Giving back goes beyond the golf course
At tournament stops across the country, the PGA TOUR brings financial and economic support to local communities — and some pretty good golf, writes Andy Pazder, its chief tournament and competitions officer.
‘Viewpoints’ invites guest authors from outside of Wells Fargo to share an important perspective related to their work. Today, we welcome Andy Pazder, chief tournament and competitions officer for the PGA TOUR.
Giving back is part of the fabric of the PGA TOUR. From our tournaments and sponsors to the players and volunteers, charity has long been a hallmark of the PGA TOUR’s image and reputation. It is fully ingrained into the structure and mindset of the entire organization.
No other professional sports league compares to what the PGA TOUR does each year in this regard. In 2017, the PGA TOUR and its tournaments established a new record by generating $180 million for charity, raising the Tour’s all-time donation total to $2.56 billion. And that total doesn’t even account for the charitable foundations and initiatives of our players, estimated to be an additional $35 million annually.
A wide array of organizations receive support from our tournaments, including hospitals and shelters, educational institutions and groups that support youth and senior citizens, organizations that support our military and their families, and those that care for women and children in need.
"A golf tournament encompasses a single week, but its impact can last an entire year."
Making a social investment by helping others
A golf tournament encompasses a single week, but its impact can last an entire year. From pumping millions of dollars into the local economy to generating significant charitable contributions, Tour events contribute a number of benefits in each host community.
Our tens of thousands of tournament volunteers help alleviate the host organization’s financial burden of hiring personnel to operate so many aspects of a tournament. The volunteer experience is such that many people volunteer for a tournament for several years, if not decades, with the recurring payback being the satisfaction of supporting an event that has such a powerful impact on their own community.
Community support is very important to the PGA TOUR; it is a value that allows our tournaments to draw a strong volunteer base each year. This, in turn, helps fortify each community’s “ownership” of its tournament and elevates the sense of pride by helping local charitable organizations.
Our collective commitment to giving back also is an essential reason that corporations choose to partner with the PGA TOUR and our tournaments. Sponsors like Wells Fargo recognize the business value of associating with the Tour, including the quality of audience, worldwide brand exposure, business development opportunities, and the positive image of our sport. But they also share our values and our commitment to helping those in need.
Virtually all tournaments on the PGA TOUR are operated by nonprofit organizations, with net proceeds from the tournaments going to charity. The Wells Fargo Championship, for instance, is operated by the Champions for Education. Thanks to everyone involved, the Wells Fargo Championship’s total charitable contributions have exceeded $20 million since its inaugural year on the PGA TOUR in 2003.
Even in 2017, with the tournament’s temporary relocation to Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina, nearly $800,000 was donated to charitable organizations in that community, with The First Tee of Wilmington the primary beneficiary. We’re excited to return “home” this year to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, which has been such a tremendous host since the tournament’s debut 15 years ago. It’s worth noting, too, that the tournament’s estimated annual economic impact on the Charlotte area is between $40 and $60 million.
We take tremendous pride in the positive impact the PGA TOUR makes throughout the year. The dollar amounts generated by tournaments for charity are staggering. But more important is the very real impact those donations — no matter the amount — make on individual lives.
It’s a familiar scene that plays out in tournament cities throughout the country, be it Charlotte, Phoenix, Dallas, or Los Angeles: the dedicated efforts of so many making a very real difference for so many more.
Without question, our tournaments and their volunteers are proving that their hearts are with the communities in which they live and play, now more than ever. The proof is in the numbers.