About Charity Golf Tournaments

By Garry Smits

Golf has developed into one the most popular vehicles among all sports to raise money for charity. The reason is simple--since golf can be played by all ages and ability levels and by both men and women, there are more opportunities for charitable organizations to raise money through golf, since the potential number of participants is greater.

Where to Find a Charity Tournament

Almost every golf club hosts charity golf tournaments, especially private clubs on Mondays, the day those clubs normally close to members. The courses themselves will usually have fliers or posters advancing the tournament. Local newspapers often have golf calendars, which list the various charitable events. Websites of charities also promote the tournaments. Almost all charity tournaments are associated with 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Financial statements are available through the tournament officials or websites (see Resources), so players can make sure the tournaments have a history of operating in an ethical manner.

Why Play in a Charity Tournament?

Most people play in a charity golf tournament because they see it as an easy and fun way to support a cause in which they believe. Some charities conduct tournaments on a national level, picking a particular day and sponsoring dozens of tournaments. An example of this is the PGA Tour's "Birdies for the Brave" charity, which raises money for military support groups. Tournaments are held at more than two dozen Tournament Players Clubs, which are owned and/or operated by the Tour. People also play in charity tournaments because it's one way in which they can play private or high-end resort courses without being members.

How Much Do Charity Tournaments Cost?

Depending on the course and the charity, the cost can range from thousands of dollars per player or foursome, to as little as $75 per player. The entry fee is usually tax-deductible and upon request, a tournament will supply documentation for tax purposes. Entry fees will include the cost of playing the golf course. cart fees, lunch and/or dinner, on-course beverages and gifts that can range from a golf shirt or hat to a golf bag or a driver.

What is the Format?

The format for the vast majority of charity tournaments is a scramble or "Captain's Choice." Each player in a group (usually a foursome, but some charities have teams of five or six players) tees off. The best drive is selected and the other players retrieve their balls and hit from the general area of the best drive. The best shot of the group is then selected again and the process repeats until the group holes out a putt. It is thought to be a less time-consuming format, but that's not always the case, especially if a tournament is popular enough to draw more than 18 teams.

About The Author

Garry Smits has covered the PGA Tour and professional and amateur golf since 1995 for the "Florida Times-Union" in Jacksonville. He has earned 29 local, state and national writing and editing awards, including six from the Golf Writers Association of America.

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