Emmitt Smith the former NFL running back was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 is using his golf skills to “give-back” to the community. Mr. Smith, the Dancing with the Stars 3rd season winner, hosted The Emmitt Smith Golf Challenge in cities across the U.S. to raise money for The Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. The Atlanta, GA tournament in the tour was held at Bear’s Best Golf Club and brought out teams ready for a full day of golf with a champion and tireless competitor.
“I feel good about where we are as far as the Emmitt Smith Challenge project stands. The Challenge Project is very new for us — this is our first year. We tried to take a page out of Ernie Els’ book in terms of doing a Golf Challenge. We try to encourage people to partner up. We want twosomes and for them to go out and raise as much money for your twosome as possible for worthy charitable purposes.”
The inaugural Golf Challenge began in Kingwood Houston TX, on January 20, 2014. The series of tournaments included one at Bear’s Best in Atlanta on March 24th and wrapped up in April 2014 at Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club in Gainesville, FL., Smith partnered with Club Corp, owner of Bear’s Best and Haile’s Plantation Golf & Country Club, a strategic move garnering the philanthropist access to players, quality golf courses and the opportunity to raise more money.
“We are delighted to work with Club Corp and a significant number of members of the golf community are really showing up and supporting our events Extending the run-up through that weekend allows us to raise more money and because of it we will create even more opportunities for underserved children. Proceeds from each of the tournaments benefitted The Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities in Dallas, TX and local children’s organizations in each city where the Challenge project are held and our organization provides children with experiences and mentorship opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise receive. We supported organizations doing great things in the community and have touched over 35,000 kids with our giving and support. Programs have included a meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama, serving as volunteers at the SM Wright Foundation’s Christmas In The Park, attending Camp Champions, and a private tour of the Bush Presidential Library and got them a tour with the president himself. Their exposures have been huge,” say Mr. Smith.
He adds in course of his elated discussion that, “We are creating unique experiences for the kids and we want these kids to understand how they fit into the world and the education they’re getting in some classes right now may seem boring, but there’s a purpose for those classes.”
To surmise our discussion golfing for charity Smith is a vehicle to help children because of the lessons he learned through the sport. He spent most of his career as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, but he says golf required more of him than another other game he’s ever played. Though familiar with using his physical strength and agility to run a ball down the field, golf demands another kind of focus and abilities.
“Golf to me has been the most challenging sport I have ever played. One day you can come out and hit the ball like Jack Nicholas and the other day hit the ball like Charles Barkley. It’s just that extreme,” Smith explains. “You can shoot 75 one day and shoot a 95 the next and you’re still trying to figure out what in the world went wrong. Where did I lose it? You see that with the best. It’s a sport I don’t think can ever be mastered. Nobody has ever had a perfect game,” Smith continues.
Smith’s love for golf extends beyond the green. He also embraces the game for the benefits of the lifestyle for who or what — you can find on a golf course in a given day. He says “I really love to play, relax and mingle with ordinary people. I like opportunities to conduct business also. A lot of business is done on the golf course. Relationships are forged on the golf course. The reason why those business relationships are happening on the golf course is because you the course itself suggests that you have common ground and common resources to afford the one-on-one relationships. You are going to run into someone that owns a business, running a business, managing a business or some kind of connection that is more than golf. That’s where you start to forge a relationship and build a network.”
Last year the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities raised $1million and this year he plans on exceeding his goal. He wants to give all players in each city a chance to attend the culmination of the series, which is The Pat & Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational, a two-day event extravaganza of golf and entertainment ending with a gala.
The gala last year apparently was hosted at the Omni Hotel Downtown and had over 900 people in attendance. Emmitt says. “We are stretching out a new goal to get to a $2 million mark and we feel like we can do that. We may have to change golf courses to one that can house 36 holes. We’re hoping that the Challenge project grows into something very spectacular.”
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT EMMITT’S CHARITY AT: EMMITTSMITHGOLFCHALLENGE.COM