The Washington CLUB Charity Golf Classic (CLUB is the acronym for Contractors, Legislators, Unions and Business) is expected to reach the $1 million mark in donations when it tees up Wednesday and Thursday, June 12-13, at the Gold Mountain Golf Complex in Bremerton.
“When we started this thing we had modest goals and really no idea if it would see a second year,” said Jon Bettendorf of Portland-based Quest Investment Management, and a co-founder of the CLUB.
The goal, he said, was to create an event where people from the four groups could come together in a social setting, deepen their working relationships, and at the same time produce meaningful charitable contributions that would benefit both people in need and the community at large.
“I remember it well,” recalls co-founder Gordy Howins, a retired business manager of Tacoma-based Operating Engineers Local 612. “Six or seven guys sitting around brainstorming this idea of a charity golf tournament designed for all the trades, not just one or a few. We all had an honest desire to get business and labor together away from the negotiating table and build relationships to do something good.”
Another co-founder, Nate Drake, a retired business manager of the Carpenters Union in Tacoma, said the first thing they did was decide where to donate the money. “Even before coming up with a name,” he said.
They decided to focus on three charities — one local, one regional, and one national. The three selected were Holly Ridge Center in Bremerton, which serves children and adults with disabilities through its neurodevelopment center and job training and placement services for adults (local); Children’s Hospital in Seattle (regional); and the Diabetes Research Institute located at the University of Miami, in Florida (national).
Prior to the CLUB’s inception in 2000, unions raised money exclusively for the Diabetes Research Institute through an annual DAD’s Day Golf Tournament. Dollars Against Diabetes (DADs) is a campaign organized by the national Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
“It was a great event, but we felt we could make it better,” Howins said.
Howins had an ambitious vision to triple the size of the DAD’s Day Tournament — filling not just one, but two, golf courses. He also proclaimed that CLUB would offer the biggest post-golf raffle in the Pacific Northwest. Many participants believe he succeeded.
Each year after DAD’s Day, the Building and Construction Trades Department ranks events nationwide according to their donations. In 1999, Washington’s DAD’s Day golf tournament ranked 52nd. For the past two years, the Washington CLUB has received DAD’s Day’s No. 1 ranking.
The CLUB also ranks as the top donor/supporter for Holly Ridge Center, a position it has held since 2001.
Brian Remington, owner of Golf & Corporate Solutions, the event manager hired by the CLUB to run the golf tournament, said, “We probably put on 40 tournaments, and double that with corporate events, and the CLUB is the biggest of its kind.”
Remington also praised the operators of Gold Mountain Golf Course, where the tournament has been held from the very beginning. “They have been a fantastic partner of the CLUB. Year in and year out this event is one of the largest and best events at their facility,” he said.
Another component that has added to the popularity of the event is the Pre-CLUB Tournament. Devised by Randy Goodwin of Washington Capital Management and Rick Hansen of Rainier Investment Management, the Pre-CLUB offers a fun, mini-tournament the day before the big tournament. At the Pre-Club golfers play their own ball over 18 holes. The format for the following day’s CLUB Tournament is a four-person scramble.
“The Pre-Club helps make the CLUB a complete package,” Hansen said. “The Pre-Club is more casual, but competitive, with a unique format.”
“Not only that,” Goodwin added, “where else do you find business competitors with their arms around each other?
“We could not be more pleased and proud of the success of he CLUB,” Goodwin continued. “This event does so much good and it is very fun to be a part of.”
Bettendorf, who chairs the all-volunteer CLUB Golf Committee, said the group has some special things planned this year to celebrate the $1 million milestone. “If you have never been to the CLUB, please consider it this year” he said. “It is such a satisfying achievement and I am extremely proud to be teamed up with the men and women of the CLUB Committee. Everyone in the group is committed to the success of our event, and the real winners are our charities.”
Click here for more information or to register for the Washington CLUB Charity Golf Classic.