Arnold Palmer Donates $200,000 to First Tee of Central Florida & Establishes Scholarship

Arnold Palmer, Hall of Fame golfer and First Tee National Trustee, has made a $200,000 donation to First Tee of Central Florida chapter to establish the Arnold Palmer Scholarship Fund. Through Palmer's lead gift and support as Honorary Chairman, First Tee of Central Florida is committed to growing the fund to over $1 million in the next 10 years.

With the help and support of the fund, First Tee of Central Florida has a five-year goal of improving the lives of over 4,500 Central Florida youth by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Through the success of the program, First Tee of Central Florida will help boost student achievement, improve high school readiness and provide participants with the skills and tools needed to set and achieve their goals.

Palmer's contribution will allow First Tee of Central Florida to continue to maintain the policy that no child ever gets turned away for an inability to pay to participate. Additionally, the fund will increase the opportunity for young people to experience positive social interaction with peers in safe places surrounded by caring adults through the addition of program locations and program offerings.

"I am extremely pleased to give my support to this recently established chapter of the First Tee in Central Florida. This community has long been my second home, along with so many other professional golfers," said Palmer. "It is a wonderful opportunity to grow the game, and the life lessons and skills, that align with golf in an area so rich in golf."

Since October 2012, when First Tee of Central Florida began delivering its Life Skills Experience Programs at Hunter's Creek Golf Club, it has added an additional programming site, Winter Park Country Club, and increased participation by over 140 percent. Through strategically planned growth, First Tee of Central Florida plans on partnering with additional golf clubs to provide the Life Skills Experience Programs in 2013.

"We could not be more honored by Mr. Palmer's gesture and we are extremely grateful for his support. His generosity will allow thousands of local youth to gain exposure to the game of golf through the First Tee program and more importantly learn the positive core values, healthy habits, and life skills associated with the game. We are beyond excited," said Matt Certo, Board President of First Tee of Central Florida.

As Honorary Chairman, Palmer joins First Tee of Central Florida's Honorary Board members Annika Sorenstam, Ken Griffey Jr., Doc Rivers, Tracy Stewart and Golf Channel President Mike McCarley.

TFTCFL's Board of Directors is comprised of Matt Certo, WebSolvers (President); Scott Walker, Golf Channel (Vice President); Jon Johnston, BB&T-J Rolfe Davis (Treasurer); Sarah Pape, Zimmerman, Kiser & Sutcliffe. P.A. (Secretary); Jay Brennan, Gray Robinson; Michael Crosbie, Shutts & Bowen; Andrew Fleming, Golf Channel; Brandon Johnson, Arnold Palmer Design Company; Mike McGee, ANNIKA and Gene Lee, Darden Restaurants.

For additional information about how area golf clubs, children, or companies can get involved with TFTCFL, contact executive director Tom Lawrence at or