First Tee - Virginia Blue Ridge hosts ‘Putting Challenge’

The First Tee - Virginia Blue Ridge youth golf program held its second-annual 'Putting Challenge' on Thursday at Birdwood Golf Club.
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 10:59 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The First Tee - Virginia Blue Ridge program is a youth development organization that helps kids build strength of character through the game of golf.

First Tee held its second-annual ‘Putting Challenge’ on Thursday at Birdwood Golf Course.

They had to wait through a lightning delay, but despite less-than-perfect conditions, there were over two-hundred people in attendance.

They were all there to support an event which was originally designed as a way to get back-to-normal last summer.

First Tee executive director Derek Norberg says, “Covid had hit everyone hard, including us. Our numbers were down. Social gatherings were down. And to have this many people out in support of our organization, First Tee of Virginia Blue Ridge, is really tremendous.”

Former UVA women’s golfer Beth Lillie says, “It’s been awesome. It’s so well attended. There are so many cute little kids out here who are just having fun with golf.”

They weren’t the only ones.

“A lot of family participating,” says Norberg. “It’s not just for the juniors. It’s for the adults as well, so just having a great time out here.”

UVA women’s golf head coach Ria Scott and 2022 grad Beth Lillie were helping out at the event. They know the greens at Birdwood better than just about anyone, but say the golfers didn’t need a lot of help.

“Lots of hole in ones,” says Lillie. “They get a raffle ticket when they make a hole in one, so handing lots of those out.”

Scott adds, “These kids know exactly what they’re doing. It’s a challenging putting course out here at the Ridges at Birdwood, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Ria Scott just completed her fourth season in Charlottesville, and the First Tee is a big part of her life.

“I’m on the advisory board for the First Tee, volunteer a little bit with their organization, and also my kids are participants,” says Scott. “Kind of a well-rounded exposure to the First Tee, and what they do.”

Norberg adds, “Over 200 people out here in support of us really shows that people support the character education side of golf, and that’s what we’re trying to bring to the table here.”

First Tee - Virginia Blue Ridge will host a golf tournament at Birdwood and Farmington in the Fall.

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