Georgetown College’s George H. W. Bush Center for Fitness is named for the 41st President of the United States in recognition of the former President’s support for physical fitness for all Americans, particularly its youth, and to benefit the $1.5 million endowment of The First Tee Scholars program at the College. It also recognizes the former President’s active role in the PGA and in the development of The First Tee, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation which focuses on giving young people of all backgrounds the opportunity to develop values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship through golf and character education.
Georgetown College, in 2003, became the first college in American to provide scholarships to young people who complete the program. Georgetown president William H. Crouch, Jr., a national member of The First Tee board, then challenged his counterparts across the country to follow his lead – and now 20 colleges and universities provide at least two First Tee scholarships. There are seven First Tee Scholars at Georgetown College this year – three from Illinois, two from Tennessee and one each from Arkansas and Minnesota.
The PGA of America is vitally interested in The First Tee – certainly for its emphasis on leadership, life skills and ethics, but also for the diversity the program brings back to the sport. In fact, the first two Scholars in Georgetown College’s TFT program took advantage of another of the College’s unique partnership by entering the PGA’s accelerated Professional Golf Management (PGM) School a year ago. They are in the final phase now.