When my sons were young they loved memorizing the license plate designs and nicknames of each state. Of course, their favorite was Louisiana’s displaying the pelican and phrase “Sportsman’s Paradise.” It is understood “Sportsman’s Paradise” refers to the plentiful hunting and fishing opportunities around our state but there are definitely additional sports that deserve recognition, one which may surprise you: golf.
While Louisiana isn’t typically recognized for its golf, professional golf has been in New Orleans since 1931 and attracted big names such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and more. The award-winning Audubon Golf Trail features 16 courses throughout the state and coincidentally, all the courses are members of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf Courses, a program dedicated to protecting the environment and preserving the natural heritage of golf. Opened in 2004 and home of the PGA Zurich Classic, New Orleans’ own TPC Louisiana course was designed by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye and tour professionals Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson. However, more impressive than the golf course quality or top rated golfers gracing our state is the impact golf has made in our community, especially through the Fore!Kids Foundation.
Since 1958, the nonprofit Fore!Kids Foundation has focused their mission on helping kids through golf. The more than 270 members raise funds through golf events like the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the “Golf Ball Gala,” a summer junior tour and charitable golf tournaments that benefit a long list of local children’s service organizations. Impressively, Fore!Kids has raised over $38 million to date with $2 million being donated annually over the last two years. These donations are providing healthcare, education and hope for over 200,000 children each year through partner organizations such as Children’s Hospital, St. Michael’s Special School, First Tee, Educare, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and many others. Fore!Kids Foundation Executive Director Steve Worthy notes that while the PGA Tour is contributing locally in New Orleans through the Zurich Classic, the organization also makes a nationwide impact through the over 40 PGA events that have contributed more than $3 billion in charitable giving over the years.
The golf tournament assumed its current title sponsor, Zurich Insurance Group, in 2005 and was the first major sporting event to return to the city after Hurricane Katrina. It has an undeniable New Orleans flair enjoyed by all ages offering high-end New Orleans cuisine and cocktails, local bands and a kids zone. Golf lovers are cheering about the recent change of play to an exciting two-man team format, the first of its kind on the PGA Tour since 1981 and the only FedExCup team event.
However, it’s the commitment of foundation volunteer members that’s significant. “My involvement with the Fore!Kids Foundation began after I attended our city’s PGA Tour golf tournament over 25 years ago. After discovering that the events’ remaining profits each year go to support children’s charities in our area, it was clear to me this was a way I could help make a difference. Whether as a golf fan attending the tournament, a sponsor entertaining clients, a volunteer during tournament week, or as a year round Fore!Kids Foundation member, we all play a role in helping children in need,” says Board Chair David Perlis.
Whether you’re a sportsman or not, everyone can make a difference by supporting the Fore!Kids Foundation by attending the Zurich Classic April 20-26, 2020 at TPC Louisiana!
A little more…
To become a member of the Fore!Kids Foundation or purchase tickets to the
2020 Zurich Classic, visit ZurichGolfClassic.com.