The First Tee of St. Petersburg Is Reorganizing and Relaunching

The First Tee of St. Petersburg is in the process of reorganizing and relaunching itself as an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Since its inception in 2005, the First Tee of St. Petersburg has operated under the city of St. Petersburg as part of its Golf Courses division.

The move away from city operations, set to be completed by January 2010, will bring about a new organizational structure and new leadership. “It’s a good thing for both the city and the organization”, says Rick Waltman, junior golf coordinator. “Being separate from the city will give us access to more corporate and grant funding, as well as enable us to collaborate more easily with other communities outside of St. Petersburg."

Under the new organizational structure, Waltman will become the executive director, with a staff of two others. “The most important thing,” he emphasizes, “is that our programming will remain at the same high standard as always, and we even plan to expand some of our outreach programs so that more children who would not ordinarily be exposed to golf and The First Tee curriculum, can have a chance to participate in our programs.” In 2009 The First Tee of St. Petersburg was awarded Ace Chapter status by the national First Tee office, the highest recognition given to local chapters. Only 25 chapters nationwide have achieved this ranking.

Chairman of the Board Mike Puffer will continue in that role when the new organization begins, and is working to engage corporations within the city and the south county areas. “The biggest hurdle to date is financing of the new operation,” says Puffer, “but we have already obtained funding from Founding Partners like the Sanchez Family Foundation, The Alden Beach Resort and Suites, Sean Manning, and the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club Men’s golf association, to name a few.”

In addition, many past donors are continuing to support the organization, notably Brittany Lincicome, LPGA player and winner of this year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship.


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