Second annual ATX Man Golf Tournament raises funds and profiles for 18 local charities.
By Steve Habel, Photos by Cheri Thompson
When it comes to fundraising and charity, exposure is the first step toward gathering the pledges and the checks and the volunteers that can make a real difference for the cause. The holy grail of the business is when a charity can both increase awareness and recognition while raising money. Through the years, charity golf events have been a perfect avenue to reach people with money who care and want a way to make a difference.
In 2013, the ATX Man Golf Tournament was established as a unique melting pot of a handful of local charities and those people and organizations that can bring those causes the most benefit. This year’s event, held April 4 at River Place Country Club in Austin, featured 94 players on 24 teams, a number limited to allow a better flow and more fun afternoon for all involved.
The tournament raised more than $55,000 via entry fees and silent-auction items donated by the community and area business, more than three times the amount from the first tournament. AW Media’s owners and publishers Christopher and Melinda Garvey have a solid and documented history of giving back to the community and local charities through the monthly launch parties for Austin Woman magazine, the cornerstone publication of their company.
Once they founded ATX Man, they needed a way for men to get more involved in helping area benefactors, so they hatched the idea for a golf tournament that adheres to the company’s core philosophy, which dictates they have a charitable or giving element to everything they do. The big question was: How could they pick just one beneficiary when so many causes need the exposure? That led to the birth of the idea to benefit not one, but 18 local charities.
“This way, we allow each charity not only the opportunity for a cash donation for their cause, but also the significant exposure from actively participating on their ‘hole’ on the day of the tournament and from the print exposure through the magazines,” Christopher says.
This year’s event helped raise funds and visibility for The First Tee, The Girl Scouts of Central Texas, The Salvation Army, The Rainforest Partnership, Easter Seals, Con Mi Madre, CASA of Central Texas, Wonders and Worries, and Suzy’s Soldiers (for the Seton Breast Care Center). Other beneficiaries include The Boys and Girls Club, healincomfort4achange.org, Superhero Kids, CTX Sports, R.O.C.K. (Ride On Center for Kids), Student Charities, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, the American Lung Association, and Ignite a Dream. Each charity received an additional $675 from auction super tickets and mulligans, and many received cash donations from the players during the tournament.
“One of the coolest things about this tournament and working with the charities is the total sense of cooperation and community amongst all the groups,” Christopher says.
The event was won by the team of Oscar Lopez, Jeff Groom, Mark Rook and Chris Chase, who played for the Suzy’s Soldiers charity, which seeks to provide awareness of and a cure for breast cancer. After the golf, participants were treated to a steak dinner from Fleming’s and after dinner entertainment from comedian Pat Hazell.
Jim Bagan, managing partner of Roger Beasley Mazda and Roger Beasley Hyundai, helped the Garveys get the ATX Man Golf Tournament off the ground in 2013. In its first year, the tournament raised $18,000 for the charities that were profiled. Bagan is not surprised at how the event has been received by the community and the way it’s grown from the first year to the second.
“To be able to spread out the proceeds from this event allows us to touch more people and create better awareness across the board,” Bagan says. “We’re all coming together for a better cause. This tournament, because it’s unique and because it allows us to help the many rather than the few, should be the premier such event in the area as it continues to grow.”
Former University of Texas at Austin quarterback Donnie Little was part of a group that included former Longhorn greats Kenneth Sims and Roosevelt Leaks.
“Any time we can do something to help the local community then we are glad to be a part of it,” Little says. “We get asked to play in a lot of these kinds of events but this one, because so many charities are involved and there’s something new to be learned from the stations at every hole, is special. The only thing that could make it better is if we could win the thing.”
The Garveys are already working on next year’s tournament, which is sure to be tops on the 2015 event calendar.
If the participants in the ATX Man Golf Tournament hadn’t already split their sides from laughter at their own performances on the windwhipped River Place Country Club golf course on April 4, the after-golf entertainment from comedian Pat Hazell more than filled the quota for grins and guffaws. Hazell, one of the original writers of the Seinfeld television show, a regular performer on The Tonight Show and contributing commentator for NPR, had the golfers rolling in the aisles and nodding their heads to his funny stories and jokes.
“I knew I could make people laugh but I wasn’t planning on getting them going with my golf swing,” Hazell said during a first-tee interview. “Seriously, this is a great event, and I’m very honored to have been asked to be a part of it.”
Showtime has declared Hazell one of the five funniest people in America. His 25 years of experience as a writer, performer and producer have made him the go-to guy for custom corporate entertainment. Hazell is recognized for his genuinely funny Americana humor and his salute to pop culture. His ability to integrate humor in to a business meeting has led to hosting hundreds of award shows for clients.
See sweetwoodproductions.com for more information.