Ed. note: This look back at the 1930 U.S. Open – during the week that the 120th edition had been scheduled at Winged Foot – is the fourth in a series of remembrances of memorable years in tournament history.
There always will be debates about the toughest golf course. And you can spend hours arguing which championship is the most prestigious. But there is one thing on which almost every golfer agrees: The most difficult golf tournament to win is the one you are supposed to.
Think of Norman on Sunday at Augusta in 1996; Jack at Muirfield in ’72; Tiger as he entered the playoff with Bob May at Valhalla in 2000. Imagine the pressure. All eyes are on you and have been for weeks before the striking of the first shot. Every prognosticator has you pegged to win, not in a one-on-one contest with an inferior opponent, but against a full field of the best in the game.
Just thinking about it is enough to give you ulcers.
Bobby Jones Photo: Courtesy USGA Archives
So what must Bobby Jones have been thinking in 1930 as he boarded a c…
Kate Rose, wife of Justin, winced when she saw the recent headline, the one which said that Justin had given £35,000 towards a run of one-day events for those UK women who are so desperately awaiting the day when the LET Tour restarts.
“Our thoughts were never about giving a donation and moving on,” said Kate. “What we had in mind was to help get the ball rolling for a group of girls who were getting nothing in the way of competitive practice.”
“Justin felt that it would take several events to get the players’ adrenaline flowing. At the same time, we both thought it important that the girls should get a bit of media attention. Players need to keep their names out there. With what’s been going on, that hasn’t been happening.” – Kate Rose
Justin’s best friend and UK manager, Paul McDonnell, had sent the Roses an article he had seen about Liz Young, an LET professional who was in the throes of organising a tournament for her sister professionals at her home club, Brokenhurst Manor.
McDonnell suggested to Justin that he might want to follow suit. However, by the time Justin and Kate had read the piece, they wanted to do more. “Justin,” said Kate, “felt that it would take several events to get the players’ adrenaline flowing. At the same time, we both thought it important that the girls should get a bit of media attention. Players need to keep their names out there. With what’s been going on, that hasn’t been happening.
“The two of us know just how hard we’ve had to work to make sure Justin has kept offering value to his sponsors over the last couple of months. To explain, he’s been getting more involved with company clients via Zoom and other outlets, he’s been doing more social media than he’s ever done, and he’s been giving golf tips.”
Kate, a European champion among gymnasts before she met Justin, revelled in the idea of helping the women out. It was one more good cause which was right up her street.
As a child, she always thought she would end up running an orphanage in South America. Then, in the days when this fluent linguist worked for IMG – she was signed on to run company days for the different European players – she spent her evenings as a volunteer at Charing Cross hospital.
Following on from there, she helped to run charity days for the players’ wives on the USPGA Tour; and when Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas where the family have their main home, she and Justin went to the rescue.
Starting with funds accrued as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation, they set about rebuilding a children’s home which had been decimated in the storm. More recently, the pair have been behind the therapy sessions needed by children who had a lot to deal with even before they lost their home.
By way of a first move on the golf project, Kate, who has been working alongside McDonnell, rang Liz Young to say that she and Justin loved what she was doing at Brokenhurst Manor, and to ask how Young would feel if her event were to be the start of a series. Young’s reaction was one of sheer excitement at the thought that she could have started something.
Conscious of not trampling on anyone’s toes, Kate then spoke to Alex Armas, the CEO of the LET. The Spaniard, though the LET cannot contribute towards a scheme which can only involve UK members, loved the idea of this intervention, as did Dame Laura Davies. Kate had been put in touch with Laura via Mark Fulcher, who used to caddie for Laura before he worked with Justin. Laura has promised to play in some if not all of the tournaments, while Bronte Law could also feature among the 40-strong fields.
The event at Brokenhurst, which will take place on 18 June, will be followed by one at Moor Park on the 25th of the month. There will be four more in July – at The Buckinghamshire (2 July), which is the home site of the LET headquarters, Royal St George’s (9 July), JCB Golf and Country Club (16 July), Bearwood Lakes (23 July), along with the promise of a closing two-day affair, 30-31 July, where the venue has yet to be confirmed. (Any number of clubs have been in touch in the last few days to say that they would be happy to step in were the sixth and last event still to need a home.) The most amazing thing of all, incidentally, is that none among the courses concerned wants to be paid.
Most will see the highlight as the trip to Royal St George’s which will take place shortly before the links would have staged the Open. In this instance, Kate got in touch with the club via a friend of her non-golfing stepmother and, a couple of friendly phone calls further on, everything was in place. “The club were thrilled to be able to show off their links in Open guise,” she said.
“We’re hoping that the captains of all these clubs will be there on the day.” She and McDonnell will be on duty, with the events overall run by Excel Sports Management, the operation which comes under the umbrella of Mark Steinberg, the long-time manager of Tiger Woods.
For Justin, who cannot be around because of the quarantine rules attached to his current spell in the States, there will be the highlights package presented by Sky. The good news here is that Sky will have two crew members and a reporter at each of the courses.
The Roses threw in that £35,000 to their latest venture whilst knowing that they will have paid out a whole lot more by its end. Which is fine by them. “If others want to follow what we’ve done, well and good,” said Kate. “Whatever comes out of our efforts will be a bonus.
“We’re only doing what we thought was the right thing.”
The response suggests that it could not have been more right. Four thousand people had paid Twitter tributes to Justin’s efforts at the last count, with one of the latest from Juli Inkster, the former US Solheim Cup captain.
“Thanks so much to you and your wife for growing the women’s game,” Inkster wrote. “It’s such a positive thing. Impressive.”
When the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour opened registration for its first event since the coronavirus outbreak began, tour officials immediately were swamped. Within five minutes, about 200 players registered for the May 9-10 tournament in Gainesville, Ga., hoping to finally get a chance for organized competition.
The tour, which stages about 35 tournaments a year for teenagers who aspire to play college golf, typically reserves around 84-90 spots for each event. Demand was so high in this instance, the number was pushed to 155.
“When we had an overwhelming number of players, I called the golf course and they said ‘Well, we’ll just shut it down (to public play) for the whole day,’ ” said Todd Thompson, executive director of the SJGT. “So in actuality, now we have two rounds of 78 players, one wave in the morning and one in the afternoon. There will be a crossover (with the two waves) where there are a larger number of kids there, but there will be some separation as well.”
Georgia has been among the most aggressive states in reopening businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this tournament is among the largest to be played in the country since the middle of March.
The young players desperately want to compete, so much so that Thompson said about 20-25 of them have already been meeting at a local course to play unofficial tournaments among themselves. The host course for this weekend’s official event – Chattahoochee Golf Club – long has been available for play and is ready to open the doors of its clubhouse two days ahead of schedule to accommodate the SJGT.
“We’re going to use common sense,” Thompson said. “We’re not going to do things that threaten people. We’ve relayed the message to parents and kids that we’re offering it and you can come out if you want to. … I’ve been playing golf in St. Simons (Island, Ga.) since this whole thing has been going on and a golf course is probably the safest environment we can be in. With this game, you can obviously stay away from everybody.”
“We’re taking a lot of precautions to do things right, so we feel pretty good about it.” – Stephen Hamblin, AJGA executive director
The optimism for such an endeavor comes during a murky time in the golf world.
The high school and college seasons have been canceled, while major professional circuits are hopeful – but not anywhere close to certain – about a summer restart. Junior golf, despite having fewer hurdles to overcome than other levels of the game, has also largely come to a standstill. Several popular events have been canceled for 2020, including both U.S. Junior Amateurs, the IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships, the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships and the Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament.
Junior Golf Scoreboard, a commonly used ranking site, has indefinitely frozen its rankings and is refusing to accept results for the month of May. The scoreboard announced in a blog post: “After much thought, given this national health emergency, it is clear that junior golf tournaments would be problematic on several levels.” It also says the situation will be reevaluated as more information becomes available.
The American Junior Golf Association, a prominent voice in the junior golf community, also has remained cautious. Stephen Hamblin, AJGA executive director, told Global Golf Post that the current target to return has been pushed back to June 22 as intense planning continues. Hamblin also said any decisions will be influenced by guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by individual counties, which is a primary reason the AJGA (for which GGP publisher Jim Nugent serves as president of the Board of Directors) is not playing now.
Among the long list of changes when the AJGA does return: All events will be limited to 78 players going off of one tee, no physical scorecards will be used, spectator levels will be closely monitored, a doctor will be on site, bottles of water will be sanitized before being given to players and preferred lies in bunkers will be used.
“We’re taking a lot of precautions to do things right, so we feel pretty good about it,” Hamblin said, while noting that it’s too early to be certain the June restart will happen. “We’ve been talking to the PGA Tour on a weekly basis, and to us it seems like the number one thing is avoiding large groups.
“If you can do that with a large field, then great. Maybe other tours are playing at courses with huge practice facilities and a huge clubhouse and can do some different things, but from our perspective, we are running five to seven tournaments per week and want to take all of the unknown out of play. We know what we can manage.”
Hamblin also expressed that a primary concern for junior golf will be limiting social interaction with kids who want to be around their friends.
“These are good buddies who want to hang out on the range and hang out on the putting green,” Hamblin said. “We’re going to have to space them. After the round, we may not open up the practice facility. We may just say, ‘You’ve scored, you’re done, go home.’ ”
It’s far from the only issue when a large number of young players converge on a single facility. Weather also could be a consideration. It’s customary for the SJGT to take players off the course 15 minutes prior to impending storms, having them wait at the clubhouse. This weekend’s forecast is clear, but Thompson has decided to double the allotted time and require all competitors to return to their cars instead of the clubhouse. That could be problematic if a player was dropped off at the course or otherwise does not have a car to wait in during the delay.
Maybe the largest and most complicated potential problem involves travel. The SJGT has 38 players from outside the state of Georgia coming to play this weekend, including competitors from Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. With it being a two-day event, the children and their parents will have to stay overnight. That brings up a new list of possible touchpoints where the coronavirus can spread – gas stations, hotels, restaurants and more.
While many organizations, parents and players are concerned about returning, others believe junior golf tournaments can be played safely now.
According to the National Golf Foundation, 79 percent of U.S. facilities will be open as of this weekend and that number could be more than 90 percent by the end of the month. Many of those courses never closed and even saw increased demand because golf has largely been championed as a healthy activity with social distancing being achievable.
In rare situations there have even been events contested, such as the Golden State Tour which completed a 75-person mini-tour event yesterday in Phoenix, Ariz. Also, the SJGT is not alone in junior golf being conducted. The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour returned this past weekend with a 102-player event in Braselton, Ga., at Château Élan Golf Club. According to a statement on the HJGT website, it plans to continue play throughout the country where golf is allowed. Gloves will be offered at the beginning of each round for players to use when handling rakes or flagsticks.
“We will be running select tournaments across the country wherever the courses are open and play is permitted by the states’ governors,” the statement reads.
And a small local circuit, the North Georgia Junior Golf Tour, has been holding events since April 18, albeit with fields of around 20-30 players. They expect larger fields during the summer.
Some have included the argument that young players are unlikely to be affected by the virus. According to CDC data, 52 deaths from COVID-19 have been in the 5-24 age group in the U.S. – still, the potential for a teenager to contract the virus and spread it to his parents is a major concern.
An Associated Press report on Wednesday evening signaled that Gainesville, Ga., the site of the SJGT event, is now among the hardest hit counties in the state. Per-capita infection rates in Gainesville’s Hall County are now in the top 10 percent of counties statewide. Governor Brian Kemp said that contract medical workers have been sent to the Gainesville area and a temporary medical pod is planned to be stationed there.
“They’re being stressed pretty hard up there at the moment,” Kemp told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.
Is the value of a golf tournament worth the risk?
It’s a question without a defined answer at this point. None of us knows when that answer will become clear.
You might not know Ian Finnis, the tall man who towers over Tommy Fleetwood as the pair of them walk the fairways of the world. Fleetwood does the playing, very successfully, and Finnis the bag carrying, equally successfully.
If you do know Finnis then you will know what is about to be revealed. If you don’t then you can guess. There is something about his wide smile and his open personality that suggests he is what is known in Britain as “sound.”
What does sound mean? Imagine a conversation between two Britons talking about a third. One says to the other:
“That Pierce chap who we met in the bar last night. Is he sound?”
“Oh yes,” the other replies. “Sound as a bell.”
If someone is sound, they are sound as in sensible, sound as in well-mannered, sound as in fair-minded.
You didn’t need to know Ian Finnis (above, left) to think that he is “sound.” It is unlikely he would be caddying for Fleetwood if he were not sound because Fleetwood, too, is as sound as a bell and one of the interesting truisms in golf is that caddies often take on the personality of their employer.
Now comes proof of just how sound Finnis is. Proving that golf and golfers have a heart and are trying to lend a hand of support to those who are struggling in these COVID-19 days, he has started a fundraising campaign to help those of his fellow caddies who have found that no golf means no money. Finnis has set up a page – GoFundMe – to raise money all of which will be distributed to his fellow caddies and which raised £10,000 in its first seven hours.
Finnis offered 1,000 tickets at £10 each for a raffle with prizes such as a hat autographed by Fleetwood, flags signed by the members of the European team from the 2018 Ryder Cup and caddies’ bibs from the same event. Online golf psychology sessions were offered as a prize. In all, nearly 500 donors contributed to Finnis’s raffle. It went so well that he did another the next day. That did well, too, raising another impressive figure for professional caddies.
Proving that golf and golfers have a heart and are trying to lend a hand of support to those who are struggling in these COVID-19 days, Ian Finnis has started a fundraising campaign to help those of his fellow caddies who have found that no golf means no money.
People sometimes sneer at golf and golfers. A rich man’s sport, they say. A middle-class sport. One that shows little concern for others. Finnis is proving these jibes are wrong. He is proving that golf is not an uncaring sport and that golfers care.
“Me and my family struggled early on in my caddying career so we know how hard it is at times and especially now,” Finnis said, in his thick Liverpool accent. “Some caddies will be feeling this with families and possibly no wages for three months so I’m auctioning what I can to help them out.”
Other caddies have followed suit. For example, Billy Foster, currently working for Matthew Fitzpatrick, is selling some of the memorabilia he has collected during his career and giving the money to the UK’s National Health Service.
Finnis’s gesture is famous now, boosted by being tweeted and retweeted and retweeted again. Also well known are those golf clubs where in the days before the clubs were closed down the professionals and their staff were telephoning members and offering to help with shopping or other chores or just to talk.
A very new gesture and one that is less well known is a golf coaching business based in south west London that started giving online golf lessons less than a week ago and has been so successful so quickly that it is donating some of the proceeds of this imaginative venture to charity.
“Since Real Golf Live was created just over a week ago (in our kitchen), we have brought live golf coaching sessions to hundreds of viewers around the UK, Continental Europe, the US and in Asia,” said Richard Ellis, a PGA professional. “We are thrilled to be able to share the Real Golf coaching philosophy with so many of you, and perhaps more important, to provide a sanctuary and much needed normality to our old and new friends during this difficult time.
“Thanks to the generosity of our viewers, in just over a week, we donated £1,027.50 to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. It is a fantastic charity that supports 700 babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families, 365 days a year at no cost to the families, in London and Surrey.
“As the result of the overwhelming support, Real Golf has just launched the next 10 live sessions, over the next five weeks. You can sign up for free now at our websites. We can’t wait to meet more golfers at our live sessions, help you improve your golf, and to continue our efforts in supporting more fantastic charities.”
News of this new venture was music to the ears of Robert Maxfield, chief executive officer of the PGA, because it is the sort of imaginative and generous scheme he is proud his members are thinking up and implementing.
“These are unprecedented times and the COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of our 8,000 members around the world in some way,” Maxfield said. “Despite the difficult climate with golf facilities around the world being forced to temporarily close, I am immensely proud of the response of our members for coming together in the face of adversity.
“Looking ahead, it is important we continue to highlight to golf clubs, the industry and thousands of golfers around the world that the PGA professional was, has and will continue to be at the heart of any golf business.”
LEVEN, SCOTLAND | Many golfers travel to the Fife region in eastern Scotland to play some of the world’s oldest courses, including the most ancient one of all, the Old Course at St. Andrews. On my most recent visit there, I played the newest.
This wasn’t so much about snubbing tradition as it was about seizing a rare opportunity to see, walk and play a big-time course in its infancy, just as the finishing touches were being made but before its gates are thrown open to the public.
Dumbarnie Links is nearly ready to launch and its big reveal is highly anticipated, not just in Fife and in Scotland but also around the golf world. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put the course’s debut in limbo. Dumbarnie’s announced opening date is May 16 and the course’s management team still hopes for at least “a modified opening,” but any plans are – at best – uncertain, given that the pandemic remains unpredictable. Much of Great Britain is in lockdown and the Scottish golf industry is closed until further notice.
Regardless, the sprawling links on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, an inlet off the North Sea, is ready to take its place (eventually) alongside Fife’s legendary layouts.
I was there late last fall, before the virus reared its crowns on the other side of the world, eager to take my first steps in Fife and expand my Scottish golf experience beyond the other two trips I had made to the country, to Dornoch in the Highlands and East Lothian on the other side of the firth.
Although I didn’t tee it up on the Old Course, or any of the other six public layouts under the St. Andrews Links Trust (sacrilege, I know), I wandered through the town, stuck my toes on the hallowed turf near the Old’s 18th green and stopped at the Hams Hame Pub & Grill across the road for pints and food. This alone was enough to imbue me with the past of the place before I headed off to see the future.
Dumbarnie is just 20 minutes from St. Andrews, sitting on what its architect, Clive Clark, calls a “truly magnificent site.” We might write off his comment as the usual hyperbole that precedes many new golf ventures, but it’s hard to disagree.
The new links is on a sloping, 340-acre property that is fronted by a mile and a half of beach. One only needs to stand on the elevated first tee, looking downward toward the Firth of Forth or peripherally across the wide expanse of serpentine fairways, to feel the majesty.
Individual holes are their own little enclaves, such that players on one hole rarely will see players on another. At the same time, the firth and its far shore in East Lothian remain in view on the majority of holes.
“This was laid here by the Almighty to play golf on,” says Malcolm Campbell, a driving force behind the project, borrowing a phrase that Old Tom Morris once said of Machrihanish Golf Club’s land on the other side of Scotland.
Putting a golf course on the Dumbarnie property, former pastureland that is part of the Earl of Crawford’s Balcarres Estate, has been pondered and discussed for more than 20 years. One of the original ideas was to create a tight, classic, out-and-back links along the firth’s shoreline but the finished product is nothing of the sort.
The flat, sandy plain along the coastline is still part of the layout but the estate owner ultimately decided to make available some of his inland fields that are on a higher level, too.
So Dumbarnie is now a links with two wide tiers that run parallel to the coastline, divided by a subtle escarpment. (An abandoned railway bed also cuts horizontally through the course.) The ground from the top of the property, where the rustic-chic clubhouse is to sit, slopes down some 100 feet before reaching the firth.
Clark took advantage of this expansive canvas.
The 74-year-old architect, a former touring pro from England with a Ryder Cup on his résumé and about 30 other courses to his credit as a designer and renovator, used two existing sand dunes near the firth to inspire his vision. He then moved a staggering 500,000 cubic yards of dirt around the property to create more dunes – 600 more, in fact, of all sizes – and corridors for the holes.
Individual holes are their own little enclaves, such that players on one hole rarely will see players on another. At the same time, the firth and its far shore in East Lothian remain in view on the majority of holes. (And when it’s not, such as when a player is facing away from the firth, the soaring Largo Law – an extinct volcano – and farm fields fill the eye.)
From its highest points looking down, the former grazing ground for cows is now a photogenic moonscape of humps and bumps and ripples and columns of dunes. “Thus the course was created, rather than picking our way through original sand dunes,” Clark says.
I’ve heard that some of the early visitors said the course looks like it has been there for 100 years already, which is Clark’s highest hope, although a true links aficionado still will see the artifice. This is no Old Course or even New Course, nor any of the lesser-known but revered links in Fife, including nearby Elie or Lundin Links, the latter of which I also played during my visit to great delight in a driving rainstorm.
Dumbarnie is light on quirks and blind shots; the routing is anything but natural. And at least one feature, a pond in front of the otherwise strong par-4 10th hole, might be downright disconcerting to some links lovers. (In fairness, though, water running down the property’s slope does naturally collect there).
Dumbarnie is more a modern, manufactured links like nearby Kingsbarns, which was to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020 and ranks among the world’s top 100 courses. The newest Scottish course even emulates Kingsbarns’ business model – public, hefty greens fees (£235, or almost US $300) and advanced levels of service and amenities, under the management of OB Sports of the United States.
I enjoyed the course a lot, even if my personal preference is for an understated links that follows the natural lay of the land. (When your introduction to links golf is on Royal Dornoch, that preference gets ingrained.) Dumbarnie is walkable and user-friendly, with its big open-fronted greens; it has lots of risk-reward; it revs up the imagination and invites all the creative shotmaking you travel across an ocean to try. And those views.
As Tom Coyne wrote in his charming book, A Course Called Scotland, about his encounter with Kingsbarns, he arrived with a prejudice against a modern links but left a changed man.
“I felt confident in my closed-mindedness and satisfied with my antidesign proclivities, and I was almost sad to see my philosophy discarded at Kingsbarns,” he wrote. “ … I quickly learned that I had been dumb to judge the new guy for being new.”
As much as I liked Dumbarnie, I equally enjoyed meeting the people behind it. The Earl of Crawford’s son, Lord Balniel, welcomed me into his 440-year-old home on the estate one evening during my visit. He shared the story of how his ancestors arrived in Britain in the 800s from northern Belgium and, through service to William the Conqueror and other deeds, eventually were granted courtesy titles and then land in Fife in the 1500s.
The family added to the estate’s property in 1974 with the purchase of neighboring land, where Dumbarnie sits now, even though they had no clear idea what to do with it. “This land has fantastic potential, we thought,” Lord Balniel said. “What the potential is we had no idea. But we knew it had potential.”
Golf isn’t in the family blood – art collecting, equestrian and nature are more their things – so they didn’t immediately see the links. But others did. Campbell, a local resident and esteemed golf journalist, took regular walks through the property and couldn’t believe there still existed such a large swath of virgin links land in Fife.
“It was like the golf course was already there,” he says.
Campbell approached Lord Balniel with the idea of a golf course and tried to broker a plan with developers who could bring the land to life. Plumbing titan and golf entrepreneur Herb Kohler, owner of Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, was among those interested.
Lord Balniel rejected some of the early proposals because they included housing or accommodation on site. He wanted something simpler, in tune with the bucolic setting.
“I’m not a golfer but I love landscape,” he says. “I love nature and I didn’t want to lose that.”
The wheels didn’t truly begin to turn until Campbell got in touch with his long-time acquaintance Clark, whose design business is based in La Quinta, Calif.
“It needs to have a Kingsbarns-type deal, high-end, top-100 golf course built on it,” Campbell told Clark. “It’s an opportunity you can only dream of.”
Clark not only ended up being the architect of Dumbarnie but he also organized the financial support, rounding up investors who purchased 60 shares at $290,000 each. The links became a reality and soon it will become one more reason for golf pilgrims to visit the Home of Golf.
“It’s been a vision for me since 1993,” Campbell says, “I never thought I’d live to see it.”
Who knew the versatility of golf rainsuits in this pandemic moment?
It turns out that, if necessary, they can be pressed into service as personal protective equipment for world’s front-line caregivers.
How this came to be is a winding journey that began with a simple phone call by a priest in the Chicago area. The Rev. Jim Swarthout serves as a director at AMITA Health, one of the largest health-care organizations in the country, with 320 sites in Illinois. Father Jimmy is not a golfer, but in a routine AMITA meeting about COVID-19, he learned that golf rainsuits, worn backward, could serve as suitable PPE. In fact, they could be worn again and again after proper cleansing.
Father Jimmy called his childhood friend, Steve Skinner, CEO of Kemper Sports Management, one of the leading golf-course operators in the country. Skinner drafted his colleague, Gary Binder, a 40-year PGA of America member who serves as an executive vice president at Kemper, to lead the effort. Binder reached out to Carrie Williams, the executive director of the Illinois PGA Section, as well as a senior sales executive for FootJoy.
Boom. Rain Suits For Responders was born. And it has huge national, perhaps even international, implications.
Why couldn’t every PGA Section in America replicate this idea? And, why might it not scale around the world, especially in Great Britain and Ireland, where serious golfers are more likely to own multiple rainsuits?
Williams has nearly 800 golf professionals in her section, and she wondered, how many old rainsuits do those members have? And how many rainsuits do they have in inventory that could be donated to AMITA Health in exchange for a tax write-off? And, how many golfers might those 800 members be able to reach out to, seeking old rainsuits or a simple cash donation?
The donation process is easy. A website – amitahealth.org/rainsuitsforresponders – has been established for donors to register their rainsuit shipment and receive a free FedEx shipping label by e-mail from AMITA Health within two business days. Once the rainsuit is packaged, donors can schedule a FedEx pickup at their home or drop off their donation package at a local FedEx facility. The Illinois PGA Foundation is committed to financially supporting the program by absorbing a portion of the shipping costs.
Alternatively, golfers can make cash contributions. FootJoy, a long-time partner of Kemper Sports, offered to sell a waterproof rainsuit for $100. All money raised in this manner will go toward purchasing this rainsuit and sending it on to AMITA Health.
This campaign launched on April 16 with a $10,000 donation from the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation, a long-time partner of Kemper Sports, to provide the first 100 new FootJoy rain suits to the cause. Binder hopes to deliver 1,000 badly needed rain suits to the front lines.
Binder thought of this program as being one that would enable PGA of America members to get involved in a time of need. As he made his calls, he said, “No one said no. It’s just the game of golf and the people around it.”
It’s bigger than Illinois and AMITA Health. Health-care institutions across the country, indeed around the world, have the same PPE need. Why couldn’t every PGA Section in America replicate this idea? And, why might it not scale around the world, especially in Great Britain and Ireland, where serious golfers are more likely to own multiple rainsuits?
Golf steps up. It always has, it always will.