The ‘First Tee Of Fort Smith’ Officially Ending Its Program

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — A popular golf program for kids in Fort Smith is officially coming to a permanent end.

The First Tee of Fort Smith program lost funding last year, and after trying for several months to find a new source of funding, the board has decided Monday (Sept. 9) that the program will end.

For the past nine months efforts have been made to save the program after The National First Tee office pulled its charter in July.

First Tee is an international development program that teaches kids to golf. It also focuses on teaching life skills.

First Tee was once named the "Best Program in the World."

The First Tee Northwest Arkansas program still remains opened in Lowell.

The board of directors for First Tee released the following statement:

"First Tee of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Inc. has served youth in the Fort Smith community for more than 20 years however, due to financial circumstances, has ceased operations. We were not able to come to an agreement with First Tee Headquarters on another legal entity to continue the program. On behalf of the First Tee of Fort Smith board and First Tee headquarters, thank you to the community of children, parents, volunteers, coaches and donors who participated and supported the organization, providing a positive impact on the young people it reached. The property has been turned over to Sebastian County due to the reverter clause in the deed stating “if First Tee, Inc. ceases to operate an instructional golf facility for area youth on the property on an on-going basis, the ownership of the property will revert to Sebastian County.”

The Board of Directors would like to express its sincerest thanks to the Jack and Warren Stephens Families as well as Howard & Cindy Bagby. Charles Palmer and Rick Srygley families have been most gracious and we appreciate them so. The Yaffe’s and Frost’s, and so many more have given so much with leadership and commitment unparalleled.

To all prior employees of TFTFS, volunteer coaches and administrative staff, supportive sponsors corporate and individuals alike, we thank you. We are so grateful for the parents and family support groups of TFTFS. Most of all we are thankful for the progress made with the youth since 1998 in this part of the USA to help them become better American citizens.

The present and prior board of director members are all so appreciative for having had the honor and privilege of serving the youth in The River Valley and well beyond for nearly 22 years. WE ARE FOR THE YOUTH AND WE ALWAYS WILL BE......"

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