Giving Back To the Community!
The First Tee of Augusta
Jill Brown | Executive Director
The First Tee of Augusta was established in 2001 as a junior golf and life skills learning center. The facility is staffed by a PGA professional, certified coaches, additional staff, trained volunteers and is located on 40 acres with a beautiful six hole golf course, a driving range and chipping green.
First Tee, an international youth development organization, introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young people through after school and in school programs. First Tee helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance.
Membership at The First Tee of Augusta is open to participants 7 to 18 years old and students are required to complete at least a one 8-week class each year to be an active member.
Jill Brown is the executive director of The First Tee of Augusta. Brown earned a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and an MBA from Augusta State University. Jill enjoyed a 15-year career as a Mechanical Engineer in Design Engineering and Long Range Planning at Westinghouse Savannah River Company, before joining The First Tee of Augusta.
She also developed and conducted many youth development and educational outreach activities throughout the community and as a Savannah River Site representative. She is married to Patrick Brown and is the mother of Bradley and Lauren Brown. She is not a golfer, but learning to play is on her bucket list! She loves trying new foods, grilling and spending time with her family and friends.
The Augusta chapter of First Tee is only one of many in network whose outreach stretches to young people in all 50 states, select international locations, on golf courses, in elementary schools and through other youth-serving organizations. Once enrolled, participants begin working toward completion of The First Tee’s progressive golf and life skills certification levels: Player, Par, Birdie, Eagle and Ace.
Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee Network has opened 200 learning facilities worldwide, established over 335 affiliate relationships with existing golf courses and introduced over 2.3 million young people to the game of golf.
For more information, visit www.thefirstteeaugusta.org.
Hot Ticket Item:
The Drive for Show, Rock Fore! Dough concert is set for April 3 at Evans Towne Center Park from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., 7016 Evans Town Center Boulevard Evans, GA.
Since 2005, artists have been donating their performances to Rock Fore! Dough to raise money for the First Tee of Augusta. Over the past 13 years, the annual Rock Fore! Dough concerts have brought in over $1.5 million.
Joe Stevenson, Show Producer with GlueStick Music attributes this success to many factors.
“First Tee has been able to raise over $1.5 million through the Rock Fore! Dough concerts for a number of reasons,” he says. “Most importantly, every artist that appears at Rock Fore! Dough is donating their time to the cause. Combining that with outstanding support from sponsors, vendors, volunteers and music fans in Augusta, those that live here as well as those visiting for the Masters, all of those things have made RFD stand out as such an amazing event year after year.”
This year, the 14th Annual Rock Fore! Dough features Scotty McCreery, Jordan Davis, DJ Rock, Shaun Piazza and “Jacket Jam.”
McCreery will bring his full band to a set following performances from Nashville up-and-comer Jordan Davis and Shaun Piazza. DJ Rock, stadium tour DJ for Luke Bryan, will be on stage to entertain crowds before and after sets.
The headlining set “Jacket Jam” will feature an all-star band of some of the greatest musicians Nashville has to offer. The “Jacket Jam” will be headed up by Jeff Marino. Marino, a Berklee College of Music alum, is also the bandleader and drummer for Darius Rucker. The rest of “Jacket Jam” is slated to include players from Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan’s bands.
Stevenson adds, “This year is special with the edition of the “Jacket Jam” featuring members of Darius, Lady A and Luke Bryan’s bands with special guests sitting in. It will be something people talk about for a long time.” All proceeds go to benefit The First Tee of Augusta.
Visit www.rockfourdough.com. or evanstownecenterpark.com.
Located east of Atlanta, you will find the hidden gem of the South-Lake Oconee. Complete with an abundance of Southern charm and picturesque lake views, you can easily spend a day relaxing in Lake Oconee by visiting Madison Town Park and Oconee National Forest or by strolling through the quaint shops of downtown Greensboro or boating on the pristine water. The area is recognized for its natural setting and water sports are always a hit, but everyone knows it’s really the world class golf that will put a smile on your face.
Whether you’re planning your annual golfing trip or simply looking for a quick getaway, Lake Oconee allows you to come together for the ultimate golf experience while enjoying the rewards of life along the shores of the lake.
Local Places to Play Golf
With six spectacular designs by five legendary architects, the courses at Reynolds Lake provides club members, residents and guests a unique and memorable experience. Bob Cupp’s trailblazing efforts of The Landing and The Preserve courses, Jack Nicklaus’ Great Waters course, Tom Fazio’s 27-hole National course, Rees Jones’ The Oconee course and Jim Engh’s Creek Club course offer a collection of six truly distinctive golf experiences all in one location.
Great Waters Golf Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee, 112 Plantation Drive, Eatonton, GA. Many titles long ago, Jack Nicklaus was cemented as an on-course legacy in golf history. Golfers who play his Great Waters course at Reynolds will confirm that his architectural skills represent another exceptional legacy. The dramatic signature layout of Great Waters, much of which winds among the tranquil coves of Lake Oconee no doubt placed Reynolds on the map when the course opened in 1992.
Great Waters begins with a parkland-style front nine, through rolling hills and thick forests. The gorgeous ninth hole is the first of the lake holes, as the water creeps in on the right side of the green. The back nine is a completely different experience with eight of the final nine holes touching the lake. For more information, visit www.reynoldslakeoconee.com.
The Landing Golf Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee, 1104 Landing Drive
Greensboro, GA. The Landing is the original golf course built that destined Lake Oconee to become a premier golf destination. The par-72 course, which plays to a maximum of 7,048 yards, was designed by award-winning architect Bob Cupp. It features a variety of holes that wind through naturally wooded areas and rolling hills, making the course enjoyable for players of all levels. For more information, visit www.reynoldslakeoconee.com.
The National Golf Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee. 1073 Plantation Lane, Greensboro, GA. This course has the impressive elevations, dense forests and breathtaking views that define the 27 holes at the National and the Tom Fazio design. The three nines are the Ridge, Bluff and the Cove. All are par 36 courses that can be combined to create 18 holes that play to a maximum of 7,034 yards from a choice of five sets of tees.
The National nines all feature hardwoods, pines and flowering wild dogwoods, as well as some of Lake Oconee’s most dramatic lakefront topography. Fairways wind up, down and around hilly, rolling terrain and lead to large, undulating greens. The National is also characterized by water features, with streams, ponds and Lake Oconee all coming into play. For more information, visit www.reynoldslakeoconee.com.
Where to Stay
Reynolds, Lake Oconee
1 Lake Oconee Trail, Greensboro, GA
Celebrate one of the biggest sporting events in the world in pure relaxation at The Ritz-Carlton. From rare culinary experiences, championship golf and a short drive to Augusta National Golf Club, stay like the pros and retreat to Lake Oconee for an over-the-top golfing getaway with luxe accommodations.
Set along 30 acres of shoreline and cradled by Georgia pines, The Ritz-Carlton is a place of peace, exploration and connection. The Ritz-Carlton offers plenty of opportunities to fill the time including: Five championship golf courses with 99 holes of golf, a sprawling spa with golf inspired treatments, lodge-inspired luxury cottages and a three-floor lake house. There are seven dining experiences including a steakhouse and BBQ butler.
Outdoor activities include fishing, kayaking and Schiller water bikes. Masters Week is all about celebrating with friends, indulging with one of a kind wines, cigars and high-end culinary offerings, and The Ritz-Carlton chefs and sommeliers have been working over a year to secure The Captain’s List to be at your fingertips. For more information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com.
The Farmhouse Inn at Hundred Acre Farm Bed and Breakfast,
1051 Meadow Lane, Madison, GA,
The Farmhouse Inn offers five private guest rooms and a two-bedroom cottage with all of the modern conveniences and comforts for a getaway. Experience all a farm has to offer with great birding, hiking, fishing and water activities nestled in beautiful historic Madison.
There is also a Red Barn Meeting Room, outdoor terrace and adjacent lawns that can be used for farm weddings, meetings, business retreats, family reunions and other events.
The Hundred Acre Farm has been naturally growing vegetables, fruit and their famous beautifully colored, free-range eggs for years.
Guests can look forward to a home grown, farm to table breakfast to include local meats, cheeses, honey and many other products from neighboring farms. Hundred Acre Farm takes pride in providing produce that is pesticide free and sustainably grown. A fun sight to see is their 130+ hen collection which are a mixture of Araucanas, Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks that produce a wide range of different colored large, high protein eggs. For more information, visit www.thefarmhouseinn.com.
Where to Eat
Cuscowilla. The Waterside Restaurant.
126 Cuscowilla Drive, Eatonton, GA
Perched on the banks of Lake Oconee, Cuscowilla offers unsurpassed culinary delights and an easy going atmosphere. Accessible by car, boat or foot, The Waterside Restaurant is locally recognized as one of the best restaurants on Lake Oconee and a splendid locale to relax and watch the sunset over shimmering waters. Although the golf course is private for members and their guests, the restaurant is open to the general public. Dining at Cuscowilla isn’t about a meal, it’s an experience. For more informatmion, call 706.484.2044 or visit www.cuscowilla.com.
Georgia Butts BBQ
1137 Lake Oconee Parkway, Eatonton, GA
Great BBQ in a restaurant overlooking Lake Oconee! You can even pull your boat up to dine. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pulled Pork, Brisket, Ribs, Whole Butts, Whole and Half Chickens, BBQ Wings, Smokey Chicken Breasts, Whole Hogs, Brunswick Stew, BBQ Beans, Slaw, Loaded Potato Salad, Chips and Sweet Tea. They also do catering. Call to Pre-Order for Pickup. For more information, visit www.visitlakeoconee.com.
The Silver Moon
1077 Greensboro Road, Eatonton, GA
Intimate, new American restaurant and bar serving steak and seafood in a casual, rustic setting. Great beer selection, cocktails and wine list. Live music. Casual and cozy! Be sure to come early because there’s usually a wait. The Silver Moon is the favorite neighborhood joint for Lake Oconee. The restaurant features comfort food and the food is made-to-order. They are famous for their fish and chips and creamy parmesan grits, but their steaks and seafood are other favorites. They feature a raw oyster and seafood bar on the weekends that can’t be missed as well as their homemade desserts! For more information, call 706-816-1678.
Ripe Thing Market
112 W. Broad St. Greensboro, GA
Ripe Thing Market serves only the freshest produce and the finest of products. They carry fresh veggies, fresh meats, jarred goods, eggs from local farmers and a great inventory of plants. Enjoy the open-air market in the warmer months, Boar’s Head sandwiches and homemade soups from the deli or maybe grab some Jittery Joe’s coffee. Fresh, local produce is always in season with a great variety to choose from. Lines of products include Red Mule, Way Better Snacks, Sweet Tea’s Olive Oil soap and they even have a line of Amish jams and jellies, of which you can usually find a free sample somewhere in the store. Best of all, you’ll always be greeted with a smiling and friendly staff. Ripe Thing has as good of a selection of organic/locavore products as similar markets in much larger towns. For more information, call 706-454-2155 or visit www.visitlakeoconee.com.
Sacred Heart Garden Festival. April 20-22.
Sacred Heart Cultural Center
Celebrate the advent of spring and help raise funds to support Sacred Heart with three days of entertainment, food and nature’s beauty for garden enthusiasts and friends! Historic Sacred Heart Cultural Center will be the focus for classic southern gardening during its annual Garden Festival on April 20, 21 and 22.
Preview: Garden Festival Tea
April 15 at 4:00 p.m. The gardens of Patty and Dan Blanton will open for guests to enjoy strolling through Japanese maples and vibrant landscaping. Pat Branning, will inform and entertain guests about Georgia and southern cooking at 5:00 p.m. Limited availability. Call for reservations: 706-826-4700.
Garden Festival Preview Party
Thursday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.
The evening premiere of the Sacred Heart Garden Festival features delectable cuisine, musical entertainment and the first viewing of extraordinary gardens and floral exhibits created by local garden professionals. Be among the first to purchase unique plants and garden accessories in the Garden Market!
Tickets: $75 per person
Includes Friday Night in the Garden ticket.
Garden Festival Hours
Friday, April 20, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 21, 9:00 AM – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 22, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information, visit www.sacredheartgardenfestival.com. or call 706-826-4700.
Article appears in the April 2018 issue of Augusta Magazine.