This week the PGA Tour will tee it up at the 57th FedEx St. Jude Classic, held at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee (a course we provide retrieval service for). Always a draw for strong players, the FedEx St. Jude Classic debuted in 1958 as the Memphis Open. In 1969, Danny Thomas agreed to lend his name to the Open in exchange for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital being the designated charity for the event. Since then, the tournament has contributed more than $14 million to the hospital, whose mission is to, “find cures for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases” at NO cost to families.
The FedEx St. Jude Classic is just one of a long line of PGA tournaments that support non-profit, charitable organizations. In fact, the vast majority of PGA Tour events are designed to contribute 100% of net profit to charity. The first official partnership between the PGA and a charity was recorded in 1938 at the Palm Beach Invitational; $10,000 was contributed to local organizations—an unprecedented action that has laid the groundwork for the PGA Tour to become the most generous professional sport in history.
In January 2014, the PGA announced that it has surpassed $2 billion in all-time charitable giving. The over 3000 charities that benefit from PGA Tour support vary widely, but two do stand out for their nationwide impact.
The First Tee is an amazing educational program established in 1997 by the World Golf Foundation. Created to, “impact the lives of young people by providing programs that build character, instill life enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf." To date, The First Tee has had more than 7.6 million kids participate—with a goal of 10 million by 2017—and operates programs in all 50 states. Contact The First Tee if you are interested in learning more or would like to donate or volunteer.
Another outstanding and far-reaching charitable program is Birdies for the Brave, a military outreach program founded in 2006 by Amy and Phil Mickelson. Originally, funds were raised each time Mickelson made a birdie or an eagle during PGA Tour events. Since then, Birdies for the Brave has significantly expanded its reach and through a variety of fundraising efforts, has contributed more than $13 million to homefront charities that provide critical programs and services to meet the needs of wounded warriors, as well as military families.
At LostGolfBalls.com we have created long-standing relationships with the Wounded Warrior Project, Texas Adaptive Aquatics and The ARC of Fort Bend County. To be able to help and serve these great organizations is something that we look forward to every time we are presented with an opportunity to do so.
If you would like to join the thousands of volunteers who generously contribute their time to support the great game of golf—and to support worthwhile charities nationwide—sign up to volunteer at a PGA Tour event near you!