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May 17, 2017

Todd Sones: Offer a Program to Help the Troops at a Standalone Facility

Todd Sones, a two-time Illinois PGA Section Teacher of the Year, the 2003 and 2014 Illinois PGA Section Horton Smith Award winner, a 2012 through 2016 GRAA Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional and Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is the owner of Todd Sones Impact Golf in Vernon Hills, Illinois, which was also just listed as Golf Digest’s editor’s choice award for best Golf School in the Midwest.

Todd Sones on the importance of offering a program to help the troops at a standalone facility:
Being at a standalone facility or the tenant at a regular facility (like I am at White Deer Run Golf Club), it can sometimes be hard to figure out a way to run a program or charitable endeavor like Patriot Golf Day. But after hearing Major Dan Rooney speak to the Illinois PGA Section several years ago, I knew I had to do something. So I started “Teaching for the Troops”. It’s an event run once a year on a fall Sunday from 9am-1pm where my staff and I set up three stations – short game, putting, and full swing – and essentially offer free golf instruction. Coffee and donuts are available and instead of the students paying for the instruction, we ask that they make a donation of any amount to Folds of Honor. It’s served as a way for us to give back to our men and women of the armed services while also being a great, stress free, relaxed on-ramp for anyone potentially interested in taking up the game.

Todd Sones on the business impact of offering a program to help the troops at a standalone facility:
Since it was started in 2010, we’ve raised upwards of $50-60,000, with over 50 participants and $12,500 raised in 2016 alone. Promoted through flyers in the shop along with email blasts to current students, what’s been incredibly impressive and heartwarming is the number of people who donate the amount that a lesson would be, which can be upwards of $200 for a 45-minute lesson with me. We also offer raffles for various products (including sets of clubs and rangefinders) for anyone who donates $50 or more (one ticket per $50 given). Add in those who make a donation without even participating – the cause moved them that much – and the goodwill and positivity the day has helped to create is lead to a real impact being made on those who need it the most. I’ve also seen an increase in students among those who use this day to take up golf and want to continue. I really think this can be a method that can be duplicated around the country for those at standalone facilities or who are tenants of a facility and thus can’t run a full-fledged Patriot Golf Day. It’s simple, cost-effective and makes a huge difference at the end of the day. A win-win for all.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email todd@toddsones.com