Celebrity Pro-Am

john-faidleyJohn Faidley, the tournament chairman and a board member for the Carolinas PGA Section, a member of The First Tee Board of Directors and a member of TaylorMade’s National Advisory Board, is the PGA head professional at Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In 2009, area clubs, along with Forsyth Country Club, “adopted” The First Tee of the Triad and held small fundraisers to benefit the organization. I had always wanted to run a first-class event and give back to the community, so I created a high-end celebrity pro-am to benefit our local First Tee chapter. I worked with my membership and sold sponsorships to the event and organized every detail. The pro-am has 130 participants in total, which includes 26 PGA Professionals and 26 celebrities paired together with 78 members and sponsors. The participants are fed breakfast each morning and lunch prepared by area restaurants during each round. We have two evening parties with dinner and open bar including outstanding entertainment. The 36-hole event begins with a pairings party on Sunday night followed by an auction party on Monday night. Cocktail receptions are held following each of the two tournament rounds on Monday and Tuesday. TaylorMade and Peter Millar have been excellent partners, supplying participant gift bags and prizes. We take care of our guests with complimentary accommodations for professionals and celebrities, and provide shuttle service to and from the hotel and club for both golf and evening functions. Celebrities’ travel arrangements and expenses are covered by the tournament with airport transfers and courtesy cars provided during their stay. Welcome baskets with items unique to Winston-Salem are placed in guests’ hotel rooms for their arrival. These items include wine from Childress Vineyard, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, beverages from Foothills Brewery and Moravian cookies.

The celebrity pro-am has been an absolute success for the community, our club and The First Tee of the Triad. The tournament has done an excellent job connecting our local First Tee chapter with the business community. The charity connection is very important to producing a world class event. If you will find a cause your membership embraces, the possibilities are limitless. Each year we are able to raise more than $100,000 for The First Tee of the Triad. This money allows our local chapter to improve their existing programs and extend their reach further into our community touching the lives of thousands of youth. My members love to participate and support the tournament and we get some high-profile celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment to play as well. Each year we have Grammy winners, Olympic athletes, All-Americans and Hall of Famers participate. All of the celebrities and my fellow PGA Professionals are eager and very happy to support The First Tee.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email johnfaidley@hotmail.com