2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament Sets Nationwide Tour Record for Charitable Giving
Christmas will come early for the 27 Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina charities who will benefit from this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament. And more is on the way.
South Carolina Charities, Inc. (SCCI) announced today that the charitable earnings raised at this year’s event will exceed $2 million. The total eclipses all past years and represents a three-fold increase in the average annual charitable proceeds of $616,000 since the tournament began in 2001. The sum is the highest ever attained on the Nationwide Tour. Tournament officials will announce the total amount raised, as well as present checks to the charities, at the annual Charity Recognition Luncheon presented by Michelin held later this summer.
“South Carolina Charities’ contribution of more than $2 million on behalf of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs is extraordinary,” said Nationwide Tour President Bill Calfee. “With a strong community outreach throughout the entire Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina areas, the tournament has grown significantly over the years and has become the Nationwide Tour’s leader in charitable giving. By the standards of any tour, the PGA TOUR included, this is a very impressive mark. We congratulate South Carolina Charities and the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs on their record-breaking accomplishment and thank them for their hard work and dedication.”
Making the single largest impact to this year’s bottom line was the Friday evening celebrity auction, “A Night in the Spirit of Giving,” presented by IMI. This star-studded event, officiated by Paul McInnis, Inc. Auctioneers of North Hampton, N.H., brought together an elite group of the area’s philanthropic leaders, celebrity attendees to the tournament including Kevin Costner and Gary Player, and an unforgettable assortment of once-in-a-lifetime auction items, including:
- KEOWEE FALLS WATERFRONT HOMESITE – A premier, waterfront homesite with 190 feet of shoreline within The Cliffs at Keowee Falls – a private, luxury gated community on Lake Keowee owned by The Cliffs Communities. With ownership comes entrée into The Cliffs’ membership, with access and privileges to over $150 million in completed, world-class amenities including five championship golf courses, wellness complexes, marinas, equestrian center, and more;
- GARY PLAYER EXPERIENCE – Golf and dinner with Gary Player at Blair Atholl, his new course on his family’s estate in Johannesburg, South Africa, and on his waterless course near his thoroughbred horse stud farm in Colesburg, complete with first-class round-trip airfare and private connecting charter, followed by a winery tour and five-day South African safari;
- NICKLAUS SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE – A private golf lesson with Jack Nicklaus, complete with dinner at his home course (The Bear’s Club – Jupiter, Fla.), 36 holes of golf, and a new Jack Nicklaus golf bag, clubs, and autographed gifts for each guest;
- KEVIN COSTNER EXPERIENCE – A six-day, five-night first-class trip for eight to Kevin Costner’s personal ranch in Aspen, Colo.;
- THE GREAT ONE EXPERIENCE – Private dinner, round of golf, and Phoenix Coyotes hockey game with Wayne Gretzky in his private suite at Glendale Arena, with autographed hockey jerseys by The Great One;
- EDWIN McCAIN EXPERIENCE – A private cocktail party and concert by Edwin McCain for 50 guests in an unforgettable Manhattan venue overlooking Central Park.
The celebrity auction was the big difference maker in fund raising compared to previous years, with $925,000 being raised by The Cliffs Communities for its waterfront homesite within its Keowee Falls community.
“We at IMI, along with our friends at The Cliffs and BMW Manufacturing, and the celebrities that stood with us, saw this as an opportunity to touch the lives of our neighbors in the community that need our help the most,” said Mike Collins, Principal and CEO of IMI. “Friends like Jim Anthony, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, Kevin Costner, Wayne Gretzky and Gary Player donated their resources as well as their time – to inspire our guests to dig deep and bid high, and the outcome exceeded our high expectations. By supporting the charities that reach out to our community, we can be assured that these dollars will make a lasting and tangible difference in the lives of folks throughout Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina.”
“All of us at The Cliffs are delighted with the success of the tournament this year,” stated Jim Anthony, Founder and President of The Cliffs Communities. “To us it underlines the importance of what can be done when we all pull together towards a common goal. In this case, people from all walks of life came together, gave of their time and resources and had a lot of fun in the process. But what buoyed everyone’s spirits was the sharing, the knowledge that their efforts were going to help other people. It was this spirit—of everyone sharing what he or she could—that made the tournament the success it was.”
“I don’t know of a better storyline than a great week of professional golf, celebrities and entertainment that resulted in record monies for charities across our region,” said Tournament Director Darin MacDonald.
“All the elements combined to make this year’s tournament our best yet,” said Bobby Hitt, president of South Carolina Charities and tournament chairman. “The Cliffs golf courses revealed the beauty of the region, the weather was remarkable, and Mike Collins and the IMI team staged the region’s most successful fundraiser ever with the celebrity auction.”
The 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament was played May 17-20, 2007, at The Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove and The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards golf courses. All four rounds were televised live by the Golf Channel.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs is the only tournament on the Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a three-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros rotate between each of the three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 14 lowest scoring pro-amateur/pro-celebrity teams advancing to play Sunday’s final round. Celebrities play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Along with a brand new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, Australian Nick Flanagan, the professional winner of the overall 72-hole event, took home $117,000 from the total purse of $650,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour. Amateurs and celebrities competed for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc.
Since 2001, the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournaments have raised more than $5.5 million for 80+ area charities.
For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament, sponsorship opportunities, charitable funding or volunteer opportunities, call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament’s website at www.bmwcharitygolf.com.