The New York Times' Gary Santaniello profiles The First Tee's retiring and amazingly well-compensated CEO, Joe Louis Barrow, who oversaw the program's growth and subtle transition in recent years to a grow-the game organization overseen by the World Golf Foundation.
He is to be replaced by former Viacom executive Keith Dawkins.
The First Tee’s programs reached 5.3 million young people in 2016; nearly half of the participants in the golf programs are minorities, and 39 percent are girls.
The scope of what the First Tee does has expanded, but, Barrow said, “the mission hasn’t changed.”
That starts with providing its participants with coaches, teachers and mentors. Seeking more than an instructional relationship, the organization seeks to promote lifelong relationships.
Drake Moseley participated in First Tee programs outside Houston for nine years before attending Talladega College in Alabama, from which he graduated in 2016.
The lesson that most sticks with him from the First Tee is his first one. He remembers sitting in a circle with 25 others and being taught how to introduce himself to others, with a firm handshake and the proper exchange of names.
“That was even before we got into the golf,” said Moseley, who attained a full-time position at the First Tee’s headquarters in St. Augustine, Fla., upon graduation. “The first thing you learn is how to carry yourself.”
According to the Dawkins announcement note, Barrow expanded The First Tee to these "capacity" levels.
In recent years, Barrow led The First Tee through an ambitious effort to reach 10 million additional young people between 2011 and 2017, and he built its capacity to reach more than 5 million young people annually through the various programming channels.