Golf director trading green for greens

Executive Director Seth Jones gives a golf tip. (WLUK/Dave Duchan)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Teaching kids a little about golf, and a lot about life.

That’s the mission of a national non-profit with a chapter in northeast Wisconsin.

Seth Jones, the new Executive Director of The First Tee of Northeast Wisconsin, was on track to go into the business of making money. But he traded the pull of days in the office making a lot of green, to days on the course playing a lot of green.

You don't often see a water balloon toss on a golf course.

But it’s all part of the program at The First Tee. It began nationally exactly 20 years ago, and the northeast Wisconsin chapter followed two years later.

Obviously golf isn’t the only thing on the scorecard.

This is the first full year Seth Jones has been the executive director. The Manitowoc native was getting his MBA in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma when he felt the draw of helping youngsters close to where he grew up. He’s now finishing up his masters at St. Norbert.

“I thought I would go out and run a big business, enter the corporate world," says Jones. "First Tee kept calling my name and when the opportunity came to come back home here, I didn’t want to pass it up.”

Jones says The First Tee is about more than just having fun on the course. He says, life lessons are sprinkled into the golf lessons as well.

The program is designed for kids 7-18 regardless of golfing experience. Jones says the program is built on nine core principles. Things like honesty, sportsmanship, respect and judgment.

And the vice president of the local chapter said the board of directors used good judgment in offering Jones the job.

“Already we’ve seen a tremendous difference with Seth on board," says Paul Willems. "We were very excited when he accepted the position.”

Willems says, in the seven months since Jones signed up, sponsors and donations are up too. And judging by the kids, so is the enjoyment.

“At the end of the day, being able to really come home and feel extremely good about what you’re doing and helping someone else’s life was very meaningful,” says Jones.

The cost of the program is $10 a session, but scholarships are available depending on financial need. Golf equipment can be included as well.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off