The PGA Tour takes every opportunity to tout its charitable endeavors, and rightly so. In 2005 the Tour surpassed $1 billion – that’s billion, with a “b” – in all-time contributions, and aims to cross the $2 billion barrier by 2014.
And to think, it all started in 1938 with a modest $10,000 check from the Palm Beach Invitational.
The Tour, which operates as a non-profit organization, now generates $100 million-plus each year for some 3,000 charities worldwide. The primary beneficiaries are charities located in or near tournament host cities. Since most tournaments are set up as non-profits, all proceeds after expenses are donated to charities.
But money raised by the world’s premier men’s pro golf circuit is just a slice of the overall pie. According to one study, the game’s charitable contributions at all levels reach an incredible $3.5 billion per year in the U.S. alone.
Outside the pro tours – including the Champions, Web.com and LPGA tours – golf drives huge sums to charity through some 150,000 local and regional tournaments and events held annually.
So where does all that money go? Name the cause, and golf likely funds it.
Children’s hospitals are a major beneficiary; for example, St. Jude (Memphis) and Shriners (Las Vegas) earn title recognition at PGA Tour events. Other donations are directed toward cancer research, education initiatives, aid for military families, environmental organizations and disaster relief, to name just a handful of causes.
Many professional golfers devote considerable time to charitable endeavors, while the PGA Tour Wives Association conducts extensive outreach through fundraising and volunteer efforts. In addition, some pros have their own foundations dedicated to helping others. For example, the Tiger Woods Foundation provides educational opportunities for underprivileged kids; the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation pursues a similar purpose.
It’s nice to know the game you love gives back so much, isn’t it?