Working With Charities

Kirk Stauffer, the 2004-06 Western New York PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities, is the PGA head professional at Pine Acres Country Club in Bradford, Pa.

In recent years, charity events have become a big part of our outings business. I’m here to help them in any way I can, so they can raise as much money as possible. Several of the charities I work with had previously worked with nearby clubs, and part of the reason they now hold their charity outings at our facility is that we make sure 100 percent of the sponsorship money goes to the charity (supporting a wide array of causes, both local and international). Some of the event coordinators told me that other facilities took some of the sponsorship money; in my view, I don’t even want to have anything to do with the charity money. That’s their business, while our job is to provide a great event, charging for entry fees and other service-related expenses. Also, when hosting charity outings, I’ve found it better to set up a cart with hamburgers and hotdogs rather than a more lavish (and thus more costly to the charity) meal. Most people don’t want to sit around; they want to arrive, play some golf, have a bite while talking to their friends and colleagues, and then leave. The charity might like the opportunity of a sit-down meal to show a presentation or something, but all too often I see people leave before the meal.

Every year we have around 45 outings, approximately 25 percent of which are charity events. Since we work with organizations of all sizes, from a local church to large non-profits like United Way or the Red Cross, these events range from 50 to 200 players. This amounts to a lot of extra rounds, as well as fantastic exposure to new golfers.