On the surface, the Big Red Barn Retreat and the Sonic City Women’s Golf Championship share little in common.
One is a Blythewood-based non-profit association that offers non-clinical, therapeutic services to active duty or retired service members and their families who might suffer from military or combat related stress issues in a natural, relaxed setting.
The other is, as the name states, a golf tournament.
But there is a link. Characteristics of golf tournaments always include competition, camaraderie and championships, and a fourth “C” – charity – belongs in the equation. And leaders of the women’s city tournament have chosen the Big Red Barn Retreat to benefit from their 2017 event.
Indeed, most golf tournaments earmark proceeds to assist those in need, and Golf 20/20, a collaboration of leading organizations that represent all segments of the golf industry, announced last week the details of the game’s $3.9 billion charitable impact at events staged at 12,700 facilities in 2016.
The report’s information reminded how golf can give back to communities. In addition to one-day events that benefit a specific cause, the Columbia area men’s and women’s tournaments do the same. Proceeds from the men’s championship, sponsored by the Midlands Chevy Dealers, go to Fairway Outreach, an organization that provides life lessons and opens the window of opportunity to disadvantaged local youngsters.
“We’re playing our tournament this year at Fort Jackson Golf Club, and we thought it would be appropriate to help support an organization that assists our service personnel and their families,” said Tudy Clark, a past chairperson who serves on the women’s tournament board.
“We provide a place for peace, and (the tournament’s contribution) will be important to the men and women and families we serve,” Sutton Shaw, executive director of the Big Red Barn Retreat, said. “Our services are provided at no cost to participants and are funded by private donations and grants.”
The facility gets its name naturally – from the Big Red Barn with its lodge-like meeting room – and the chief therapeutic services offered include yoga, equine-assisted psychotherapy and healing art workshops. The facility sprawls over 75 acres that include wooded trails and a two-acre fishing pond.
The Big Red Barn Retreat was founded in 2014 in memory of Leon Irons, a U.S. Navy veteran who died from cancer in 2009.
“My mother (Barbara Irons) wanted to give back in honor of dad,” Shaw said, “and what better way than to help veterans? I don’t play golf, but we’re so appreciative of those who do and will assist the Retreat.”
“The tie-in with Fort Jackson and an organization that helps veterans is anatural,” Tudy Clark said. “The timing is perfect.”
Golf 20/20 reported the study conducted by the National Golf Foundation found that golf, as a fundraising vehicle, included an estimated 12,700 golf facilities, 143,000 events, 12 million participants, and average of $26,400 per function for a total of $3.9 billion.
“Golf is a key driver for charitable giving and takes pride in hosting charitable events to improve millions of lives through causes that are mostly unrelated to golf,” Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation and administrator of Golf 20/20, said.
Jim Wise (Columbia) captured the men’s senior club champion title, and Donald Stegall (Lexington) won the one-day net title in the SCGA’s Tournament of Champions at the Tradition Club at Pawleys Island. Other division winners included Kevin Roberts (Chesnee, men’s club champion), Makalyn Poole, Williamston, women’s), Justin Butler (Greer, one-day gross) and Chris Barnes (Greenwood, one-day senior). … A strong field that includes players from 12 states and three countries will open the junior season in the Sea Pines Junior Heritage next weekend at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. … Online registration for the 2017-18 Drive, Chip and Putt competition started Wednesday at www.drivechipandputt.com. Qualifying sites and dates are available on the website. Four local qualifiers, including a May 20 event at Par Tee Golf Center in West Columbia, are scheduled for South Carolina, and the sub-regional will again be contested at Fort Jackson GC in August.