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Monday, May 27, 2013

A Visit From the President, Vice-President, & Secretary

St. Louis and its love for sports was once again well represented by an exciting 2013 Senior PGA Championship played at Bellerive Country Club.  The city and surrounding communities turned out in record numbers to support the tournament and all of the participants.  St. Louis has long been known as the best baseball city in the country but the people here also have an indisputable passion for all sports.  The support this golf tournament received was no surprise just as the support shown to the St. Louis community from those involved in the tournament was no surprise.

PGA President Ted Bishop jumps in and offers a quick tip
 As I have referenced several times through the posts on this blog, charities play a central role in many golf events played every year.  These events range from small, local events that may raise several hundred dollars to a professional event that may contribute over $10 million each year.  You can easily find stories all over the internet and the charities section on the PGA Tour website does a great job documenting just how much charitable money is raised each week.  However one level of support goes unnoticed and unreported.

Each week many players and tournament officials spend time conducting clinics, visiting schools, or spending time with patients at local hospitals.  If you read the last post on the blog you learned that early in the week of the Senior PGA Championship Ranken Jordan had a visit from 1987 U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson.  You may also have seen this story reported on the Fox 2 or KSDK-TV 5 news here in St. Louis.  What wasn't reported was the visit Ranken Jordan had on Friday of the golf tournament.  This visit was from the three officers of the PGA of America:  President Ted Bishop, Vice-President Derek Sprague, and Secretary Paul Levy.

Paul Levy, Ted Bishop, Lauri Tanner, Kevin Corn, & Derek Sprague with Deontay & Patrick
Anyone who has played golf knows there is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work that goes into running a successful golf tournament.  While the PGA of America has a staff dedicated to running their events, the officers have a great deal of responsibility before and during the week of the championship.  Even with all of the responsibilities and demands on their time, Mr. Bishop, Mr. Sprague, and Mr. Levy still found time to visit Ranken Jordan, work with the kids, and tour the hospital.  Almost immediately upon arriving at the hospital they dove right in and began sharing their knowledge of the game with the kids.  After working with the kids, spending time getting to know them a little bit, and giving out golf balls and hats, they went on a tour of the hospital led by Lauri Tanner, President & CEO at Ranken Jordan.  Their 90 minute visit left them amazed at the work done by Ranken Jordan and impressed with the way the kids can hit a golf ball!

PGA Vice-President Derek Sprague offering swing tips while Kevin Corn, PGA, looks on and PGA President Ted Bishop poses for a picture in the background

These visits are often the level of involvement that is not discussed or reported.  I wanted to highlight it because it shows the generous nature of these three gentlemen and also begins to illustrate that it doesn't always take money to improve what a charitable organization provides.  These three men gave an hour and a half of their time to bring smiles to the faces of these kids and tell the staff "thank you" for the work they do on a daily basis.  Every week I see the value of simply spending time with the kids and doing the "little things" that help them simply be kids.  Financial contributions are critical to providing the facility and ability to be able to take care of the kids who so badly need what Ranken Jordan offers them.  But our weekly golf clinics, and the visits from Scott Simpson and the PGA's President, Vice-President, and Secretary, perfectly illustrate how critical volunteer time is and the positive effects of what the game of golf can give these kids.

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