AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – The First Tee of Augusta has been a driving force behind getting students active in the game of golf.

There are two women at the helm of the local program who have helped hundreds of students gain distance in more ways than one.

Since 2001, The First Tee of Augusta has built a reputation for developing young golfers through skill and technique.

But one visit to the 400 acre, six hole, course reveals there’s more to this place than meets the eye.

Program Director Lashunda Hall has been with The First Tee of Augusta for 12 years.

“One of the core values we that we teach here is STAR. Stop. Think. Anticipate. Respond. We teach that and we teach it in a way that they can either place it either on the golf course or away from the golf course” she explains.

Know simply as “Coach Lashunda,” she started at The First Tee of Augusta as an Operations Manager then worked her way up to helping put students in the right position for success in golf and life.

For her, it’s more than a game.

“The gratification I get is taking a child that’s never been exposed to the game of golf and literally setting the foundation for not just golf but the life skills and see them progress.”

Getting students up to par starts long before anyone steps on the course.

As Executive Director of The First Tee of Augusta, Jill Brown has been helping kids tee up to be their best for 16 years.

She says, “I came here not knowing anything about golf. I have enjoyed every single day. Every day is different. There’s fundraising. There’s summer camp. There’s maintenance. There’s all kinds of things but it’s a mixed bag of responsibilities but I have really enjoyed it and found it to be fulfilling work.”

She came to the program after working as a Mechanical Engineer at SRS.

Brown admittedly doesn’t play golf but is a key member of The First Tee of Augusta’s team designing programs that help students ace well beyond the course.

“It’s a place of life skills and coaching on all levels. There’s a lot that I’ve been able to learn from the kids and families in our program and a lot that I’ve been able to share,” she reflects.

That sharing keeps students, and The First Tee of Augusta, on course for success.