Unique Format of BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament Attracts Leading Local Business Men & Women
Leading business men and women will tell you that many of their key business transactions take place on the golf course. The setting is nice. The atmosphere is relaxed. There are hours of personal face time to sell your company as a solution provider, or entertain important clients.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament, the premier tournament on the PGA Tour’s Nationwide Series (Nationwide Insurance replaced BUY.COM as the official tour sponsor at the end of the 2002 tour season), takes it a step further. The tournament is the only event on the Nationwide Series that pairs professionals with an amateur/celebrity partner in a two-day best-ball competition for charity.
That means that business people – many of whom are avid golfers – can play two rounds of golf with a Nationwide PGA Tour professional, other leading business people, and possibly a celebrity (actor Kevin Costner and future football Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino have participated in the tournament). It also spotlight’s their business for a weekend to their grass-root customers, as well as many potential new clients and prospects. Oh yeah, the entire event is televised worldwide by The Golf Channel!
“You can’t beat it,” said Ronnie Allen, Director of Human Resources & Legal for Plastic Omnium Auto Exterior in Anderson, S.C., “It’s a win-win situation for everyone. It pulls together our community and allows us to help those that are less fortunate. There are a lot of people out here with different business views, but all of us agree on giving back to the community and helping those that are in need.
“We also get so much in return from a business side. Do you realize what it would cost us in advertising dollars to reach this group of people? The entrance fee is a donation. And for that donation we get to play two beautiful courses, mingle with our grass-root customers, meet other business people and potential new customers, rub elbows with pros and celebrities, entertain our clients, get Plastic Omnium’s name out to the public, receive extensive coverage on The Golf Channel, and make a difference in the lives of so many people that need help. This tournament is a blessing. We feel very fortunate to be able to participate.”
“One of the most enjoyable aspects of my work with The Golf Channel is the opportunity to share the game with others,” said Jennifer Mills, host of The Golf Channel’s ‘Golf Central’ program. “With women’s groups in particular, I help teach them how to use the golf course as an effective business tool. By understanding the game, its rules, nuances and etiquette they are better equipped to succeed as golfers and as business executives. We all know the benefits of having an uninterrupted block of time with a potential client or boss in a casual atmosphere.”
“We have a new factory in Western N.C. which opened in Oct.,” said Dan O’Connell, President of Raflatac, Inc. in Asheville, N.C. and last year’s amateur winner. “We service a national customer base, so we were anxious to have our customers visit the facility. The tournament allowed us to bring in our clients, hold business meetings, tour our new facility, showcase Western N.C., and end with participating in the tournament.
“We have in our charter to be a good corporate citizen, so the ability to help charities is huge.” (O’Connell split his $10,000 winnings between St. Joseph’s High School, CARING for Children and The Eblen Foundation).
“It helped me network with other community leaders,” said Stephen Thies, President & CEO of Spartanburg Steel Products. “It built relationships that can only help our business in the future. Plus, it allowed us to give to a broad array of charities through one event.”
“The tournament is well run,” said Mike Collins, CEO of IMI Resort Holdings. “BMW and The Cliffs do a great job. With IMI being more of a national business instead of a local business, giving back to the community is very important.”
The tournament, which is played May 1-4, 2003 at Cliffs Valley and The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards courses in Upstate South Carolina, features two rounds of golf (a round at each course) on Thursday and Friday. The 14 best teams (10 best Pro-Celeb and four best Pro-Am) advance to play for the BMW Charity Cup on Saturday. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $103,500, while the amateurs/celebrities compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice. Last April’s second-annual event raised a record $515,739.02 for 44 Upstate and Western North Carolina charities.
“The opportunity for us to entertain our key customers is tremendous,” said Jerry Fountain, Regional President of Verizon Wireless. “The return on investment is tenfold because other events are built in and around the tournament which offers multiple opportunities for exposure, as well as entertainment opportunities for customers and business partners. The icing on the cake is that everything is going toward local charities. It ties the whole thing together.”
“The tournament allows us to take customers with us as participants,” said Sam Cole, CEO of Sunland Distribution, Inc. “Most of them aren’t from the area, so we were able to show them a great time, as well as expose them to our community.”
Another perk is being able to play and party with pros and celebrities.
“I was able to play golf with one of my sports heroes; (Super Bowl XXVI MVP quarterback) Mark Rypien,” Fountain said. “I am a huge Washington Redskins fan.”
“The VIP parties with celebrity participation were incredible,” Cole said.
“Playing with Ben Wright was incredible,” Collins said.
General Admission tickets for the 2003 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs can be purchased for $20 by calling (864) 297-1660. Clubhouse and VIP tickets can be purchased for $100 and $300 respectively. Limited sponsorship opportunities are available as well. Proceeds benefit Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina charities. For more information on the golf tournament call (864) 297-1660 or visit its website at www.bmwusfactory.com/golf.