It's always been a game of strategy and athleticism. It's a sport where the short game can define a champion, who can slice through the pressure before walking away a winner.
Golf is also special in that it's a game where pros and novices can play alongside each other, and actually have a competitive round—courtesy of the handicap.
But in these parts, the short game has a lasting effect in the long run. Charity golf tournaments steal the summer, and while the players wipe the sweat from their brow and hold their club steady for a perfect drive, they're also raising money and awareness for local and national programs.
Two of the area's largest tournaments are gearing up to raise big money—combining philanthropy and sport—a hole in one.
Children's Golf Classic—Friends of Costco Guild
Date: Aug. 17-19 A round here protects the community's smallest members. The Children's Golf Classic is the Seattle Children's Hospital top fundraiser each year. Since its inception 13 years ago, it has raised more than $60 million—an astonishing amount that helps the Children's Hospital as it constantly strives to provide top care, regardless of a family's ability to pay.
This year's event expects to see 1,224 golfers on eight courses, with 1,200 guests attending the opening party at Safeco Field, and more than 250 sponsors involved with ensuring the tournament's success.
"The special relationship we have with Costco and all our sponsors is based on the shared appreciation of Seattle Children's Hospital's value and importance in our community," says Jan Sinegal, Children's Golf Classic Founder and Director.
"The Friends of Costco Guild members and volunteers are equally committed to supporting the important work being done at Children's and give countless hours in planning and producing the Children's Golf Classic."
To play the game, sponsors gather teams, and the tournament is open to any corporation, organization or private group. There are also spots available for individual players, making this tournament more accessible to the public to partake in the competition.
Funds raised over the weekend go directly back to the hospital. "Our goal has always been to present a quality event for our sponsors and guests while keeping our expenses as low as possible, and in turn, our donation to uncompensated care as high as possible," Jan says.
Tournament play spans seven clubs: Broadmoor, Washington National, Newcastle, Inglewood, Meridian Valley Country Club, the Plateau Club and Sahalee Country Club. With a shotgun start, it's a scramble format, although individual competitions are played on selected holes.
Although the competition is stiff, some faces in the crowd help remind players who the real winners are. Often, patients who have received, or currently are receiving, care from Seattle Children's Hospital will swing by, serving as very special and honored guests.
If you're more suited for a game of putt-putt than a round of 18, spectators are always welcome—just practice your golf clap.
Benefits: Seattle Children's Hospital
Sponsorship Opportunities: Contact Rosanna Bellotti at 206.281.7130
More Information: friendsofcostco.org
Date: Aug. 19-25 Perhaps one of the most well known in the nation, the Boeing Classic is a professional golf tournament and part of the Champions Tour.
The event consists of 54 holes of stroke play with no cut, and has a purse of $2 million. The TPC Snoqualmie Ridge course is a par 72, and this year's game will host 81 Champions Tour professionals.
It could be called "Golfing with the Stars," as it brings legends onto Washington greens, and fans are close enough to their idols that they can hear the swish of the club. Through a series of events, the Classic combines a passion for the game, the game's celebrities and worthy beneficiaries.
"While the caliber of competition and legendary professionals participating are impressive, the events and activities associated with the Boeing Classic provide an all-inclusive, entertaining atmosphere on a picture-perfect Northwest backdrop," says Jill Wiggins, Boeing Classic Marketing and Communications Manager.
With more than 80,000 spectators annually and 1,000 volunteers, the tournament has raised more than $4 million in the eight years it's been established. "The effort is focused above and beyond the game of golf," Jill says.
Though, the game itself is still a competitive one. There is $2 million on the line, after all.
Other Boeing Classic Events
Korean Air Pro-Am Emirates Youth Clinic, Tuesday, Aug. 20
Grapes on the Green Kids' Day, Friday, Aug. 23
Military Appreciation Day, Sunday, Aug. 25
Benefits: Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and the First Tee of Greater Seattle
Sponsorship Opportunities: Contact Rob Phipps at 206.381.7840
More Information: www.boeingclassic.com
Rumble at the Ridge
Date: Monday, Aug. 19
This is a kickoff of another kind. The event—stacked with NFL Hall of Famers, Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor inductees and other celebrities—gets the classic started by pairing a celebrity with golf teams of four for the day.
All proceeds from this event help the Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program at Virginia Mason Medical Center, a Better Seattle and others.
There are plenty of contests, too, including the longest and straightest drives and closest to the pin. They "tee it up" for charity while surrounded by some of the area's most stunning views.
Previous celebrity participants include ESPN journalist Kenny Mayne; former Kent State and University of Washington football coach Don James; former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent; and former Seattle Seahawks fullback and running back coach Mack Strong.
Be among the thousands to see if this year's players can rough it on a calmer field.
Golf may often be categorized as a quiet, calm, even peaceful game, but when worthy organizations become the winners, no matter the outcome, fun takes precedence.
The tournament itself is a gimme for success. But, while the honor is typically given to the player who had the lowest score on the preceding hole, in its most basic definition, the honor belongs to all the players, as they play a round for the entire community.
Photography: Boeing Classic