PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., – PGA TOUR professional and First Tee alumnus Austin Smotherman has been named an official ambassador of First Tee. A Loomis, Calif. native, Smotherman participated in the Greater Sacramento chapter from age seven until 18 and developed his golf game and character during his time in the program. As an ambassador, Smotherman will showcase his involvement with the youth development organization and the impact it has on his life to help inspire the next generation.
Smotherman is debuting the First Tee logo on his bag this week during the Barracuda Championship in support of the program and its mission to empower kids and teens to build their strength of character through golf. As an ambassador, he will also give his time to meet with participants, donors, and chapter leadership to inspire more support of its mission and participation of the program.
“I’m honored to take on this role as First Tee Ambassador,” said Smotherman. “Looking back at my time as a participant, I really value the balance of developing my character while I was also developing my golf swing. Those experiences and the skills I acquired helped shape who I am as a person and now as a professional athlete. They still guide me today as I navigate the ups and downs of this game that I love.”
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, congratulations to Austin Smotherman on today’s announcement regarding his new role as official ambassador of First Tee,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Competing on the PGA TOUR requires hard work and perseverance and his story and the character strengths he developed during his time in First Tee will help inspire many kids and teens as they explore the many opportunities golf can provide. Austin paying it forward is another example of what makes the PGA TOUR – and our members – so special.”
During his time in First Tee, Smotherman progressed through the program, transitioning from a participant to a junior coach and mentor to the younger kids. In 2009 and 2010 he played in the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee and in 2011 he earned First Tee – Greater Sacramento’s Core Value Award.
In 2016, he graduated from Southern Methodist University where he played on the men’s golf team. After competing for two seasons on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica (2017 –2018) he transitioned to the Korn Ferry Tour (2019-2021) until he earned his PGA TOUR card in August 2021. Smotherman is the third First Tee alum, following Scott Langley (retired) and Cameron Champ, to achieve this milestone.
“We are proud to welcome Austin as our First Tee ambassador,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “This is a special moment as we celebrate our 25th anniversary and the lasting impact we are having on youth and alumni across the country as they pursue their careers and passions, both on and off the golf course. His commitment to giving back and dedication to living out his values is an inspiration and will impact many lives.”
Launching in 1997, First Tee is celebrating 25 years of enabling kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By seamlessly integrating the game of golf with a life skills curriculum, First Tee creates active learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence and resilience that kids can carry to everything they do. These character education programs are offered at golf courses, schools and youth centers in all 50 states and at six international locations.
About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”)
First Tee (www.firsttee.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization that is supported by the PGA TOUR. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. In 2022, First Tee celebrates its 25th anniversary and reaching millions of youth through its network of 150 chapters, 10,000 schools and 1,700 youth centers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA, programs are delivered in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair.