The RSM Classic has become one of the biggest events in the Isles. The annual PGA Tour golf tournament at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside and Plantation courses on St. Simons Island has been a boon for the community since it began in 2010.
The benefits go beyond the golf course. The tournament is broadcast every year on The Golf Channel, basically serving as an ad for why tourists should pay the Isles a visit.
There is also the money the tournament gives back to charity. Millions have gone to benefit a variety of charities. One of the tournament’s most successful charitable initiatives is its Birdies Fore Love program — an RSM employee giving challenge that takes place each year during the run-up to the Classic. RSM partners, principals and employees raise funds for local charities. Last year saw more than $2 million raised for more than 70 charities.
RSM upped the ante on Tuesday when it announced an extension to the program. Birdies Fore Love will also include a challenge for Tour golfers over the next eight tournaments. Beginning this week at the Safeway Open in California, the number of birdies a golfer gets will be tallied and the golfer with the most birdies from Safeway through the RSM Classic in November will earn $300,000 for their charity of choice. Second place will get $150,000 and third will receive $50,000 for their respective charities.
The initiative is great for a couple of reasons. The first reason is obvious — more money going to more charities. The second reason is incentive. A golfer who is close to the lead will be more likely to try to chase down that money for their charity by playing at the RSM Classic. The tournament already draws a stellar field and this could only add to the list of names that want to tee it up at this year’s Classic.
Once a golfer gets down here, he may never want to leave. At a media event Tuesday announcing the new initiative, RSM executives spoke about how clients they bring to the Classic every year just rave about not only the tournament, but the Isles itself.
The hospitality on display at the tournament has played a big role in making the Classic a success — along with a helpful and dedicated sponsor like RSM, the hard work of Davis Love III and his foundation that put the tournament on and countless others.
That success has driven the charitable aspects of the tournament from around $150,000 its first year to the millions today. Hopefully Love, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar or one of the other touring pros that call the Isles home will drain a lot of birdies this fall and bring even more money back home.