It’s May, and in the Coachella Valley, that means golf courses are turning to charity golf tournaments.
The desert is teeming with charity golf events much of the year, but in winter and spring it can be difficult for a charity event to find space on busy golf courses to make money at the strongest of the season. But in May, many golf courses find it easier to hold a charity tournament and close their courses for a day since the February or March play pressure has eased as the snowbirds leave the desert.
Desert golf and charity have gone hand in hand since 1960, when the Palm Springs Golf Classic, later the Bob Hope Classic and now the American Express, began with a commitment to donate money to charity. local. This spirit has remained true to this day, although the types of tournaments and types of charities have expanded over the years.
Many charity tournaments are held throughout the desert this month and even in the summer, and these events are always looking for golfers to play on interesting courses. Here’s a look at some of the tournaments taking place in the desert in May and the types of charities that benefit from these events:
Desert Family YMCA
Here is an example of a tournament held for a specific desert charity. The Family YMCA of the Desert in Palm Desert uses money raised from its annual tournament to fund its programs for desert children and their families. This includes summer day camps and preschool activities, helping to fulfill the mission that “the primary purpose of the Y is to build caring, honesty, respect and responsibility while helping children develop social skills, confidence, leadership and physical fitness. ”
The cost of the tournament, which will be played Friday at Palm Valley Country Club in Palm Desert, is $200 for a single player and $800 for a foursome.
The event also includes a raffle, common for these charity events. These raffle items are donated by desert golfers or businesses to help raise more funds.
Grant Fuhr Celebrity Invitational
Two hallmarks of charity golf in the desert over the decades have been celebrity pro-ams and athletes from other sports playing golf. Both are true with this tournament entering its second year.
Fuhr, the Hall of Fame goaltender who won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, is a familiar figure in the desert and has ties to desert golf courses. He used his golf and celebrity connections to produce a group of more than 30 sports, music and entertainment celebrities on Friday and Saturday at the Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert. Some of the sports personalities slated to play include football’s Marcus Allen, Harold Green and Sterling Sharpe, baseball’s Ken Griffey Jr., Jermaine Dye and Kenny Lofton and hockey’s Darren Banks, Curtis Joseph and Marty McSorley, among others.
The tournament also carries on a long tradition in the desert of golf tournaments helping hospitals or ambulatory care facilities. In this case, tournament proceeds go to the famed recovery facility, the Hazelden Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage. The foundation actually has 17 locations across the country and works with an extensive healthcare network.
Tee It Up Radio’s Desert Challenge
New tournaments are always looking to enter the wilderness for fundraising purposes, and an example of this is the nationally broadcast Tee It Up radio show. This show, a golf and lifestyle show, does not currently have a desert affiliate, but has had in the past and can still be heard online.
The radio show hosts several tournaments throughout the year, most involving a celebrity component. But this is the first time the show has held a tournament in the desert. It will be played Monday at the Avondale Country Club in Palm Desert.
“We work very closely with Folds of Honor and Col. (Dan) Rooney wanted us to do one in the desert just because it’s such a big golf community,” said Al Gottfried, Founder and one co-hosts of the radio show. . “So I said I’d be happy to. And Gary (Williams, a desert realtor and member of Avondale) was happy to be one of our six sponsors.
In addition to raising funds for Honor Folds, which provide scholarships to spouses and children of killed or disabled service members, this first Tee It Up event in the desert has a special twist. Grand Marshals for the event are Herman and Alicia Lopez, parents of Cpl. Hunter Lopez of Indio, who was killed last year in an airport bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Avondale Equity members are paying $1,100 for a foursome, but Gottfried said the tournament is still looking for players.
For further information: Gary Williams, (760) 399-0644.