Tue Jun 5 2012Tiger's Charitable side and the beginning of the "fist pump"
This week is an opportune time (Tiger winning The Memorial in great fashion) to re-publish this story I wrote in 2008 about the great work that Tiger Woods does off the course for charity. Tiger also comments on the first time he "fist pumped" the air after beating his father for the first time in a golf match. (Editor note: Tiger grew up in the same area as where I was from and at the time where I was undertaking my PGA Traineeship. We heard all about his playing achievements and saw him numerous times in the junior events we conducted each year.) What a thrill to see him do the same fist pump after holing that amazing pitch shot on Hole 16 to get him into the lead and ultimately win the 2012 Memorial Tournament. WELCOME BACK TIGER!
On a recent trip to the US, Mike Orloff visited the lesser known of Tiger Woods' charitable entities – the Tiger Woods Learning Centre.
In 1996, Tiger Woods and his father Earl established the Tiger Woods Foundation to inspire youth to dream their future goals, and pass on the values Woods felt he had learnt from his own parents and teachers. Since that time, the Foundation's character development programs, scholarships and grants have assisted over 10 million young people.
Growing up in Southern California and working in the area during my own PGA professional traineeship, I was a privileged spectator to Woods' spectacular development as a young amateur player. It's fitting that Anaheim, which neighbours Woods' childhood town of Cypress, should be the location for his latest charitable endeavour.
In January 2006 former US President Bill Clinton, along with Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, helped open the Tiger Woods Learning Centre. The two-story, 35,000 foot facility was the culmination of a four-year, $25 million campaign to transform Woods' dream of creating an educational center to inspire and support the career exploration of students.
Programs at the Learning Centre take young people beyond their traditional classroom experience through a unique after-school curriculum based on science, maths and language arts. The various programs on offer include a Career Orientation Program for elementary students and a Career Exploration Program for middle and high school students.
To explore their career ambitions, students from Orange County can choose from 50 different courses including video production, interior design, robotics, animation, biotechnology, rocket science and oceanography.
Students enrolled in the Learning Centre's core program learn the basics of golf instruction including the origin of golf, safety and rules, putting, full swing and basic character education/etiquette.
The scope of the courses on offer is staggering. On the day of my visit to the centre, an elementary school class was involved in a forensic science-based activity. The students were gathering evidence from a mock murder scene, examining clues using finger printing, DNA analysis, microscopes and chromatography.
The centre also runs community outreach programs to help students and families prepare for college through meetings featuring guest speakers who share their personal stories and career paths. College exploration and test preparation workshops are offered on Saturdays and during evenings.
A Computer Clubhouse is open to all current and past Learning Centre members after school and on Saturdays to encourage free exploration of new and innovative technology and software for digital art, web design, video production, video game creation, and music/sound production.
At the Learning Centre, Woods, along with his mother Kultida and baby daughter Sam, unveiled an eight-foot bronze statue of himself wrapping his arm around the shoulder of his late father, Earl Woods. The statue will remain in the lobby of the Learning Centre as a reminder to Woods of how his father was the support and inspiration behind the centre and the values Woods used to achieve success in his career.
An online contest was also announced then through the Tiger Woods Foundation for children around the world to share their "Fist Pump Moment" on video and e-mail. The entries submitted to www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org will be voted on by website visitors, with prizes going to the highest-ranked submissions. Prizes included iPods, Tiger Woods '08 EA Video Games and gift cards.
"There are kids around the country and around the world having these little moments they can celebrate," said Woods at the unveiling ceremony.
"I would like to have them share that with all of us, so they can communicate their experiences with each other.
"That's what my father would instill in them - keep pushing forward, keep trying to make a difference."
Asked about his first "fist pump moment," Woods recalled vividly details of a round from 21 years ago, the first time he beat his father. He was an 11-year-old playing with his father at Navy Golf Course, when Earl Woods was playing off a 1 handicap. Woods said he birdied the 16th hole to get back to even par for the round, tied with his father. Both parred the 17th.
"Eighteen is a par 5, and we both got on in regulation," Woods said.
"He missed a 20-footer, and I made a 15-footer, uphill, left-to-right - it came out of me. "That was my first fist pump - I started upper-cutting the air.
"It was the greatest thing I ever did in my life, beating my dad.
"I remember going to the 19th hole to celebrate and to rub it in."
Author: Mike Orloff Director Golf Industry Central ©2008
Mike Orloff is a golf marketing and operations specialist with management experience in the golf industry in Australia and United States. He offers marketing and operational advice for golfing facilities in the areas of revenue generation, membership attainment and retention, new player development, staff recruitment, event management and retail management.
Marketing to grow golf businesses is Mike’s main focus these days.
As a current US and Australian PGA Member, Mike has more than 22 years of experience working his way up from pro shop assistant to general manager of two to five-star operations for two of the biggest international golf management companies globally. Now Mike is offering his experience, knowledge and tools to golf clubs and other golf-related businesses in Australia and New Zealand.
Articles by Mike Orloff