Upstate Amateur Golf

Golfers give back through the game

The PGA Tour does not take a backseat to any organization when it comes to raising money for charity. 

When someone at the headquarters in Ponte Vedra decided to add up all the money raised through Tour events the number was big.

It is now over $3 billion and still growing.

While the PGA Tour reached billions from TV rights fees, $150 club house passes and $12 beers, golf has also been a successful vehicle for local fund raising.

A $100 entry fee, a $10 mulligan and a $5 red tee can add up for a small fund raising project.

The 1938 Palm Beach invitational is credited with being the first event to contribute to charity. It raised $10,000. 

Local golf fund rising events rarely make that much money. 

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the top fund raising tournament on the PGA Tour.

What they do earn is every bit as important in their world as the millions that come from PGA Tour events.

Before the pandemic fund raising golf tournaments were regular events at almost every course in the upstate. Those outings are coming back and local golfers are supporting them.

When a school’s booster club wants to get new uniforms for their athletes or pay for a band trip, a golf tournament is often the first idea.

When a church, civic group or just some friends want to help a family through some difficult times golf can be an opportunity to ease the financial burden.

One of those outings is scheduled for Monday at the Carolina Country Club.

It is called “Tee it up for Austin.”

A little over a year ago, then 16 year old Austin James Somerville of Greenville sustained a spinal cord injury when he broke his neck in a swimming pool accident. 

He was immediately paralyzed from his chest down with minimal arm movement. 

He has undergone several surgeries and spent considerable time at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for their Spinal Cord Injury Inpatient Program.

After a few months at home Austin is back in Atlanta, but this time in the Beyond Therapy program.

This program offers the greatest potential for improvement by using state-of- the-art technology.

Unfortunately, the program is not covered by insurance so friends of Austin are staging the tournament to help cover some of the costs of therapy.

Austin’s recovery has already been miraculous. He has feeling and movement throughout his entire body.

He is presently using a manual wheelchair, but he is able to slowly walk with a walker.

The friends of the Somerville family have responded with nearly a full field of golfers for the tournament. 

There are a few playing spots left and late entries are welcome by calling Leslie Britt (803) 315-5132 or Kasie Somerville (864) 918-5147.

A special part of the event is a silent auction that is not limited to the tournament golfers.

Items like a Dustin Johnson signed Masters flag, a Jack Nicklaus signed flag from The Memorial are just a couple of the many items that organizers hope will increase the amount of help the family can receive from the event.

Anyone interested in bidding on these and other items can stop by the course and place their bid while the tournament is being played starting at 10 am.

Contributions are welcomed from anyone who would like to help even if they don’t play golf.

All proceeds raised through Tee It Up for Austin will be managed by Help Hope Live to directly support physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses for Austin. To learn more about Austin, visit https://helphopelive.org/campaign/18746/

Golfers have rallied to support many good causes. Just as on the PGA Tour, here in the Upstate dollars raised from golf can make a difference for Austin and for the hundreds of other good causes that earn support one shot at a time.

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