First Tee golfers swing for success in life and on the course

Devin Parnell never played golf prior to his eighth-grade year.

Thanks to the popular First Tee program, he seized an opportunity to give the sport a try and he fell in love with it.

“I’m a very athletic person and thought I would give it a try,” Parnell said. “It worked out well.”

Created in 1997, First Tee has seen more than 10 million children participate in its popular program. Parnell not only takes part in lessons over the summer at Tiger Point in Gulf Breeze but he stays busy on the First Tee tournament circuit as well.

The experience is big for Parnell, who will be a sophomore on the Navarre Raiders golf team this fall.

“I play on the summer tour and it greatly improves my confidence,” Parnell said. “I’ve met a lot of great players and I have become a better player because of the competition.”

MariAne Johnson, a sixth-grader from Navarre, is in her third year with First Tee. She just returned home from a national tournament in Ohio and plays in a good number of local tournaments as well.

It was through the First Tee program that she was introduced to golf.

“(Golf) is fun and challenging,” Johnson said. “I love playing with other people that are my age. I’ve gotten better as a golfer and have learned life skills.”

Read more  in the July 14 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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