JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
First Tee and The Players celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the links Monday.
Both organizations are working together to bring increased access and diversity to the game of golf in neighborhoods that might not otherwise see it.
Together, the organizations are starting “Rising Leaders of Jax’” and partnering with Duval County Public Schools to let 30 middle school students in Brentwood be part of a one-year golf program at the Brentwood Municipal Golf Course.
Mombo Ngu grew up in Brentwood and was part of First Tee several years ago.
“When I started the program, I was looking at the time. Ready to go home,” she said. “But over time I fell in love.”
While she was in the program, she learned more than just golf skills.
She acquired leadership, respect and courtesy, which she brought with her past the 18th hole.
Now, Ngu is a sophomore pre-med student at the University of Florida. She’s also a coach with First Tee, hoping other students will follow in her path.
“Those opportunities of being able to go to college. But also learn something new and overcome those challenges — that’s something not many people have access to.”
Monday’s Open House at Brentwood Golf Course is also the kickoff to 50 days before The Players Cup.
First Tee started in 2001 and continues to grow. Last year, they trained more than 100,000 kids across north Florida.