The First Tee of Cleveland: Cleveland Metroparks Washington Reservation Golf Course

By Ron Calhoun

Washington Golf Course is a learning center located just outside of Cleveland off Route 77 South. The address is 3841 Washington Park Boulevard, Newburgh Heights, Ohio, 44105.

The golf course has a 250-yard driving range, a full 9 holes of golf, putting greens, and power and hand carts for rental. There is also a souvenir shop at the Pro Clubhouse. Golf lessons and a learning center called  “First Tee” for students are also available. Participants aged 5 to 18 progress through the program over time, deepening their understanding of life skills and golf development. The integrated approach helps them build confidence and resilience.

Financed by The First Tee of Cleveland and managed by Cleveland Metroparks, the course opened in the spring of 2006. The First Tee of Cleveland Inc., formed in 1999, is an official chapter of The First Tee, a national initiative that promotes youth character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

David Alexander, PGA Manager of Player Development, explained the core values of First Tee are to learn the game of golf and how it relates to life, to focus on interpersonal and self-management skills on and off the course, to emphasize setting goals and making them a reality, and to learn conflict resolution, resilience and how to plan for the future. Students hone in on setting goals, career education, and giving back to the community.

I learned that community programs consisted of integrating with the Cleveland school system. First Tee boasts 1400 locations across the nation. There’s also the opportunity to have National participation in many Professional Golf Association (PGA) tours.

First Tee also offers college scholarship programs up to $5,000 per year for four years, dedicated mentoring, professional development workshops, internships, and employment assistance. Building game changers is their mantra.

During the entire interview, David was teaching golf. His passion for golf and teaching was overwhelming. I committed to coming back another time.