Please join Greater Charlotte in welcoming our brand new Program Coordinator – Brittnay Cross! We are beyond thrilled to have Brittnay join of the programming team. She has an extensive coaching background along with the administrative skills to successfully coordinate our 8 programming locations (among many other tasks!). Brittnay may be new to our office, but she is not at all new to The First Tee. Get to know her story here….
Brittnay, talk about when and why you started playing golf.
I didn’t start taking up golf until I was about 14 years old. A little late, but better late than never! My parents actually briefly introduced me to the game when I was around 8 but my sights had been set on playing other sports and being around friends. Looking back at it, I wish I gave it more of a chance! When I was 14, right before my freshman year of high school, my family moved from the Bay Area (California) to Sacramento, CA which was a couple hours away. Given that I was new to the area, I didn’t know anyone. My parents suggested (like they do) that I dust off my clubs and “try out” this organization called The First Tee of Sacramento. The thought behind it was that I would meet some people and maybe learn to really play golf….It did WAY more than that for me. It was here (The First Tee of Sacramento) where I became hooked on golf, met some of my best friends, and really developed an appreciation for the mission of The First Tee.
You obviously have a passion for the game. Was there ever a time when you wanted to quit?
As a junior golfer there were definitely a few times where I wanted to quit. For me golf was a very frustrating, it was one of those sports that just didn’t come easy for me. And whether I realized it or not at the time, golf taught me the value of perseverance. I couldn’t help but to stick with it. I wanted to get better regardless of how much I needed to practice. I was either stubborn or just plain addicted!
Talk about your decision to play at the collegiate level. Was it always a goal for you to play collegiate golf? What was that experience like?
My decision, or rather desire, to play at the college level happened shortly after I started playing golf. My ultimate goal was to get a scholarship and become a collegiate athlete. I knew that if I wanted to go to college I was going to need some (financial) help getting there. I consider myself very lucky because that help came in the form of the one sport I loved to play…Golf! I was also fortunate enough to receive direct help from the First Tee to help pay for college.
Talk about your experience being a First Tee participant in California?
Incredible! I absolutely loved every minute of my time spent in The First Tee of Greater Sacramento. I met some awesome people and the coaches were some of the most dedicated and passionate people I had ever been around. It wasn’t just the game that brought me out to the course, it was the coaches too! During my time at The First Tee, I was not only a participant, I was also a volunteer and employee. I had the privilege of seeing the organization from both sides. As a participant, I was fortunate enough to attend The First Tee Golf and Life Skills Academy at Kansas State University. I participated in the local junior golf tour, and volunteered for various junior golf programs carried out by The First Tee.
How has The First Tee evolved since you were a participant?
The First Tee has grown immensely since I completed the program! When I was a participant, I believe there were only three certification levels: Par, Birdie, and Eagle. There is way more community involvement and outreach being carried out since the time I went through the program. It’s a great feeling to see where The First Tee has come and think: “Wow, how lucky am I to be a part of this!?”
Describe a time or moment when you were teaching that made an impact on you.
I had been working with this beginner junior golfer for quite a while in a clinic setting on and off for about a year or so. For me as a coach, to see him develop all the skills over time was exciting, but the defining moment that I still think about to this day was when his mother came to me after class and thanked me. She said that since taking up golf, he was getting better reports from his teachers and his grades were going up. For me, it’s not just about the satisfaction of seeing the juniors play better golf, it’s about seeing them grow and become better people.
Why do you think it’s important for girls to play sports? In what ways do you want grow our chapter’s number of girls?
I think it’s very important for girls to play sports! I think there is still a lingering social stigma that girls don’t or shouldn’t play sports because “it’s what boys do”. For girls, sports are a great way to meet other girls that share a common interest. As far as growth goes for the number of girls at our chapter, my hope is to grow the LPGA-USGA Girl’s Golf program into something that girls want all year long. Along with that, it is my hope that we will increase our number of female volunteers and coaches to serve as direct role models to our young girls.
Ok, fun stuff now…
1. Putter or Driver? Driver. For sure.
2. Quail Hollow or Charlotte Country Club? Quail Hollow. I have never played Charlotte Country Club.
3. What Tees? White
4. Tennis shoes or heels? Tennis Shoes all the way!! To be honest, I don’t even own heels. Can’t handle them.
5. Jordan or Rory? Rory.
In the short time you’ve been with The First Tee of Greater Charlotte, what makes you come to work every day?
Being able to see how much fun the kids have here and knowing that I am a part of an organization that is making a positive change.