The PGA Tour Championship was an amazing experience. The top thirty golfers from around the world all gathered in one place to see who will take home the FedEx Cup title. Some call it the “Super Bowl of Golf.” The PGA TOUR has been preparing for this tournament since last year’s tournament and began its build-out in June. I had the opportunity to attend day two of the event on Friday, September 3, 2021. The weather was absolutely perfect. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. My journey began with meeting Catherine Woodling. She is the Director and Communications for the East Lake Foundation. The East Lake Foundation is a community quarterback organization that works with partners in the East Lake community across three pillars. These include cradle-to-college education, community wellness, and mixed-income housing to revitalize the neighborhood.
Giving back to the community is a priority for the TOUR Championship, which now supports five primary nonprofit organizations in Atlanta, including the East Lake Foundation. The TOUR Championship is the primary fundraiser every year for the Foundation. The Foundation has received millions of dollars since the tournament was first played in East Lake in 1998. The proceeds from this tournament directly affect me more than anyone, especially the funds that the Foundation grants to Drew Charter School’s College and Career Readiness program. As a student at Drew Charter School, I have an entire college and career team that works with students like myself in the college application process and any type of post-secondary options.
During my day as a spectator, I had the opportunity to watch golfers like leader Patrick Cantlay display his amazing passion for the game. I felt so special being able to see the top golfers in the world walking only a couple of feet away from me. I watched them hit the ball from multiple tee boxes and got to see several amazing putts. After watching many of these golfers, I then visited the “So Cool Zone” sponsored by Southern Company. It was one of my favorite places to be by far. The “So Cool Zone” is the family entertainment area of the TOUR Championship. In this area, you’re able to find food, the Fan Store, the First Tee experience, and the Georgia Aquarium that was onsite with animals. There was so much to do all while the tournament took place. I was able to touch a turtle, play splatter paint golf, and get a souvenir from the Fan Store. I think it is amazing how all this was able to be built on a golf course. It was completely transformed. My overall experience was such an unforgettable one. Not many people can say that they’ve been to a championship tournament of this magnitude. I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity. It opened my eyes to so many things about the sport and positive ways to impact community outreach. Using golf as a way to continue improving and revitalizing a community is such a positive thing to see and I’m happy I was able to see it all happen firsthand.
By Tyra Jones, Drew Charter School Senior