The game of golf gives back in a myriad of ways. For individuals it can be a relaxation tool, healing tool, or something to satisfy their competitive drive. Companies use the game to reward employees through tournaments (usually equates to a paid day off) or providing golf trips as incentives. One of the most visible ways golf gives back is through charitable contributions. These contributions come from a wide variety of angles. Some charities use golf as a way to raise money through fundraising tournaments and the accompanying auctions. Other charities are focused on golf and what it can do for those involved with the game. A perfect example of this is PGA Professional Jim Estes and his Salute Military Golf Association (https://www.smga.org/).
At Ranken Jordan the golf program is used multiple ways. As I regularly discuss on this blog it is obviously a healing tool for the kids. Whether the game is incorporated into their actual therapy, it is a reward for completing their therapy or schoolwork, or it is simply a fun diversion for the kids while they're at the hospital, the game helps them get better. Golf is also used to help raise awareness of the hospital and the incredible work done there. What better way to illustrate their "care beyond the bedside" model than to talk about and show pictures of the kids playing golf?!?!
Yesterday on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio, Will Haskett (http://willhaskett.com/) focused 2 hours of his show on giving through golf. During his show he was kind enough to mention the junior golf program at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. Stealing Will's idea, I want to highlight a few different charities or events that use golf to do incredible work.
Folds of Honor Foundation (https://www.foldsofhonor.org/): When you stand together with Major Dan Rooney, Major Ed Pulido, and the entire Folds of Honor Family, you help provide scholarships and assistance to the spouses and children of those killed or disabled in service to America.
PGA REACH (http://www.gatewaypga.org/pgareach): Founded locally by the Gateway PGA Foundation, the PGA of America, and the St. Louis golf community, PGA REACH secures, supports, and extends the reach of proven local organizations which offer focused activities to youth in the St. Louis area.
Brian Gay Invitational (http://briangayinvitational.org/): The Brian Gay Invitational presented by Diamond Resorts International®
is a best in class celebrity/amateur golf tournament that returned to Mystic
Dunes Resort & Golf Club in Celebration, Florida on December 12-14,
2014. Last Year $410,000 was raised for The Walt Disney Pavilion at the
Florida Hospital for Children (FHFC) in Orlando, Florida to support the
hospital in its vital life-saving mission.
Birdies for the Brave (http://birdiesforthebrave.org/): Birdies for the Brave was originally created in 2006 by PGA
TOUR player, Phil Mickelson, and his wife, Amy, to support
combat-wounded veterans. The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted the program,
and expanded it to include a wide variety of military outreach and
appreciation activities during PGA TOUR events, as well as a seriers of
fundraising events conducted at the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Players Clubs
(TPCs) and partner courses across the nation – an effort that has raised
more than $11 million for non-profit military homefront groups that are
supported by PGA TOUR players, which provide direct support to military
members, veterans, and their families ranging from financial aid,
rehabilitation services, counseling and housing to educational
scholarships and career development.
Hi5 Sports (http://www.hi5sports.org/): Hi5 Sports is based in
Clifton Park N.Y. and provides an environment which allows people
with special needs to build self-esteem, confidence, and friendships
through sports by providing opportunities to socialize, compete, and
exercise both their motor and life skills.
The First Tee (http://www.thefirsttee.org/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp): The First Tee is an international youth development organization
introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people.
Through after school and in school programs, they help shape the lives of
young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like
integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf.
Obviously these charities are a very small sampling of ways golf can and does give back. The PGA Tour alone has raised in excess of $2 billion for charity. Chances are any charity or cause that is close to your heart has been helped in some way by the game of golf. When I repeatedly say in various posts on this blog that golf improves lives and is a healing tool, these charities are prime examples of that. The game heals in many ways and touches lives in ways that many would not suspect. As you are making your New Year's resolutions why not include one that has you getting more involved with a charitable golf tournament or event. After all, there are worse ways to spend a day than at a golf course enjoying the sunshine and helping others at the same time!