OAKMONT (KDKA) — A man who spent a career working as the assistant to Arnold Palmer will soon be the one in the spotlight.
It was nearly 20 years ago Palmer’s long-time assistant, Doc Giffin, first learned of the First Tee.
“They found a little spot on a public golf course,” Giffin said, “and they built a little clubhouse, and our company designed a little golf course, and that was one of the very first First Tee facilities in the country.”
The First Tee exposes kids to golf — often kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. They realized the lessons learned from the game teach critical life lessons, too.
“You keep your own score. You call penalties on yourself. You do a lot of things in golf that you don’t do in other sports,” Marc Field, of the First Tee of Pittsburgh, said. “So it’s really the perfect platform to teach kids things that are important off the golf course that they can learn on the golf course.”
Later this month, the First Tee of Pittsburgh will honor Giffin at its Tee It Forward event at the historic Oakmont Country Club.
“My involvement was mainly working with my old boss Arnold Palmer, getting these things done and providing this great support for the First Tee,” Giffin said, “and I was happy to do so, and I am going to continue to do so even though I am in retirement now.”
Giffin did a lot to help Pittsburgh’s First Tee.
“He’s been really the fellow who has made everything happen for us in terms of connecting our kids with Mr. Palmer and providing all kinds of opportunities that never would have been open to us,” Field said.
It’s fitting how Giffin embodies many of the same virtues taught by the First Tee to youngsters every day.
“Talk about honesty and integrity and all those attributes,” Field said. “Doc was a guy– if he said it was going to happen, it happened.”