Congratulation to our First Tee Participants Jennifer Matthews and Shawn Parker Jr who were selected to receive the 2021 Arnold Palmer Scholarship!


For Immediate Release: June 30, 2021

First Tee-Central Arkansas and the Arkansas State Golf Association are pleased to announce the award winners of the newly established Arnold Palmer Scholarship. The recipients and their colleges of choice are:

  • Madison Holmes, Paragould High School, University of Central Arkansas
  • Jennifer Matthews, The Education Alliance, Harding University
  • Shawn Parker, Jr., North Little Rock High School, Hendrix College
  • Andrew Gaspard, Bryant High School, Hendrix College

Following the very successful 2019 Arnold Palmer Cup matches held at The Alotian Club in Roland, AR, the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation, together with four members of The Alotian Club, established a scholarship program for recipients to be selected by the Arkansas State Golf Association (ASGA) and the First Tee of Central Arkansas.

Monica Blake, Executive Director of The First Tee, stated “It was an honor to conduct video interviews of these great young people along with board members of the ASGA. We unanimously agreed that each of the recipients has proven themselves to be worthy of this scholarship through their accomplishments in and out of the classroom. And they also exhibited in a live interview that they are the types of people that will carry themselves in a way on and off the golf course that would make Mr. Palmer himself most proud.”

“My mom and dad were dedicated to supporting youth, and they would be proud to know that the Arnold Palmer Cup was helping to further the education of these fine young men and women,” said Amy Palmer Saunders, Chair of the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation. “Working together, Warren Stephens and everyone at The Alotian Club, the ASGA, First Tee of Central Arkansas and our Foundation supporters have made a real difference, and I couldn’t be more grateful or more excited for these students as they move forward in their lives.”

Warren Stephens, founder of The Alotian Club, added “It was an honor to host the Arnold Palmer Cup and I know Mr. Palmer would be proud of these recipients as are we.”

Representatives of the ASGA and First Tee of Central Arkansas completed the process of reviewing all the applications and conducting interviews to award the scholarships on the basis of character, leadership qualities, scholastic achievement, golf activities, and other criteria. Two males and two females will be awarded a one-year Arnold Palmer Scholarship of $5,000 each over a 10-year period. The recipients must be accepted into an accredited college or university in Arkansas.

The Arkansas State Golf Association (ASGA) is a non-profit 501(c)3 association with over 10,000 individual members and 126 member clubs. Through the ASGA programs, the association has had the ability to touch the lives of many golfers of all ages and skill levels in the state of Arkansas. In addition to the Arnold Palmer Scholarship, the ASGA scholarship program alone has provided over $500,000 in scholarship dollars to young men and women since its inception.

Through The First Tee of Central Arkansas, children aged 5 to 17 are provided with year-round access to a state-of-the-art facility and Life Skills Experience.  The First Tee’s Life Skills Experience provides age-appropriate programming that introduces Nine Core Values and Nine Healthy Habits.  The Nine Core Values include honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, courtesy, sportsmanship, confidence, judgment, and perseverance.  These values are essential for young people to make positive choices and overcome challenges across all areas of their lives.  Additionally, concepts around healthy choices (Nine Healthy Habits) reinforce the importance of physical, social, and emotional wellness.

The Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation champions the Palmer family’s philanthropic legacy through grantmaking and initiatives, supporting efforts on behalf of youth character development, children’s health, and a commitment to nature and its ability to enrich and heal us.

The Arnold Palmer Cup is a co-ed, Ryder Cup-style tournament that pits the top university/college golfers from the United States against a team of internationals. Played on some of the world’s greatest courses since its 1997 debut, the tournament is supported by the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation and its partners, Rolex and Nike, in the Foundation’s commitment to youth character development and to the growth of amateur/collegiate golf.