Special golf program for kids set to open in Toledo

First Tee Lake Erie will be unveiling its new 40-acre site on Hill Avenue in September.
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A 40-acre plot of land on the backside of The Inverness Club in Toledo was once nothing more than a field, but over the last nine months it has been transformed into a special course that will introduce the game of golf to a new generation. First Tee Lake Erie started as a small grassroots effort a few years ago. Thanks to a lot of hard work and fundraising, a new course and programs for kids will be up and running in the coming weeks.

“It is amazing to see it come to life,” says Adam Reny, Executive Director of The Inverness Club. “Once we are up and running in about a month and a half, we are going to take our opportunities to impact kids’ lives to a whole new level.”

The land is now home to a full-length driving range, a putting green, and two short game greens. Reny says the mission of First Tee is to make the game affordable and accessible.

“By being able to offer golf programs and access to other sports, we will get kids who would not have thought about picking up a golf ball involved,” he says. “We hope to serve about 1,000 kids every year.”

When the weather is cold or rainy, there are indoor options here too. Reny says they have a gym and are working on getting a golf simulator as well as nets for indoor hitting.

Program Director Michael Prothe says that the kids who come out to First Tee will be provided with everything they need. “We like to say if they get here, we’ll take care of the rest,” he explains. “We’ll give them clubs, golf balls, tees, clothes, hats, and whatever they need.”

The organization relies on donations for the equipment, and people volunteer their time too. Retirees, high school and college students, and even PGA professionals help mentor the kids.

“Our mission is to positively impact kids’ lives and set them up for success in the future,” says Reny, who stresses that this is about more than golf. “We teach them simple social skills like introducing themselves. We also work on patience, respect, integrity, and honesty.”

The building on the property will also be home to a Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo facility and Prothe says kids will have a chance to take part in both programs.

“It is something they can think of as theirs,” he says. “The kids are the members, no one else. I think that is very special.”

The ribbon-cutting is set for September, and the programs will begin later that month. There are a lot of ways you can get involved with First Tee Lake Erie, so contact the organization if you’d like to learn more.

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