Golf and philanthropy
April 17, 2020

How you can help during the pandemic: Support charities that rely on golf

FedEx St. Jude Classic - Final Round

Stan Badz

Big hitter, the Dalai Lama, and wisdom is his go-to club. In the midst of a pandemic and the isolation it has engendered, we find his advice on happiness and helping those in need cogent in these trying times.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion,” he once wrote. “If you want yourself to be happy, practice compassion.”

Then there was this from the late educator, author and civil-rights leader Booker T. Washington, who in his autobiography “Up From Slavery” wrote, “I have found the happiest people are those who do the most for others.”

The game of golf these days largely has been decreed as nonessential, but as noted here it is not nonessential to those who depend on it for their livelihoods. Or the charities it supports.

Golf is the most benevolent of games, notably on the professional tour level, but no less importantly on the grassroots level. The PGA Tour and LPGA use their tournaments to generate funds for local charities. Professional golfers and their foundations often use golf as a fundraising mechanism.

Meanwhile, in communities across the country, schools, churches and businesses, as well as professional athletes and entertainers, host charity golf tournaments to raise money for various causes.

All these causes and those who depend on their fundraising efforts stand to take substantial hits from the isolation and nonessential businesses, including golf—professional and recreational.

So, in the spirit of compassion and doing more for others, and brightening your day and theirs in the process, here are some ways to give back and to do so in the realm of golf:

Professional golfers’ foundations: Google any prominent player’s name, past or present, and “foundation” and you’ll likely turn up results that often include ways to donate. Notah Begay III, for instance, and his NB3 Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund to help avoid a calamity in the Native American communities. Or Morgan Pressel and her Morgan & Friends Fight Cancer Tournament that annually raises more than $1 million.

GoFundMe.com accounts: Many golf clubs have opened accounts on behalf of their now unemployed caddies and other course personnel. One example: the Bandon Caddie Relief Fund. Its goal is 5,000 donors for 350 caddies. So far, it has raised nearly $150,000 from more than 1,200 donors.

PGA Tour and LPGA tournaments: Check a tournament website to find out the charities it supports. Earlier this year, the PGA Tour announced it has surpassed more than $3 billion in charitable giving. Last year alone, the Waste Management Phoenix Open contributed $13.2 million to charities. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the sole beneficiary of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (and the FedEx St. Jude Classic before it).

Military-support organizations: Several hold golf fundraisers, including the Semper Fi Fund that serves the combat wounded, ill and injured. It already has had supporting tournaments postponed because of the COVID-19.

Golf clubs and courses: See whether your clubs are doing anything charitable. For instance, Clubs Help Foundation has launched, “connecting golf and member clubs with local hospitals to activate a powerful network that provides critical resources and support for our frontline hospital workers.” Ernie Els is among those on board.

National golf associations: Two that come to mind are the PGA of America and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. The PGA of America has established the Golf Emergency Relief Fund. The GCSAA has a Disaster Relief Fund, founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, to help GCSAA members who suffered personal loss. It is doing so now on behalf of those affected by the pandemic.


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