Great River First Tee could get second chance

The Great River First Tee's officially closed its doors Tuesday due to lack of funding

Lack of funding has forced a local golf youth program to dissolve.

The Great River First Tee's officially closed its doors Tuesday as it's contract expired with its national chapter, The First Tee.

"It's a sad day for us we've been heavily invested in the program," Mark Christensen, Great River First Tee board president said.

Christensen is the board president of the Great River First Tee Chapter, an organization that teaches life skills to kids through the game of golf. But that teaching will now have to wait.

"For the past 18 months we have really operated on a very very shoe string type budget," Christensen said. "And have done most of our programming and executive work through volunteers and we're just not able to continue to do that anymore."

Without any local funding future golf programs are suspended but there is hope.

"When you see another nonprofit kind of fold under like that it really does kind of get you to sit up and think 'maybe we need to be looking at some things differently,' and we want to help them if we can, we certainly do," Chad Rogers, Kroc Center operations director said. "We want to be good community partners."

The Kroc Center has had two preliminary discussions with the regional representative of First Tee about possibly taking over operations for the organizations locally, but it's not that easy.

"We're not in the position at this time to take over the program," Rodgers said.

The Kroc Center is already seven months into its fiscal year and can't budget First Tee in right now. Still come October a new budget starts and that could include the golf program.

"We're hopeful that we can keep it within the community, we're hopeful that he Kroc Center will find us a desirable thing to have and talks are going so that's good," Christensen said.

If the Great River First Tee wants to continue programming on its own it needs to raise between $50,000 and $60,000 in donations.