The primary objective of the Certification Process is to ensure that participants have been exposed to core lesson material and understand concepts and skills presented. Certification testing is an opportunity to reinforce those concepts. The process is designed to provide additional assistance to those who need help in certain areas while advancing other students to the next level to acquire further life skills instruction.

The First Tee Certification Process has four major elements: completion of golf and life skills lessons, the playing requirement, the short written test, and the instructor evaluation. If a participant is having difficulty with any of these elements, instructors will help review the material and let him or her try again. Each of the testing and evaluation forms state the specific score required to pass the golf and life skills sections at the Par and Birdie levels.


At each program level, participants will complete a minimum of six life skills lessons and six golf skills lessons. For life skills, the requirement is to complete the core lesson material. Completion of optional topics and activities are a plus, but are not mandatory. If any participant misses a core lesson, the material must be made up, either through one-on-one instruction or a makeup class, before he or she undergoes certification testing and evaluation.

Playing Requirement

At each level, participants will play a certain number of posted rounds on a Chapter course – one round at the Par level and five rounds at the Birdie level – and bring their scorecards to their evaluation. In addition, at the Birdie level, participants will play a nine-hole putting course to demonstrate basic putting skills. Instructors observe some of these rounds to ensure that the player negotiates the course expeditiously and in accordance with basic rules, etiquette, and safety guidelines. At the Birdie level, participants also will complete a chipping and pitching drill.

Written Test

For life skills and golf skills, each participant is given a short written evaluation consisting of true-false and matching questions. Where possible, instructors will administer the evaluation for golf skills and life skills at the same time.

Instructor Evaluation The instructor evaluation is a one-on-one interview in which the instructor watches the participant demonstrate a life or golf skill or talks with the participant about life skills concepts. For the Birdie level, instructors check participants’ Yardage Books to make sure they have competed goal-setting activities.

Testing and evaluation for life and golf skills are done concurrently, so participants understand that their life skills are as important, if not more so, than their golf skills.