FALMOUTH – One day a First Tee golfer might grow up to become a U.S. Amateur champion, a British Amateur champion or perhaps even PGA Tour commissioner, just like Deane Beman.

Beman, who summers in Kennebunkport, was at The Woodlands Club on Monday as honorary chairman of the second annual First Tee of Maine Invitational, which serves as the chief fundraiser for the program that teaches golf and life skills to boys and girls.

Each tournament participant received a copy of “Deane Beman: Golf’s Driving Force — The Inside Story of The Man Who Transformed Professional Golf Into a Billion-Dollar Business.”

The book was written by Adam Schupak, who collaborated with Beman, to tell the story of the growth and the success of the tour during Beman’s 20-year tenure, which started in 1974.

That success continues today with big crowds, strong sponsorship, charitable donations in communities where the PGA Tour visits and deep player fields that make for exciting tournaments.

Beman, 73, signed copies, played in the tournament and was the guest speaker at the evening banquet.

Beman was a champion golfer prior to becoming PGA Tour boss.

He won two U.S. Amateurs, one British Amateur and was a four-time tour winner.

Schupak, a former senior writer at Golfweek, approached Beman a few years ago about doing a book. Beman had also been thinking about a book, but had lined up a well-known business writer to do it.

When that writer died, the job was Schupak’s.

“I was only going to do this once,” said Beman. “I wanted the book to be historically important and credible.”

And the result?

“I’m pleased with the finished product and delighted with the feedback,” said Beman.

He is particularly proud of the fact that the book is being read by various sports organizations as a model of how to get things done.

“The president of U.S. Swimming told me he’s making it required reading for his regional heads,” he said.

When Beman took over the PGA Tour, tournament golf languished behind the other pro sports in terms of viewership and emphasis.

Jack Nicklaus was in the second decade of his reign as the game’s top player, but Arnold Palmer, the game’s other top star, was at the end of his run.

Less than 10 years into Beman’s leadership, it was Nicklaus and Palmer who met before the Bay Hill Classic in 1983 to talk about their displeasure with the way Beman was running things.

They felt the PGA Tour should handle only things like course setup, rules and tournament operations while leaving the securing of sponsorship to others.

Beman disagreed, believing the PGA Tour should be in control of all aspects of a tournament so the Tour could grow.

“Why not have everything under your control so that the rank and file players benefit, not just the superstars,” he said.

Beman won out. “We took a minor sport and made it a major one.”

Beman called the First Tee a great program because “it transfers the culture of golf to many people.”

A minuscule number of First Tee participants will go on to make golf their careers.

The majority will go into other professions while hopefully still enjoying the game.

The core values they learned from First Tee, such as honesty, integrity, responsibility and perseverance, will stay with them for the rest of the lives.

Jake Dremann, 15, of Falmouth, has been in the First Tee program since he was nine.

“I learned how to introduce myself in front of people,” said Dremann, citing one of the first things he learned.

Dremann said he has also become a better golfer and knows it’s a sport he will likely play for a long time.

Dave Cross, executive director of the Maine Golf Foundation, said that in just one year, the program in southern Maine has grown from 50 players to 335.

“Next year, we plan to add programs in Lewiston-Auburn, Bangor and in York County,” he said.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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Twitter: TomChardPPH