First Tee and Special Olympics pair for fall golf tournament

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(Courtesy The First Tee of Hampton Roads)

(Courtesy The First Tee of Hampton Roads)

The First Tee of Hampton Roads and Special Olympics Virginia are teaming up this fall for a competition.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, a nine-hole event called the United Tournament will be played at The First Tee of Hampton Roads, 2400 Tournament Dr. in Virginia Beach. The First Tee is a youth-development program of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. The tournament will pair a golfer from The First Tee with a golfer from Special Olympics. There will be two teams with 18 players each, for a total of 36 participating athletes. Another roughly 18 golfers from each organization will participate in groups for skills training, such as putting and chipping.

“We decided to collaborate on this special tournament to give our young golfers here at The First Tee an opportunity to mentor and play with those young golfers from the Special Olympics,” Nancy Moore, The First Tee’s director of operations and development, said in a phone interview.

Before the tournament, on Friday, Sept. 30, there will be a pairings party, with light food for the tournament athletes, at Virginia Beach National Golf Club, 2500 Tournament Dr.

The United Tournament comes into fruition from previous partnerships between The First Tee and Special Olympics, who use the same course for practices and local tournaments throughout the year, Moore said. The event is intended as an exhibition tournament, aiming for a fun experience for participating athletes.

In addition, PGA player and Virginia Beach resident Marc Leishman is slated to attend the tournament, according to Moore.

“All golfers will feel a sense of accomplishment that day, because they’re golfing and they’re sharing a sport they all love,” Moore said.

The First Tee is a 55-acre golf complex designed for children between the ages of five and 17, according to its website. It is located next to Virginia Beach National Golf Club and is open seven days a week. First Tee membership dues are $18 monthly for members of the YMCA of Hampton Roads and $35 monthly for nonmembers. For more information, go here.

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