Events Hosted by The First Tee of Northwest Florida
Founded in 2003, The First Tee of Northwest Florida teaches character development through the “Life Skills Learning Experience” and the game of golf for boys and girls ages 5-18. The First Tee program (founded 1997) is based on The Nine “Core Values”: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, and Judgment. We offer these once-per-week nine-meeting clinics in the Spring and Fall; during the summer we offer an accelerated Summer program that meets twice weekly. Classes are offered at 15 sites in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay Counties. Fees are $100 or less per class with half and full scholarships available for participants who demonstrate financial need. Students progress through levels (Target, PLAYer, Par, Birdie, Eagle and Ace) similar to scouting and become eligible for National “Participant Opportunities” at the three highest levels (with some age restrictions) but have the opportunity to travel to fully funded tournaments, camps, clinics and forums and receive academic honors and college scholarships.
Founded in 1990, the Greater Pensacola Junior Golf Association (GPJGA) conducts junior golf tournaments, primarily a five-week summer tour one to two days per week during June and July. The tour has an intermediate (one day, nine-hole, modified rules with 10 stroke maximum) level that is $150 or less, and an advanced (two day, 36-hole, USGA rules) that is $375 or less. The GPJGA also coordinates a handful of other events, as below:
The Divot Derby was founded in 1958 by the Pensacola Sports Association and has been organized by the GPJGA since 1995. The Derby is a five-day event held on a Sunday-Thursday each July with a Skills Challenge/Cookout, three days of tournament play and a Thursday Gala Banquet. Since 2010, the event has been presented by PGA Tour star Bubba Watson, who was the champion of the 1994 event. Thanks to Bubba and the PSA Foundation, the event is free to all area juniors.
The A. Downing Gray Cup was founded in 2010 by the membership of Pensacola County Club to honor our area’s most accomplished amateur golfer and long-time club member. It is a two-day event in early August with a dinner the second evening, and serves as the Tour Championship for the summer events. The top five finishers from each division of the Summer Tour and the top three finishers from each division of the Divot Derby (and the first-place finishers from all other GPJGA events) qualify into this event. The event is free for all qualifiers thanks to the generosity of the membership of The Pensacola Country Club.
The Tom Dorsey Winter Classic was founded in 1994 and is held each December to honor the passing of a wonderful GPJGA volunteer, Mr. Tom Dorsey. The two-day tournament is held during the winter school break with one round each held at A.C. Read GC (Pensacola NAS) and Osceola Golf Course.
The Southern Juniors dates to the 1970’s and is a two-day spring tournament held at Scenic Hills Country Club in conjunction with the University of West Florida Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams, who volunteer for the tournament and serve as walking scorers for the younger divisions.
The City of Pensacola Junior Championship is a two-day Spring tournament held at Osceola Golf Course, and honors PGA Tour veteran Adrian Stills, a co-founder of our local Chapter of The First Tee and a member of the National Black Golf Hall of fame.
The Joe Durant Adult/Junior is a one day, two-player scramble held right before the beginning of the Summer Tour. In this fun, family event, teams are flighted based on the age of the junior Golfer; Juniors who do not have an Adult partner are encouraged to sign up and will be paired with and area club professional or experienced amateur.
Note: All juniors play from age-appropriate tees and yardages. Also, all event results for completed 36 hole (or greater) events in all divisions with a minimum of 5 participants in that division are submitted to the National Junior Golf Scoreboard for national ranking points.