We visit the 9 Core Values luncheon for First Tee of Greater Austin for three core reasons.
First, to learn more about First Tee of Greater Austin, which teaches character while training kids to play golf. Since 1997, more then 10 million youths have gone through the original program, which partners with LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, the PGA Tour and USGA.
Second, to find out more about the sport, which I don’t play or watch. (I do, however, love golf courses and clubhouses.) On this occasion at the Hyatt Regency Austin’s smaller banquet room, we heard avuncular radio personality Ed Clements he interviewed PGA marketing guru Ty M. Votow from the stage. He talked about bringing the game to the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro and about the upcoming WGC-Dell Match Play. (Great timing for First Tee!)
Third, to honor outstanding Austinites who, according to an outside panel of judges, exemplify the group’s 9 Core Values. It was gratifying, for instance, to applaud Texas Tribune founder Evan Smith for Integrity and Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty for Honesty. This, despite the current public opinion of the media and politicians.
It did not surprise us that Con Mi Madre leader Teresa Granillo would win for Confidence or that Mark Kiester, recently retired from Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, would be honored for Philanthropic Leadership (not one of the values, but a welcome award nonetheless.
No one would argue that Sharon Watkins, hospitable owner of Chez Zee eatery and cultural backer, doesn’t deserve the Courtesy Award. Much-admired retired Judge Wilford Flowers aptly won the Judgement Award and Gilbert Tuhabonye, who escaped genocide in his native Burundi to found Gilbert’s Gazelles, was lionized for Perseverance. Former neighbor and much-admired musician Darden Smith was recognized for Responsibility.
Now up until this point in the ceremony, all the honorees had been subjects and sources for this column. Some had been profiled in this space. Yet the final two, Darren K. Roberts (Sportsmanship) and Ann Howard (Respect) are still somewhat new to me. I can sense two more profiles in our near future.