The world’s greatest golfers tee-off at the Shell Houston Open; and by the time the tournament is over, a wide range of activities to raise money for youth programs has also been done. Golf takes on an entirely new dimension in the city of Houston.
The Shell Houston Open ranks second in charitable giving on the PGA tour. This year, they raised more than $3.5 million, which benefited more than 300 worthy youth-oriented causes. It is one of the only three tournaments on the PGA tour, which generates more dollars for charity than for the players.
Shell Oil became the title sponsor of the Open in 1992. Since then, $13.5 million has been donated to charity. Some of the charities that have benefited are the Boys and Girls Clubs of Houston, Junior Achievement, the United Way, and the Salvation Army.
Volunteers are at the heart of the tournament’s success and its ability to touch so many different causes. From Shell employees to members of the Houston Golf Association to the students and youth who benefit from the fund-raising efforts, more than 1,700 volunteers give of their time and energy to the Open. The volunteers aid in parking, staff entry gates, and food venues. The efforts of the volunteers help the tournament run smoothly and generate additional dollars for charity.
In addition to these activities, there are others that surround the tournament. They want to focus on activities that enhance the lives of children, which may range from a fun run to support medical research to a hospital visit by a professional golfer. In addition to the 1,700 volunteers working the tournament, more than 1,500 runners raised about $50,000 for the David Center at Texas Children’s Hospital. The center is named in memory of David Vetter who is better known as the boy who lived in a bubble. David’s Dream Fun Run is sponsored by the Shell Houston Open and the Houston Golf Association and has raised over $70,000 for the center.
The Birdies for Charity program allows people to pledge money for each birdie made during the Open. More than 150 area organizations benefit from that program. In addition to this, each person who makes a donation of at least $20 is able to guess the total number of birdies for a chance to win a car.
This year, Kid’s Day at the Open drew 40 children from the “Say Yes to a Youngster’s Future” program and 20 patients from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for educational and recreational activities. This program is a partnership designed by the National Urban Coalition and funded by Shell Oil. It prepares low-income children for success in math, science, and technology. Golf demonstrations, a “Cookie Monster” project, and teachings by the “Mad Scientist” give the children a firsthand look at how golf, math, and science relate to the real world.