10 best golf courses affiliated with First Tee

These golf courses aren't just training grounds for beginning junior golfers. They're great for all ages and skills as well.
No. 8 is the longest par 3 at TPC Harding Park at 230 yards. The famous municipal course hosted the 2020 PGA Championship.

One of the coolest things about First Tee - besides the fact that many young golfers get their start in the non-profit organization - is how its local chapters have partnered with all types of golf courses.

Local municipal courses? Of course.

A major championship venue? Yep!

A private and well-respected PGA Tour host? You betcha.

While it would be great if every golfer donated their time or some money to First Tee, another way to support the cause would be to play golf at First Tee-affiliated courses. Whether those golf facilities are owned by First Tee or someone else, the point is you’re supporting youth development in your community. These clubs are helping to strengthen their communities by welcoming First Tee participants who not only learn golf skills but life skills, too.

During a recent round at TPC Harding Park, I couldn't help but notice how many young golfers were either coming and going from practice or playing the Fleming nine. What a blessing it is for them to learn the game at a course that continues to host major professional events.

Growing the game doesn't have to be some altruistic pursuit. You can be a little selfish, too. Get out there and play. In that vein, we've collected 10 of the best golf courses affiliated with First Tee. Swing away!

  1. TPC Harding Park - San Francisco, Calif.
    A view from the 10th hole of TPC Harding Park, host of the 2020 PGA Championship and several other top professional events.

    Home of the 2020 PGA Championship, the brawny TPC Harding Park is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025. First comes the 2023 Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown, a match-play event on the LPGA Tour showcasing 32 players representing eight countries. TPC Harding Park is also the site of First Tee – San Francisco, which has a nice practice/hitting area of artificial turf and nets adjacent to the Fleming Course, a cool nine-holer with plenty of teeth for good golfers, too. "TPC Harding might be the best public course in California. The layout was terrific, the views breathtaking and conditions were wonderful," wrote golfer 'Michael2777392' on GolfPass.

  2. Belmont Golf Course - Richmond, Va.

    Completely redesigned in 2021 by Davis Love III, Belmont is operated for the city by First Tee – Greater Richmond, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The historic course that hosted the 1949 PGA Championship welcomes players of all ages and skills. The Belmont of today consists of 12 restored A.W. Tillinghast holes, a 6-hole par-3 course called Little Bell and The Ringer, a reversible 18-hole putting course. "Still a bit high (price-wise) for a 12-hole course but it’s good if you want a quick round early in the morning. Greens on the par 3 are just as good as the regular course," wrote golfer 'djgetnice' on GolfPass.

  3. Harvey Penick Golf Campus - Austin, Texas
    A view of the 7th hole from the Harvey Penick Golf Campus.

    A golf lover’s dream, the Harvey Penick Golf Campus features a 112-acre public facility that houses a nine-hole golf course, the First Tee — Greater Austin and the city's first FootGolf course. Located in East Austin, it’s convenient to downtown and the University of Texas. First Tee – Greater Austin has invested funds raised during the Dell Technologies Match Play to maintain the facility. "Great 9 hole course for practice. Greens have come a long way. Was my first time playing in a while and will definitely be playing here a lot more. Great value for 9 holes and the range is in good shape," wrote golfer 'btat21' on GolfPass.

    TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Ct.

    TPC River Highlands is home to one of the PGA Tour's great short par 4s: the drivable 15th.

    The First Tee – Connecticut is located at the private TPC River Highlands, a course that hosts the PGA TOUR’s Travelers Championship. It’s known for an intense four-hole finishing stretch that puts even professional golfers through the ringer.

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    From lending their facilities to The First Tee to hosting amateur tournament golf, private clubs have more opportunities to open their gates than ever before.

  4. The Monterey County - First Tee, Salinas, Calif.
    A view of a tee on the executive course at First Tee - Monterey County.

    California's Monterey Peninsula is well known for golf. Just inland sits the First Tee – Monterey County's nine-hole executive course built in 2000. The 1,850-yard, par-31 routing was designed for players of all skill levels, featuring four holes between 250 and 375 yards. It is surrounded by natural wetlands. First Tee – Monterey County also took over management of King City Golf Course last year before devastating winter floods forced it to close for renovations.

  5. Jax Beach Golf Club - Jacksonville, Fla.
    There's plenty of water at Jacksonville Beach Golf Club, originally designed by Sam Snead.

    First Tee – North Florida is preparing to open a learning center at Jax Beach Golf Club, which will serve up to 500 kids each year. The 6,750-yard municipal course is known for its palm trees and water hazards. It was originally designed by Sam Snead but Harrison Minchew's 2018 renovation brought it up to modern standards. "Great public course in very good condition; greens very good. Nice traditional layout," wrote golfer 'brucefairles' on GolfPass in fall 2021.

  6. Jefferson Park Golf Course - Seattle, Wash.
    A view of the 8th green on the 18-hole course at Jefferson Park Golf Course.

    First Tee – Greater Seattle boasts a facility at Jefferson Park Golf Course, home to a 5,906-yard regulation course, a nine-hole executive course and a Toptracer Range with 28 stalls, all located just outside downtown Seattle, offering views of the city skyline and Mt. Rainier. The course has ties to Tom Bendelow, dating back to 1915.

  7. Oceanside Golf Course - Oceanside, Calif.
    A view of the first green at Oceanside Golf Course.

    First Tee – San Diego offers programing at the municipal Oceanside Golf Course, which features bountiful views of the native San Luis Rey Valley habitat. Ted Robinson Sr. designed the 6,480-yard course in 1972.

  8. Rogers Park Golf Course - Tampa, Fla.
    A view of the 16th hole at Rogers Park Golf Course.

    First Tee – Tampa Bay calls Rogers Park Golf Course its headquarters. During segregation, the historic golf course was one of the only picnic sites open to African American families in Tampa. A group of Black caddies from a nearby club asked if they could build their own course on the site, and the rest is history. A three-hole practice course serves the First Tee well. The entire 160-acre golf facility is surrounded on three sides by the Hillsborough River, which keeps the golf experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city. "We’ve been golfing in the Tampa area on holidays for two weeks now and we have found ourselves returning to Rogers Park. Why? Sure it doesn’t have perfect greens nor fairways, but it is still completely playable and enjoyable for this 11 handicapper," wrote golfer 'LoriLumley' on GolfPass.

  9. Bob O’Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park - Pittsburgh, Pa.
    A view of the 10th hole at the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park, home to The First Tee - Pittsburgh.

    First Tee – Pittsburgh recently completed its incredible new Arnold Palmer Learning Center on-site at Bob O’Connor Golf Course, an urban 4,620-yard golf experience inside Schenley Park that originally opened in 1897. The new learning center, which is available for rent, features two Trackman simulators, an indoor putting green, fitness area, classrooms and more.

  10. Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course - Chicago, Ill.
    A view of a green and the clock tower cafe in the background at Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course.

    The Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course, a nine-hole lakefront golf course, offers amazing views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. Plus, kids play free! First Tee – Greater Chicago’s new Waveland Youth Facility is located right next door. The chapter spent $2 million to renovate a historic clocktower into the clubhouse in addition to an outdoor putting space and indoor simulators. Golfer Luke Donald, who played at Northwestern University in nearby Evanston, helped with the design. "Your only option in the area but it's not bad at all," writes golfer 'alexdern' on GolfPass. "(I'm) giving 5 stars for the relative quality given the public options in Chicago. Solid distance at 3,250 yards for a 9-hole par 36. Expect to play slow (2-2.5 hours)." 

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,100 courses and written about golf destinations in 25 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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10 best golf courses affiliated with First Tee