Photo by Montana Pritchard
In response to the severe challenges impacting golf communities nationwide, the Golf Emergency Relief Fund has been established to provide short-term financial assistance to workers in the golf industry who are the backbone of the sport and who may be facing significant financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This relief effort was initiated by the PGA of America through a lead pledge of $5 million and a matching fund for gifts from third parties of up to $2.5 million. The PGA contribution included every member of the executive leadership team voluntarily reducing their compensation, and also included personal donations pledged by members of the board of directors.
The Golf Emergency Relief Fund effort is also being supported in various ways by a number of industry organizations, including GCSAA, the PGA Tour, LPGA, USGA, National Golf Course Owners Association, and Association of Golf Merchandisers.
Managed by E4E Relief, an independent third-party public charity, the Golf Emergency Relief Fund will provide grants to certain industry workers — inclusive of golf association members, employees of local/state golf associations, caddies and certain professionals playing on developmental tours — to help offset coronavirus-related financial hardships, such as living and medical expenses.
Further details regarding eligibility are forthcoming, with applications for the fund being accepted as early as Thursday, April 16, at 2 p.m. Eastern.
“The golf industry is in an unprecedented crisis, and our friends, colleagues and their families need our help right away,” says PGA President Suzy Whaley. “People throughout golf are driven by a strong desire to help others every day. We have to ensure that the heart and soul of our game — our people — are able to get back on their feet and continue to serve others down the road. Eventually, golf will return, but we first need to reach out and help people in our industry during this national emergency.”
“The golf industry steers $4 billion to charity each year,” says PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “Now, we need to come to the aid of those who make this game we love so special, to help ensure their livelihood. Our leadership team is so passionate about this that each has volunteered to take a substantial reduction from their own compensation to support the PGA’s efforts. With matching, our goal is to raise at least $10 million for this important effort.”
“The Golf Emergency Relief Fund is designed to assist those who need our help right away. These associations and their respective members run the game locally across the country, and the players seeking to make a career at the highest level are at the heart of the dream. These are the people who are the backbone of making sure our game continues to thrive. Supporting them through this difficult time is not only the human thing, but it is also the smart thing to do to ensure our industry rebounds quickly.”
Those eligible to apply for aid through the Golf Emergency Relief Fund are:
- GCSAA members
- PGA of America professionals (includes members, students and associates)
- LPGA professionals (includes members and students/apprentices)
- Individuals employed or contracted as a caddie of one of the following caddie companies
(qualifying employers and their subsidiaries): CaddieNow, Caddiemaster, 4C Caddies, Premier Caddies, ClubUp, CaddieU, Circuit Caddie and Caddy King
- Association of Golf Merchandisers members
- Players in developmental tours operated by the PGA Tour (Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour - PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour China Series)
- Players in developmental tours operated by the LPGA (Symetra Tour)
- Employees of United States Golf Association (USGA) authorized Allied Golf Associations
- Employees of PGA of America sections
- National Golf Course Owners Association members
The first phase of the Golf Emergency Relief Fund will distribute two tiers of funding, with $500 grants for basic needs and up to $1,500 grants for critical needs. Applications will be reviewed and approved and grants disbursed by E4E on a rolling first-come, first-served basis. A second phase, currently scheduled to roll out after the completion of Phase 1, will have a longer application process and will distribute funds of up to $3,500, as reviewed and approved by E4E on a rolling first-come, first-served basis.
To apply for assistance from the Golf Emergency Relief Fund and to get further details, go to the E4E Golf Emergency Relief Fund page. Applications can be submitted as early as Thursday, April 16, at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Editor’s note: GCSAA’s Disaster Relief Fund is also available to GCSAA members experiencing job loss, a layoff or inability to work because of coronavirus.