The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The First Tee of Raritan Valley have partnered to bring a nationally recognized program for young golfers to Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth this year beginning in April. The First Tee of Raritan Valley will provide classes and camps for young participants, ages 6-18.

"The Galloping Hill Golf Course provides one of the best environments for The First Tee program or for developing your game," said Freeholder Chairman Daniel Sullivan. "The facility has been rebuilt by the Department of Parks and Community Renewal to include both a public and private driving range, a practice hole, putting greens, practice bunkers, a topnotch 9-hole executive course and an 18-hole championship course to challenge everyone."

The First Tee program has come a long way since its establishment by the World Golf Foundation in 1997. What started as an initiative to create affordable access for those not previously exposed to the game of golf has become a leading youth development organization. Participants in The First Tee Program can participate in state and regional tournaments, academies, camps, and special events.

While teaching life skills and character education through the game of golf, The First Tee is having a positive impact on participants, families, and communities. Through this experience, participants learn to apply life skills and transfer the positive values of golf to everyday life.

The First Tee Life Skills Experience is divided into certification levels, starting with "Player" for young beginners, progressing to "Par," "Birdie," "Eagle," and "Ace." Each level is taught with a variety of golf skills. This year, The First Tee program will provide participants access to two local professional golf events to include the Barclays at Ridgewood and the Sybase Classic at Hamilton Farms.

The First Tee of Raritan Valley is currently seeking participants and volunteers to help kick off the 2010 season. The cost of The First Tee program is only $75 per student for each 6-week season, $50 for the second child, and $25 for the third child. This spring the program offers an early bird special for all three seasons (spring, summer, and fall) for only $150. Financial aide is also available for any family needing assistance.

To get involved in The First Tee program please call The First Tee of Raritan Valley, Executive Director - Mike Blackwell at (732) 247-0819 or visit the web site at Mike can also be reached via email at

The Galloping Hill Golf Learning Facility is conveniently located along the Garden State Parkway at Exit 138, or at 1 Golf Drive, Kenilworth, NJ 07033. For more information about Galloping Hill Golf Course, please call (908) 686-1556.