Golf is a major factor in charitable giving in the United States — to the tune of nearly $4 billion a year. In Michigan, I think it would be possible to attend a charitable outing five days a week, raising money for everything from kids sports teams to helping a family pay medical bills to funding established organizations.
Every PGA TOUR event is fronted by a non-profit organization, and is conducted for the benefit of one or more charities. Individual players also have their own charitable organizations.
I was struck today by a tweet sent out by the PGA TOUR showing video of the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation organizing the distribution of five thousand holiday meals for food insecure children. As a 30-year high school teacher, I have a soft spot for people who help out kids. There are more than you can imagine for whom a school lunch is their one good meal each day.
This is what the holiday season is all about! ❤️— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) December 25, 2021
Earlier this month, @jimfuryk and Tabitha helped pack 5,000 holiday meals for at risk children in their home of Jacksonville, Florida. pic.twitter.com/JhAON9wZas
For some pro golfers, I suspect the charitable work is either for tax purposes or publicity. The Furyks, though, seem to have gone all-in for the Jacksonville area. The Foundation has a Champions Tour Golf Tournament (Furyk and Friends), an annual charity concert and has run celebrity outings. The Furyks seem to be doing a good job leveraging Jim’s (relative) fame and connections while also doing the roll-up-the-sleeves work.
The Nicklaus family is another that has spent a great deal of time on charitable efforts. I had a brief conversation with Mr. Nicklaus a couple of years ago where he said that Barbara had spent all her time supporting him during his playing career; now that it was over, he intended to spend his time supporting her interest in charities.
This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. As noted above, golf generates nearly $4 billion in charitable giving annually. Boyne Golf in Michigan raised $110,000 for local charities this past year. My home course, Washtenaw Golf Club, hosts several charitable outings each year, including the Washtenaw Golf Club Charity Classic, which raises money for Folds of Honor.
I am certain that there are many others doing similar good work, and kudos to them. If you know of others that deserve a shout-out for their hands-on charitable efforts, let me know in the comments.