From Arnold Palmer to Robert Allenby, golf, thankfully, has produced some extremely charitable players. Here, in no particular order, are 10 golfers known for their charitable contributions.
The Swedish World Golf Hall of Famer – who captured 89 worldwide wins and 10 majors – started the ANNIKA Foundation in 2007 with the goal of developing women’s golf around the world and encouraging children to lead healthy, active lifestyles.
Sorenstam is actively involved in every aspect of the Foundation today and personally attends each of its events.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation is providing resources to young people and parents to "make this new way of living easier."
Visit the Foundation’s website for more information.
The Virginia Beach-based Victorian created the Begin Again Foundation with his wife, Audrey, after her near-death experience from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and toxic shock syndrome (TSS) in 2015.
The Foundation’s mission is to: “bring life’s most pressing needs to families experiencing medical and life crises.”
Working with the Social Work Department at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Virginia, Marc and Audrey have helped to alleviate the financial burdens of over 2,000 families.
There is more information available on the Foundation's website – and you can support the foundation by clicking here.
The three-time major winner established The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation in 2014 to “lend time, help grow awareness and offer financial support for four philanthropic areas: special needs youth, junior golf, military support and paediatric cancer.”
Spieth is extremely close with his younger sister, Ellie, who was born with a neurological disorder – and the 26-year-old American attributes his charitable perspective to her role in his life.
“I love spending time with her," Spieth says. "It's humbling to see the struggles she goes through each day that we take for granted. Because of Ellie, it has always been a priority to me to be in tune to the needs of others."
No such list could exist without highlighting the late, great Arnold Palmer, who, together with his wife Winne, established the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation, opened multiple hospitals and assisted numerous charities.
“Making a positive change in the life of a child or young person is the most significant thing you can do,” Palmer once said.
Palmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest U.S. civilian honour – in 2004 by George W. Bush for his efforts both on and off the golf course.
The Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation continues the Palmers’ devotion to children and “honours their commitment to nature and its ability to enrich and heal us.”
The World Golf Hall of Famer casts a wide web in this regard – but her two main focuses are supporting those affected by spinal cord injuries and providing opportunities for up and coming female golfers.
“My life has been deeply affected by a spinal cord injury to someone I love,” Webb told the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
“I saw how life changed for him and everyone around him. He is a true inspiration to me in his positive outlook about what life has given him.”
The Queenslander also runs the Karrie Webb Series – which “has been designed to award the top two women amateur players (in Australia) with a chance to come to the United States and visit with Karrie during one of her professional tournaments and experience life on the LPGA Tour.”
That’s why Lyle worked so closely with Challenge, which was established in 1983 and delivers “practical, personalised services of exceptional quality to ensure that children and families living with cancer are well supported throughout their cancer journey.
“My time was short, but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted,” Lyle once said.
Challenge honours Lyle through Jarrod’s Gift to reflect Lyle’s goal of making a family’s journey with cancer a little easier by providing practical assistance and support.
The 48-year-old Victorian has worked with Challenge since 1992 and has helped to raise over $20 million.
Allenby met good friend Jarrod Lyle through Challenge when Lyle was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and has now held 28 editions of the Robert Allenby Golf Day and Gala Dinner.
“He fought it for so many years, it was hard to fathom when he did pass away. He was an inspiration for me. Realistically, I was his hero when he started off and he was mine when he left us,” Allenby said at Lyle’s memorial service in 2018.
Allenby, together with Geoff Ogilvy, is hoping to honour the memory of Lyle by establishing an event named after his great mate.
“The planning of this tournament would hopefully be the week before the Victorian Open in 2021. We would like to co-sanction with the European Tour,” Allenby said last December.
The 15-time major winner established the TGR Foundation in 1996 – when he was just 20 years old – to provide opportunities for talented junior golfers. But in the wake of the September 11 attacks, Woods decided he needed to do more and “wanted a permanent, safe space for kids to explore their dreams.”
The former World No.1 did so by creating the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim and the Earl Woods Scholar Program to honour his father.
The TGR Foundation – through its award-winning curricula, college-access programs and digital platforms – now offers underrepresented students the resources and support needed to thrive in school and beyond.
“Our purpose is to equip kids with a solid education and the mindset to persevere. We are quietly impacting an entire generation for the better,” Woods says.
The big left-hander, together with his wife Angie, established the Bubba Watson Foundation in 2014 to “enhance the every-day lives of people in need with a particular emphasis on helping and inspiring children, young adults, and those associated with the U.S. Military.”
The 41-year-old also contributes to and raises awareness for an array of charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, Birdies for the Brave and various religious groups.
Visit the Foundation’s website for more information.
The highest-earning American women’s golfer of all time founded Birdies for Breast Cancer in 2003 after witnessing her mother, aunt and godmother fight the disease.
The not-for-profit organisation aims to raise money and awareness to fight breast cancer – and in 2010, partnered with Jersey City Medical Center to “create the region’s foremost comprehensive centre specialising in women’s health issues.”
The former World No.1 personally donates $50 for every birdie she makes and has won numerous awards for her work with the organisation, including the LPGA Komen Award in 2006.
Kerr, 42, also created Curvature Wines to try and raise further funds for breast cancer research.