First Tee – Tucson was established in 2006 through the efforts of the Tucson Conquistadores, a local civic group established in 1962. The Conquistadores partnered with the PGA TOUR and the City of Tucson to bring the First Tee program to the Trini-Alvarez El Rio Golf Course.
The Conquistadores have raised millions for youth athletic programs in Southern Arizona, primarily through hosting PGA TOUR golf events.
The Tucson community boasts a long and successful history in junior golf. In fact, The Tucson Conquistadores was considered a pioneer in the development of junior golf when they partnered with the city of Tucson and volunteer golf professionals in the 1960s to provide youngsters free golf instruction and course privileges at municipal courses.* Thanks to the Tucson Conquistadores and their partnership with the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship**, First Tee – Tucson has taken this concept leaps forward.
Children from every corner of the community, especially underserved children, can be recruited and their needs accommodated. The Tucson Conquistadores grants funds to the program. First TEe -Tucson staff, coaches, and volunteers provide proven mentoring and life skills programs developed by First Tee headquarters.
The home of First Tee – Tucson is located at the city of Tucson’s Trini Alvarez-El Rio Golf Course, 1400 W. Speedway. The course enjoyed a $2.9 million renovation effort as the result of a partnership between the city, Tucson Conquistadores and First Tee with the PGA TOUR. Project funding sources included: $1.24 million in City monies; $841,000 from the Tucson Conquistadores; and in-kind contributions of $650,000 from First Tee and $150,000 from PGA TOUR Design Services.
Improvements also included making the facility more accessible for youth play. Additions included adding junior tees to each hole; adding three junior training holes on the driving range; and a junior practice area on the course. The Tucson Conquistadores built the First Tee of Tucson clubhouse which opened in October 2009.
* In 1990, the PGA TOUR recognized the Tucson Conquistadores with the Card Walker Award in recognition for significant contributions to the support of Junior Golf. This was the first time an organization, rather than an individual, was honored by the PGA TOUR.