Photos / The First Tee of Fort Worth
One of our favorite aspects of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational has almost nothing to do with golf. Oh, sure, the kids who participate in youth clinic or Caddie Day, run the short-game area or participate as reporters are in it for the golf. But to the longtime volunteer leader and past chair of the tournament held at the Colonial Country Club, Harold Muckleroy, it’s all about the number nine — and, no, not the front or back nine. Nine happens to be the number of Core Values expressed by the PGA’s national The First Tee organization, founded in 1997: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. “They’re great virtues for anyone to live by,” says Muckleroy, founding partner of Muckleroy & Falls commercial construction company of Fort Worth. The First Tee of Fort Worth launched in 2003.
“Caddie Day was a creation by members of Colonial Country Club in 2005,” Muckleroy says, “and was the very first program of its type on the PGA Tour.” The kids in The First Tee program earn the cherished right to caddie at Colonial by passing all their classroom work, which includes learning the nine Core Values. During practice rounds on the Monday and Wednesday before the tournament, The First Tee kids take over caddie duties at Hole 13, putting on professional caddie bibs and carrying the pros’ clubs. Many times, the bags weigh more than the kids — so they improvise by carrying just one club, often a putter or the club used on the tee box.
As the golf pros became used to Caddie Day, they began to work more with the kids on their grip techniques, or reading putts. A tradition begun in the second year, photos are taken of each First Tee participant and their pro, which are later autographed by the pro and returned to the caddie as a keepsake. Also begun in year two, close-in private parking is arranged for the parents bringing their kids to Caddie Day; a tournament shuttle service whisks them to the closest entry gate. Other opportunities have been created for the Caddie Day kids and their parents, including maintaining the practice chipping green by rounding up golf balls and raking the sand traps and, for the adults, volunteering at the entry gate to scan electronic tickets. The kids of The First Tee have also become very active participants in the Youth Golf Clinic and the Junior Invitational, a three-hole competition between selected members of The First Tee.
This year, on Tuesday, May 23, the organization opened a new facility at a local elementary school, which will serve more than 4,000 low-income kids. The First Tee resonates personally for Muckleroy. “I love golf because of its history, legends and the spirit in which it is played. The player calls fouls on himself. I like the integrity of it. I also want to see the game extend into the future as a way to reach young people.”
To volunteer, donate and learn more about The First Tee of Fort Worth, visit thefirstteeftworth.org.
This content is sponsored by Mary Carolyn Gatzke , Executive Vice President at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty Fort Worth.
Read more “Tee Up” tributes to the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, as seen in the May 2017 issue of 360 West magazine: click here
President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty with offices throughout North Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth Cultural District, Fort Worth-Mira Vista, Uptown, Lakewood, Southlake, The North, Ranch and Land East, Ranch and Land West, and The Ballpark. To explore the top neighborhoods in North Texas, visit briggsfreeman.com.