The St. Edward’s men’s golf team has announced it will launch a charity campaign based on player birdies this semester. The program, called “Birdies for the Better,” will benefit a different Austin, Texas-based charity for each tournament.
“I am really excited about the program,” head coach Todd Ohlmeyer said. “I think it will be an interesting way for others to follow our team but more importantly, another way for us to give back to our community.”
The idea came from PGA Tour player J.J. Henry, who started the Henry House Foundation in 2006 to generate public awareness and support community-based programs that center on the health and well-being of children in Fort Worth, Texas, and Southern New England. Henry made donations in some form or another (toothbrushes, backpacks, etc.) for each birdie he made in a month.
Ohlmeyer read about the program on Henry’s Tour bio page and ran with it.
“J.J. and I played junior golf together and I have always followed his career,” he said. “When I saw what he was doing, I thought maybe we could pull off something similar here in Austin.”
The Hilltoppers began the campaign at this week’s season opener, the Brickyard Crossing Intercollegiate. St. Edward’s players combined for 33 birdies on their way to a 12th-place finish. As a result, Dr. Michael C. Bell, DDS, will donate two teeth-cleaning kits for each birdie (66 total) to Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living.
For the last event of the fall season – the Rattler Invitational, to be played Oct. 21-22 – St. Edward’s will contribute to a canned food drive for the Capital Area Food Bank of Austin. The team is asking the St. Edward’s community to donate at least one item of food for every birdie.
–Information from St. Edward’s Athletics used in this report