Hello The First Tee Family!
Some of you may know me, while for some of you newer, up and coming members, I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. Regardless, I’d like to begin by introducing myself, my name is Kortnie Maxoutopoulis and I am a The First Tee graduate. My hope for this news article is that I would share with you where I’ve come from, where I am now and how The First Tee has had a grand impact on my progression.
My passion for golf began at a young age when I was introduced to the game while being raised in Pleasanton. I competed in the JGANC and other local golf events and eventually earned a scholarship to play college golf. I signed my letter of intent to play college golf at Rutgers University, NJ and then transferred to play for the TCU Horned Frogs. Following my collegiate career, I served as a graduate assistant golf coach at Georgia Southern University where I earned my Masters degree and I currently act as the assistant golf coach at Long Beach State University. The most incredible thing to reflect back on is how golf has been at the foundation of all these life transitions. Furthermore, the life lessons and relationships I have established through The First Tee have been the fondest and most influential.
When I first heard of The First Tee, I became familiar with its stand-out mission, which was to impact the lives of young people by providing access to golfing resources while promoting a foundation of character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. However our area did not have a chapter until Jetter Golf offered a site for The First Tee to begin in the Tri-Valley area. Within a couple years our chapter offered classes ranging from Par to Eagle level. In these classes, I learned the parallel between the 9 core values and the game of golf. I quickly recognized just how similar the game of golf was to life: from choosing to do the right thing in all situations (integrity) to learning the value of persevering through trials and adversity both on and off the course. I also had the privilege of attending The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach where I connected with professional golfers and developed friendships that continue on to this day. These experiences, which I had the honor to partake in, were of such value because I met like-minded individuals who were also taught through The First Tee that golf’s life lessons serve as a platform in launching us into any other circumstance that life may take us, with a foundation in revering character as the utmost standard.
Currently, I serve as the assistant golf at Long Beach State, and as The First Tee graduate, I can honestly share that the principles I gained through The First Tee have been integral in influencing the style with which I coach. One specific area I can point to is the 3 goal-setting steps: (1) define your dreams and goals; (2) set goals that are positive and important to you; and (3) set goals that are specific and under your control. After being introduced to the team at Long Beach State, I observed that we had a lot of talent, but I identified that there needed to be a growth in team spirit and execution in order to be successful. Through team meetings we identified our team’s mission: Our Journey is growing in a Loving environment; Believing in one another; Sacrificing for each other; United to Compete. This mission not only defined our dreams (1), but it also specified the areas that were of importance to the team (2). The next critical step was to determine ways we could tangibly achieve this (3). Each month I spotlighted one of the qualities for the team by determining a “challenge” they had to accomplish. Along the way, the team began to realize they were GROWING into a United team through giving necessary time and attention to each of these areas. By the end of the season, we arrived at our Conference Championship with experiences that had contributed into our unification as a team, who was ready to compete! We knew we had put the work in up to this point and that the outcome was out of our control, all we could do was give it our all each day and watch where the chips would fall. Or otherwise stated, watch the putts fall 😉 Sure enough the mission we established, goals we set and commitment to doing things the right way, paid off with a BIG WEST CONFERENCE WIN!
The First Tee has been instrumental in my own golf career, but more importantly has transcended beyond my own game to expand into impacting the lives of others. At the end of the day, golf is yet a platform, it does not determine our identity, but rather serves as a stepping stone as we look to live a life of integrity.