When this 25-year-old sets off for a day at the golf course, it is not a reflection of a leisurely day spent cultivating a competitive backswing, but rather a venture into a real-life game change.
Andrew Levy, Program Coordinator/Assistant Golf Professional at the Plainfield West 9 Golf Club, is taking the lead on his philanthropic goals, becoming a central figure in his local chapter of a golf-centered charity, The First Tee .
“I don’t think I choose golf as a career as much as everything I wanted to do, I could do through golf,” Levy said.
The First Tee's mission is to “impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.”
Levy graduated Westfield High School in 2005. He furthered his education at Lafayette College, where he graduated in 2009 Cum Laude with a dual degree in economics and business and government and law.
“I went to school thinking I’d sit behind a desk, I went to school thinking I’d have a normal job where I went into the office and commuted to the city and I did that and it was awful," Levy said.
The First Tee is an international organization, with chapters in all 50 states as well as Ireland and New Zealand.
“The First Tee is open to all kids, all ages, all abilities, no matter what your background is, we want to help you,” said Levy.
He described his priority as taking the concepts related to golf and connecting it to all other aspects of life and said he has the “responsibility of making that parallel so its not just golf, it makes them better people. The goal isn’t to have PGA Tour golfers, that would be great, (but) the goal is to have kids who go to college, and have careers, and know what they want and are able to achieve their goals.”
The program designed “Nine Core Values,” which are used to link the game to everyday life. These values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment.
He describes the key to this effort is maintaining an open dialogue with the kids, sharing their ideas and objectives, and understanding the steps required to achieve those ambitions.
“If someone asked me when I was 14,15, 16, somewhere in there, what I wanted to do with my life, I really wonder what I wanted to do with my life and if I could have done it… no one ever asked you that. So having that conversation and really making a kid start thinking about their life is really cool,” he said.
The Plainfield Country Club hosted the The Barclays in 2011. Levy explained how, for some kids, it is the highlight of the program to drive a 9 iron on the same range as Phil Mickelson.
Plainfield Country Club is the first private club in the nation to host a First Tee program. The organization will hold an open house at the Plainfield West 9 on June 9, 2012.
Levy explained the program is always in need of donations, including equipment and time. Single clubs or full golf sets are always sought-after items, and these donations are tax deductible.
Those interested in volunteering for the program who are 15 years or older, can visit The First Tee website or for more information, contact Levy directly at email@example.com. His website learngolfforfun.com, is currently under construction.