Make Fundraisers Fun

Perry-GreenPerry Green, the 2010 Carolinas PGA Section Youth Player Development Award winner and founder and site director of LPGA/USGA Girls Golf of Charleston, is the PGA director of instruction at Wescott Golf Club in North Charleston, South Carolina.

As the founder and site director of the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf Chapter in Charleston, we need to raise funds to help provide for lunches and scholarships for our program, which runs for two weeks during the summer, one in June and one in July. Fundraising can be a burdensome process sometimes, so we quickly realized that to excite the surrounding community we needed to do something very different and very exciting. Thus, we created Golf Under the Stars, a two-player glow ball scramble over eight holes that are 120 yards or less that we’ve run at night twice a year since 2007. Each player is limited to two clubs plus their putter, with end-of-round prizes usually going to the top five child-child teams and top five adult-child teams. There’s also a closest-to-the-hole prize for each hole (usually golf balls). It’s become the source of 30 percent of our overall annual fundraising for Girls Golf, and an opportunity for the kids to make new friends while we fundraise in a way that’s anything but mundane.

The results have been fantastic. The event is capped at 64 participants, and usually we’re right around that number. Participating costs $35 for adults and $25 for kids 17 and under. Two things have been extremely beneficial: First, because it’s at night, we’re not taking away anyone’s tee time and consequently don’t need to allocate any funds towards green fees. That keeps more money in the program. Secondly, we’ve gotten great support from the surrounding courses, who offer the main prizes (free rounds of golf). Their professionals have gotten involved, which not only makes it a richer experience for them but ups the overall pot. Count in additional sponsors we’ve picked up, this year we have 11 at $200 each, and donations that help diffuse the cost and leave me with only $500 in expenses, and we wind up making between $3,000 and $4,000 each time. The end result: our Girls Golf Program, which boasts 35-55 girls annually, has the services they need to enjoy camp, work on their game (50 percent of participants subsequently play consistently, take lessons, and spend time around the course) and go onto bigger and better things. One thing we’re really proud of is that two surrounding high schools had a combined total of 29 girls on their girls golf teams this year. 24 came out of our Girls Golf program. That’s a success story.

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Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America.