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11 Fun Ideas To Make Your Golf Tournament A Success

2023 saw the 14th year of the Credit Union for Kids (CU4Kids) Golf Classic, hosted by Tennessee credit unions, US Community and Enbright. Over the past fourteen years, the CU4Kids Golf Classic has raised over $650,000 with funds going directly to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. With the mission of serving as a resource that is responsive to the community while creating a special environment for children and their families made Monroe Carell and CU4Kids a worthy cause for the yearly fundraiser.

In 2009, the CEOs of US Community and Enbright Credit Union collaborated with other credit unions to determine which non-profit was a suitable recipient of a fundraiser. Finding a non-profit organization that supports credit union’s mission of people helping people and is relatable for both members and community members was important. CU4Kids embodies the principal of people helping people, supporting patients health along with financial and emotional well-being. Staff from credit union’s loved to golf, hence the CU4Kids Golf Classic came into being. Ben Johnson, current President and CEO of US Community Credit Union stated “US Community Credit Union’s support of the Childrens Miracle Network benefiting Monroe Carell, is one of my favorite ways we accomplish giving back to our community.”

In it’s inaugural year, the Golf Classic had roughly 16-18 teams and raised over $10,000. Over the years, the funds raised by the Classic have helped Monroe Carell to add floors, renovate a cancer wing, create an inpatient pediatric rehabilitation facility, and so much more. Taking place in August of each year, the CU4Kids Golf Classic has come to be a very successful fundraising event, drawing in teams from over 18 credit unions across the state of Tennessee and corporate sponsors from across the United States. From the start of the fundraiser 14 years ago, the goal has been to make it a unique experience for all participants. Kicking off planning for the event around January, the committee works hard to put together unique ideas for mini fundraisers to do during the Classic that will encourage the spirit of giving and give participants something to remember.

Incorporating the love of the golf with a fun and educational atmosphere is a key factor in the success of the CU4Kids Golf Classic. “Our CU4Kids Golf Classic celebrates the spirit of children with fun games at every hole that affect your team’s score. My favorite game is shooting a golf ball at the green with an air cannon. This non-traditional approach to golf has become wildly popular over the past 14 years helping us to raise over $60,000 at our last tournament. Participation from children who have benefited from the hospitals care make the tournament special by allowing participants to see the miracles they are supporting”, stated Johnson. Participants of the Classic find something fun and unique on nearly every hole. Some unique ideas the committee has come up with in the past including the following:

  • Distraction hole – golfers are distracted with music and screaming when attempting to tee-off. 
  • Crazy drivers – golfers are forced to tee-off with a 5 foot long driver or a 2 foot long driver.
  • Air canon hole – this hole includes a golf ball launcher that can be used to tee-off if a donation is made.
  • Miracle Shots – Make a donation and one of the miracle patients will hit a tee shot for you. Play it as it lies as your first shot.
  • Money Mania – Pick one player to grab money out of the money machine. For every dollar add that yardage to your tee shot.
  • Straight Flushed – Get comfortable sitting on your throne. Everyone must hit their tee shot while sitting on the toilet.
  • Birdie Bonus – (Not allowed for mulligans) If the first player putting makes your birdie putt, then each player after who makes the putt take an additional stroke off.
  • Fling Golf – Hope you’ve been practicing your lacrosse skills. Everyone gets to fling their tee shot from the red tees. Play your first shot from your best fling!
  • Dude, who took my flag – Good luck on your approach shot. We lost the flag!
  • Twice As Nice – Wait there are two flags on the green? Play to either one.
  • Game of Chance – Pick one player to draw a card and learn your team’s fate.
  • Flamingo Party – Did you know flamingos stand on one leg? Well now you do too! Good luck on your tee shot.

Throughout the years of the Golf Classic, participants have come to know and bond with patients of Monroe Carell on a personal level. Each year, patients from the hospital come to the Classic and tee-off for golfers, putt for them, tell their story and much more. Each hole and golf cart also offers stories on hospital patients for participants to read and know first hand the lives that the fundraiser is affecting.

President and CEO of Enbright Credit Union, Ron Smith, speaks firsthand to the importance of having a local Children’s Hospital: “Supporting CU4Kids through the annual golf tournament is personally very important to me. When my brother was 7 years old, he went to the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. for a heart valve replacement. I remember being in the hospital before and after the operation (fortunately the surgeons were able to repair his heart valve and did not have to replace it). The impression the nurses and doctors made on me with how they treated the patients and families with such a high level of kindness and expertise goes beyond words. To be able to give back via our golf tournament is just a small token of my appreciation to all the children’s hospitals across the country.”

Karen Hunter-Lowery, Senior Director at Monroe Carell says, “The CU4Kids Golf Classic is one of my favorite events of the year! It’s a day to reconnect with Credit Union leaders that are already engaged with the hospital, and to meet new ones. I am so thankful for the funds raised by this event every year, which allow us to continue providing world-class services to our patients.”

Learn more about golf fundraising for CU4Kids by joining a webinar on October 30th where JR Jernigan from US Community Credit Union will go into more detail on how he makes this a successful event. Click here for more information.