Lin Gable knows firsthand that The First Tee Nine Core Values are far more than tools to help her find the fairways and greens. For Lin, the lessons she has learned through The First Tee have helped her find her voice as a leader as well. Lin began with the program in 2010. In addition to developing her own game, Lin served as an intern at The First Tee and was President of The First Tee Junior Advisory Board. Under her leadership, the Board raised more than $9,000 for scholarships through their quarterly garage sales. Now Lin serves as an Assistant Coach for the program and a tireless advocate for the lessons The First Tee teaches. We asked Lin to share a bit about her experiences. Here is what she had to say:
“I was incredibly fortunate to be involved with The First Tee. When I started in fifth grade by taking a class, I had no idea what the program was about. I just knew that my dad had taken me out to the driving range and I had loved it and wanted to learn more about golf. I thought The First Tee was just golf lessons. It’s really fantastic I was mistaken about that.
The First Tee Nine Core Values and the way they are taught through real life experiences are very powerful. We learned values in elementary, middle, and high school but the impact was nothing like The First Tee because The First Tee adds many more steps to that learning process. The First Tee teaches the nine core values but then also models them through coaches and staff. For a kid, that has a huge impact. As a student, we are asked to use them in action during our golf session after we learn them. Now we have heard it, seen it, and we have to do it. On top of that, we even get the chance to teach it by being an intern, coach, or volunteer. What that all meant to me was that it gave me a chance to really learn what these values were and what they meant. The First Tee made me think about how important these values were to me, what I stood for, and who I wanted to be. They have impacted me all through my high school experience and continue to impact me now as a student at the University of Washington in the Foster School of Business.
The First Tee gave me a chance to appreciate diversity in a new way: age diversity, ethnic diversity, economic diversity, cultural diversity, and more. I think about how age diversity helped me while at the UW when I went through recruitment and joined the professional business fraternity. Most of the people going through recruitment were upperclassmen but because I had coached students that were much older than me at The First Tee, I felt comfortable being younger. I even had the confidence to run for VP of my pledge class despite everyone else being upperclassmen and having a lot of internship experience. I did not get it but I had the perseverance to run for the chair of Professional Development and got it. In that, I have been applying what I learned through The First Tee: how to plan events and think through all the steps needed, how to work with people, and how to plan and lead. Through all of this, having had the experience working with such diversity at The First Tee has really helped me work with people within my business fraternity.
What I’ve learned as a person is much more valuable than what I have learned in my golf game, although that was great, too. I’ve learned a lot from the other participants in the program who come from diverse backgrounds. I was able to be in a community with them and that has given me insight and had an impact on me. Most importantly, I’ve learned so much through the great mentors, coaches and staff who work for The First Tee. Evan, Kimberly, Heidi, and Coach Eli have all been really valuable models and mentors for me. The way they communicate, encourage, and support The First Tee values in people like me has been incredible. I hope I can be that good one day. I know I’m a better person and a more successful leader because of the four of them and The First Tee. I know that in the future I will continue to give back to The First Tee whether that is through time, money, or mentoring others. The First Tee has taught me so much and I’m so grateful for everything I have learned and will continue to learn.”