published Friday, December 10th, 2010

First Tee to open doors to the public

It may be a bit too frigid for Chattanooga-area golfers to play 18 holes Saturday, but it probably won’t be too cold to beat a bucket of balls or view one of the finest First Tee facilities in the Southeast.

The First Tee of Chattanooga will open its gates Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for its first open house and equipment market.

“We want as many people as possible to see our sparkling facility,” program director Scott Hare said, “and more importantly, get to see what First Tee is all about — and it’s about more than just golf — and get familiar with who we are.”

The event is a fundraiser. It’s also a day for beginners and those looking for game improvement.

With the market, golfing first-timers could saunter away from the 20-acre property on Hickory Valley Road with a full set of experienced clubs as well as tips from the area’s top professionals on how to use them properly.

“We’ve had a lot of sets donated, so it would be a great time for somebody who’s interested in getting started and can do so fairly inexpensively,” Hare said. “We’d love to raise some money, but it’s also a day for letting people see the facility and see how we impact the kids.”

An endless bucket of balls is $10, and free lessons will be available from area professionals Bruce Etter, Tad Holley, Hunt Gilliland, Hare and others.

“Golfers can have some fun and get something out of it, but more important, this is a coming-out party, if you will, and we’ve flown a bit under the radar,” said Gilliland, FTC president. “It’s a neat place for people to see, and now that we have our own facility, it’s a very special place and we want to show it off.”

Contact David Uchiyama at or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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