PRINCEVILLE — Princeville Makai Golf Club general manager Doug Sutter has observed a new trend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of social-distancing protocols related to COVID-19, companies aren’t willing to host annual fundraising banquets they used to enjoy in the pre-COVID-19 world.
In place of fundraising banquets, which aren’t conducive to social distancing, many fundraising organizations are resorting to golf tournaments.
During 2020, Makai was able to host only two golf tournaments, but aim to host ten this year.
With the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the north shore golf club is wasting no time.
The Kaua’i North Shore Lions and Aloha Roofing Supply will have their annual Golf Tournament for Student Scholarships starting at 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Princeville Makai Golf Course.
Entry fees are $125 per player and $500 for a foursome. This years’ contests include Closest to the Pin, Straightest Drive, Hit the Green, Helicopter Ball Drop, $25,000 Hole in One, Lucky Ticket Drawings, and more. North Shore Lions Club will provide lunch.
“We are very optimistic and would like to hold at least 10 (this year), or at least one charity event a month,” Sutter said. “People just can’t have dinners like they used to before.”
The event is the primary fundraising event of the year for the North Shore Lions with 100% of the proceeds going to funding scholarships.
Last year, the organization provided 30 scholarships totaling $40,000, according to North Shore Lions Club Golf Tournament Chairman Jerry Moore.
“It is vital to have these students attend college or advance their education and give them the ability to get jobs locally,” Moore said. “We have had several students pursuing nursing degrees work locally, and one student went on to earn a pharmacy degree to work in Kilauea.”
Surging in popularity
Sutter hasn’t just observed a trend in golf tournaments but said he noticed the popularity of the sport has increased.
There are many people from the state of Hawai’i that have taken up the game since the start of the pandemic, according to Sutter.
“I think golf continues to trend, and it makes sense because many golfers and rounds are going up along with the avid golfer playing more golf, so the pandemic is growing the game,” Sutter said. “Since the pandemic, golf club manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand.”
According to Sutter, the Callaway Golf Company and Princeville Makai have had trouble keeping pace with the demand for golf equipment.
“You can’t just keep breaking record after record (of sales),” Sutter said. “In the short-term, everything is moving in the right direction, and we’re seeing some nice numbers. Calloway is filling the demand as best as they can.”
The Folds of Honor tournament held last October was a success, according to Sutter.
Princeville Makai came close to reaching its goal of raising $20,000 by raising $18,000 this year.
“We were extremely excited to be so close to our huge goal, and the tournament went off great,” Sutter said. “We were able to have the tournament at a manageable pace, with even more people coming out to support it.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.