Roads' Mobile Learning Center visited more than
40 schools, youth service-agencies, churches and parks
departments in its first season -- and garnered positive
attention around the community and throughout The First Tee
Network along the way. Vinsand, the driving force behind
the program, envisions adding a portable simulator and
video swing analyzer to the current offerings, and more
stops throughout coastal Virginia and northeastern North
"We are very pleased that The First Tee of Hampton
Roads is taking the initiative to find unique ways to share
our values and mission with more young people throughout
coastal Virginia and northeastern North Carolina,"
said Joe Louis Barrow Jr., chief executive officer of The
First Tee. "We believe the Mobile Learning Center will
increase the visibility of The First Tee in this community
and inspire other Chapters to reach and impact more young
people in this creative manner."
The USGA is a founder and supporter of The First Tee and
has awarded more than $24 million to The First Tee Chapters
and Home Office over the past decade. The First Tee of
Hampton Roads is a five-time recipient of support from the
USGA's "For the Good of the Game" Grants
Initiative. The organization reaches thousands of kids
annually and operates three programming sites in Virginia
Beach and surrounding communities. For more information
about this organization and the Learning Center, please
The First Tee of Hampton Roads.
For more about the USGA's philanthropic efforts,
, or visit www.usga.org.