5k @ the LPGA benefiting Mercy

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The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G's newest event, the 5k @ the LPGA benefiting Mercy, was held Saturday morning. More than 450 runners participated in the inaugural event, starting and finishing at the Walmart AMP. The chip-timed race ran alongside the golf course, making it a unique 5k experience for runners of all ages. As part of the event, the tournament and P&G presented Mercy Northwest Arkansas with $10,000. A

NWA Food Bank Donation

 
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Since 1988 the NWA Food Bank has been nourishing Northwest Arkansas by feeding hungry people. In 2014 alone, NWA Food Bank served over 700,000 people throughout Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties. The food bank acts as a distribution source for food pantries, senior centers, shelters and other nonprofits in our community in order to make sure that all who are facing or experiencing hunger have access to nutritious food.

Kraft and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G have partnered to support the NWA Food Bank annually. In 2011, the tournament donated a box truck to allow the organization to make deliveries and pick up donations much easier. Each year, the tournament and Kraft contribute 1.5 tons of food to the food bank in addition to monetary donations given to help nourish the Northwest Arkansas community. This year is no different. The tournament was proud to once again partner with Kraft Foods and Walmart to present $50,000 to the NWA Food Bank. In addition, Kraft donated more than 1.5 tons of food to the Food Bank for use in the community. To date, Kraft and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G have donated more than $95,000 and over five tons of food to the NWA Food Bank.

 LPGA professional Morgan Pressel and Celebrity Chef Carla Hall were on hand for the event, which happened at the Walmart AMP. The donation ceremony also served as the official kick off of the inaugural NW Arkansas Food Festival.

Mattel Junior Clinic


 

The Mattel Junior Clinic was hosted today at Pinnacle Country Club for local children with an interest in golf. Sponsor exemption Candy Hannemann hosted a two-hour clinic with over 100 participants from the Boys & Girls Club, The First Tee and Pinnacle Country Club Junior Golfers. LPGA player Pat Hurst and tournament sponsor exemption Gaby Lopez stopped by to offer their tips and tricks to the up and coming golfers. The clinic was hosted with the purpose of promoting the game of golf to juniors in Northwest Arkansas. 

Northwest Arkansas Makes the Kindest Cut


The annual Pantene Beautiful Lengths was held Wednesday night at the Walmart AMP, hosted by P&G’s Mindy Sherwood and Walmart’s Carmen Bouza with special guests Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr and Lindsey Vonn.  Over 300 ponytails were collected, consisting of eight inches of hair each to make real-hair wigs for cancer patients. Included in that count were two LPGA players—Jane Rah and Sponsor Exemption Candy Hannemann. 

Two Grants from the Walmart Foundation to Local Boys & Girls Clubs Announced Today

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Two Grants from the Walmart Foundation to Local Boys & Girls Clubs Announced Today as Part of LPGA Week in NWA

Gifts Announced as Walmart Kids Center presented by DOVE Opens on the Course

 

Two grants  from the Walmart Foundation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton County and Fayetteville, totaling more than $360,000, were announced today by officials representing the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, and the Walmart Foundation.

The grants   were announced as part of the official opening of the tournament’s Kids Center near the 17th and 18th holes on the Pinnacle Country Club course.  Sponsored by Walmart and Unilever, the Kids Center is an air-conditioned facility on the course where parents can bring their children for games and other activities.  The Kids Center is free and open to general spectators at the tournament, and also provides good viewing of the golf on several holes.

The Walmart Foundation’s $221,687 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Benton County will support the Club’s “Health Starts Here” program.  This program supports nutrition education for families and children who attend the club.

The Foundation grant to the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club is for $138,880, and it will support one-year scholarships to provide opportunities for families and children in need in the Fayetteville to participate in Club programs.

In addition to the Walmart Foundation contributions, Unilever and the tournament presented a total of $15,000 to the two Boys & Girls Clubs.

“The overall mission of our event is to help improve the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas, so these gifts and our other charitable contributions during tournament week will further support and grow our mission,” said Jay Allen, tournament chairman.

Added Karen Stuckey, Board President of the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County, “Providing nutrition and healthy eating options for our children is an important priority for us. We are thankful for this grant from the Walmart Foundation, which will help us reach more than 1,900 children and their families, providing them with information and instruction on the importance of healthy eating habits, and even how to grow healthy foods on their own.”

Said Edward Hurley, Board President of the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club, “We are extremely grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their support of the membership scholarship program. This vital program gives low income families, children, adults and seniors the opportunity to participate in the wide variety of recreational opportunities offered at our facility and will help nearly 2,000 individuals become more physically active this year.  We sincerely appreciate the Walmart Foundation’s dedication to improving the lives of families, especially those living in economically disadvantaged situations.”   

“The Boys & Girls Club of Benton County and Fayetteville are systematically improving our region’s ability to support families and children,” said Gayatri Agnew, Director at the Walmart Foundation. “We hope these grants help them develop the programs and tools to sustain their work into the future, for the benefit of children in our community.”

Other charities in Northwest Arkansas will receive contributions this week in connection with the tournament, according to Allen, including the ALS Association of Arkansas, the Mercy Foundation of Northwest Arkansas and the NWA Food Bank.

The first round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G will kick off on Friday morning at 7:15am at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.

Volunteer Spotlight: Earl Kisling

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful group of volunteers who commit themselves to making the tournament one of the best stops on the LPGA tour. Each month, we’ll be highlighting a different volunteer chairman for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a world-class golf event, as well as get to know some of the hardworking volunteers who return year after year to the #NWAChampionship!

 

Earl Kisling is the volunteer chairman who oversees the Caddie Tent volunteers. He and his team work closely with the players’ caddies on tour—making sure they have what they need each day of the tournament and throughout the week. Earl and his wife, Donna, have been great supporters of the event since it began in 2007. Both have been integral to the success of the tournament in aspects that often go unnoticed to the general public, but certainly do not go unnoticed to tournament staff! 

 

Earl3Earl Kisling, Caddie Tent Chairman

How long have you been volunteering?

I have volunteered all eight years.

How did you get started?

After I retired my wife asked me if I wanted to be a volunteer and I told her that I would give it a try. Eight years later I’m still giving it a try.

Tell us about your committee and what your role is.

Presently I am the Caddy Tent chairperson and I have the pleasure of working with the greatest volunteers a chairperson can have. Several of the volunteers have been in the Caddy Tent for several years so I guess one could call us a family.

We see to it that the caddies and players feel welcome while they are at our championship, that they have all the information supplied to us by the LPGA, and that they have supplies they need for the tournament (refreshments, pencils ,towels, clean bibs with player name plates, etc.).

As for me, I am responsible for scheduling the volunteers and for making sure that all new volunteers receive proper training to assist the other volunteers, caddies and players. I am responsible for making sure that the bibs are taken to the laundry each day and that they are picked up each morning and organized based on the playing schedule for that day. I am also responsible for making sure that the caddies have clean towels, fresh snacks and lunch passes for each day.

What do you think is most surprising or unexpected about putting on a golf tournament of this magnitude?

I really can’t pinpoint any one thing that was a surprise or unexpected over the eight years mainly because every year seems to bring surprises. Maybe a better way to express it is, each year bring more fun than the previous year. This is very common when dealing with the caddies.

What is your favorite part about tournament week?

I don’t have a favorite part about the tournament. Every day is just so much fun being with the other volunteers, caddies and players, it makes the very long days well worth my time.

Do you have any favorite memories from over the years?

As for my favorite memories, at this point I have eight years of memories, some are very, very good and a few are not so good, all are mine to keep forever.

If you could do any other volunteer position, what would it be?

I really don’t have a desire to do anything other than the Caddy Tent, however, if my services is needed elsewhere, I would be happy to consider a change.

Local First Tee Participants Win in Naples

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Professional Golfer Gary Hallberg, Wade Schaller, Jack Wert, Executive Director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB, and Hanna Brauburger

Local First Tee Participants Win Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge and ACE Group Classic Official Pro-Am in Naples, Fla.

 

The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas participants Hanna Brauburger (18 years old) and Wade Schaller (18 years old) took home the trophy for the Golf to Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge yesterday in Naples, Fla. The pair went on to compete in the ACE Group Classic Official Pro-Am today at TwinEagles Golf Club. Hanna and Wade’s foursome took home the top prize in the Pro-Am with an official score of 51. Hanna also won the Women’s Long Drive competition for the day.

Invited to represent The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas, Hanna and Wade competed in the Playoff event on Monday, February 9. Their trip to Naples was made possible by the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G’s support of The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas.

The pair placed in the top two teams on Monday in order to advance to the Champions Challenge yesterday. Hanna and Wade ultimately took the top prize, playing alongside professional golfer Gary Hallberg. Their win allowed them the opportunity to represent The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas in the ACE Group Classic Official Pro-Am courtesy of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB.

Hanna and Wade are both seniors at Bentonville High School where they are each play on the varsity golf team. Wade has been a member of the First Tee of Northwest Arkansas since 2009, and Hanna has been a member since 2006. Both are active in the program as coaches and students.

The ACE Group Classic will be hosted at TwinEagles Golf Club on February 9-15. This Champions Tour event has been held since 1988, and will feature 81 of the world’s best players battling for a $1.6 million purse. To find out more about the ACE Group Classic and the Golf to Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge, please visit www.acegroupclassic.com

Volunteer Spotlight: Joe Deschaine

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful group of volunteers who commit themselves to making the tournament one of the best stops on the LPGA tour. Each month, we’ll be highlighting a different volunteer chairman for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a world-class golf event, as well as get to know some of the hardworking volunteers who return year after year to the #NWAChampionship!

Joe Deschaine has been volunteering with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G for several years. He is willing to help out wherever the tournament needs a hand, which is how he found his way to being the Chairman of the Standard Bearers Committee. He does whatever it takes to get the job done and we are lucky to have him!

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Volunteer Chairmen Jim Taylor, Joe Deschaine, Anita Werts and Nathan Fairchild

Joe Deschaine, Standard Bearers Committee Chairman

How long have you been volunteering?

Too many years to count! It is always a great time and I look forward to it every year. 

How did you get started?

I began as a Marshal on Hole 5 when I was looking for something to do. After volunteering as a Marshal, I found my way to the Standard Bearers Committee.

Tell us about your committee and what your role is.

I am the Chairman for the Standard Bearers. This committee is one of the best because volunteers get to walk 18 holes with each group of players while carrying a standard sign displaying each professional’s score in relation to par. Standard Bearers get the best seat in the house, walking inside the ropes with their assigned group for the entire round.

What do you think is most surprising or unexpected about putting on a golf tournament of this magnitude? 

The number of people and coordination it takes to put this event on is mind blowing. The event gets bigger and better every year. I’m excited to see what happens in 2015!

What is your favorite part about tournament week?

I enjoy it all….it's long days but there is never a dull moment. My committee shifts begin when official play starts so those three days are definitely a highlight for me!

Do you have any favorite memories from over the years? 

The people I’ve met, and seeing young ladies get inspired by talking and watching the professionals. One of these days, someone who volunteered in my committee maybe playing in this tournament.

If you could do any other volunteer position, what would it be?

I will do anything the tournament needs me to do! It is so much fun and I can’t wait to do it all again in 2015!

Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifying Schedule Announced

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The First Tee Northwest Arkansas participant with LPGA player Azahara Munoz

The Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association (USGA) and the PGA of America officially opened the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship by announcing the qualifying schedule for young golfers hoping to earn an invitation to next year’s National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. The qualifying schedule is available on the event’s website, www.DriveChipandPutt.com. Locally, Drive, Chip & Putt will host a qualifer event at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers on June 21, in conjunction with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. 

Registration for the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will begin on Thursday, January 22, also at www.DriveChipandPutt.com.

This youth golf development initiative will again include boys and girls ages 7-15, who will compete in separate divisions in four age categories. In only its third year, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will provide playing opportunities throughout all 50 states during the months of May, June, July and August. Top performers at the local level will advance through sub-regional and regional qualifiers in July/August and September, respectively. The top 80 performers – 40 boys and 40 girls – will earn an invitation to the National Finals at Augusta National on Sunday, April 3, the eve of the 2016 Masters.

The breakdown and schedule of the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship qualifying is as follows:

Local (May/June/July/August):  255 host sites spread throughout all 50 states, including Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, in conjunction with the #NWAChampionship
3 juniors advance in each age/gender category from every venue
   
Sub-Regional (July/August):  50 host sites spread throughout 45 states
2 juniors advance in each age/gender category from every venue
   
Regional (September):  10 host sites in 10 defined regions
1 junior advances in each age/gender category from every venue
   
National Finals (April 3, 2016):  80 total participants at Augusta National Golf Club 

The venues that will host the 10 regional qualifying events include several USGA Championship and PGA Championship sites: Chambers Bay Golf Course (University Place, Wash., site of the 2015 U.S. Open conducted by the USGA), Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Md.), Golf Club of Houston (Humble, Texas), Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minn., site of the 2016 Ryder Cup), Medinah Country Club (Medinah, Ill.), Oakmont Country Club (Oakmont, Pa., site of the 2016 U.S. Open), The Country Club (Brookline, Mass.), Torrey Pines Golf Course (La Jolla, Calif., site of the 2021 U.S. Open), TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) and Valhalla Golf Club (Louisville, Ky., site of the 2014 PGA Championship).

For a full list of qualifying venues at the local and sub-regional level, or for more information about the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, including official rules, please visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Shea

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful group of volunteers who commit themselves to making the tournament one of the best stops on the LPGA tour. Each month, we’ll be highlighting a different volunteer chairman for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a world-class golf event, as well as get to know some of the hardworking volunteers who return year after year to the #NWAChampionship!

Mike Shea has been an integral part of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G since year one. As the Chairman of the Pro-Am Operations Committee, Mike is responsible for recruiting cart drivers for Pro-Am teams. Mike’s interest in golf doesn’t stop with his time at the tournament. He is the Executive Director of The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas and was formally the Director of Golf and Recreation for the Bella Vista POA. Through his role with The First Tee, Mike has also worked hand in hand with the tournament’s Mattel Junior Clinic and the Walmart Kid’s Center presented by Dove. His commitment to growing the game of golf is an asset to the tournament and we are thankful he’s part of our team.

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Mike Shea with his wife Ann

Mike Shea, Pro-Am Operations Committee Chairman

How long have you been volunteering?

Since year one—the YEAR OF THE FLOODS.

How did you get started?

I was the Director of Golf in Bella Vista at the time and the first Volunteer Tournament Chair "recruited" me. He said something like, "Which committee are you going to chair?" I chose the Pro-Am and I guess have been "Peter-principled" ever since.

Tell us about your committee and what your role is.

The Pro-Am Operations team facilitates the amateur teams by driving carts and helping the players with clubs, etc. Carts are restricted to the paths, so we help to keep play moving through the course. My role is to determine which teams will not have guest drivers and to assign Pro-Am Operations team members to drive those carts.

What do you think is most surprising or unexpected about putting on a golf tournament of this magnitude? 

Probably the most surprising thing is, knowing how many dedicated volunteers it takes to help put on the event, how smoothly the event runs. I know every committee could tell you that this or that happened, but the recovery is so quick that those on the outside never see the problems.

What is your favorite part about tournament week?

Seeing the crowds on the weekend and knowing the event is a whole lot bigger than just a golf tournament.

Do you have any favorite memories from over the years?

The river on 18 the first year, the Mars Challenge in 2010 with The First Tee kids paired with the pros, and Stacy "really" winning this year.

If you could do any other volunteer position, what would it be?

We have a good time during the Pro-Am, but the range might be interesting or being the standard bearer for the last group on Sunday or . . .