June 09, 2014

Learning to give

The Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs (TWCP) is a series of regional tournaments played at some of the world’s most prestigious golf courses. Winners from each regional event, as well as any team that fundraises a minimum of $10,000 for charity, will receive a VIP Stay-and-Play package and join Tiger Woods at the TWCP Finals in Orlando, Fla.

On Monday, June 9, more than 80 golfers will tee it up at Merion Golf Club, home of 16 USGA championships, including five U.S. Opens. Among them will be 11-year-old Aaron Grewell, member of The First Tee, who will compete in the inaugural Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs. 

If you visit Aaron’s team page, you’ll see a list of comments wishing him good luck as he raises money for Philadelphia’s Kids on the Hill, the Golf Association of Philadelphia and the Tiger Woods Foundation. I asked Aaron and his uncle Heath, who he will compete with at Merion, about their experience competing in the Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs. 

Q: How did you hear about the Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs, and why did you think it was a good cause for Aaron to get involved with?

Heath: Last year Aaron’s grades were not the best, so I used a trip to The Presidents Cup to see Tiger as motivation. This year, I told him if he maintained A’s and B’s, we’d do something special involving Tiger. I found the Charity Playoffs on Tiger’s website. He not only excelled in school but joined The First Tee and became a model student.

Q: What do you want Aaron to learn from this experience? 

Heath: Aaron is at the age where he will learn others are not as fortunate as he is. He started thinking of this as a chance to meet his idol, but now he is talking about how today he received a donation that will help other kids. Aaron is also shy, so asking for a donation has been difficult, but he’s learning. Lastly, I want us to succeed to show Aaron that with hard work you can achieve your dreams.

Q: Aaron, how have you worked to raise money for the Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs? 

Aaron: I used my parents’ Facebook page and asked my friends and family, teachers, bus driver and The First Tee coach. I also talked to the nurses at the Children’s Hospital treating my younger brother. Finally, I passed out fliers in my neighborhood and local golf courses.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most about playing Merion?

Aaron: To play the same course Tiger played in the U.S. Open. It is very old with history. Bobby Jones played as a kid there, just like me. It will also be a challenge to win, but I learned this year I have many challenges and I succeeded. I improved my school work, I did really well at The First Tee and my golf swing is getting better. Of course, I want to win so I can go to Orlando in December.

Q: When did you start playing golf, and what is your favorite club in the bag to play? 

Aaron: I started playing seriously last summer with my uncle Heath. My putter is my favorite club. I like to make long putts just like Tiger. 

Q: What have you learned about supporting charities through raising money and participating in the Charity Playoffs? 

Aaron: It is more than the chance to meet Tiger. It is about helping other kids have the chance to succeed. My uncle Heath said it is better to have many small donors because we are spreading Tiger’s message about helping others.

For more information on the Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs and to sign up, visit www.twcharityplayoffs.com and join the conversation using the hashtag #TWCharityPlayoffs.