Kaulig Companies Championship excited for charitable efforts just as much as PGA Tour Champions golf this week

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The PGA Tour Champions, the men’s professional senior golf tour for players age 50 and older, has five majors on its schedule each year compared to the regular Tour’s four. 

The fourth of five for the season comes this weekend in Akron, Ohio at Firestone Country Club – an event that is not just about world-class golf. 

The Senior Players Championship is now the Kaulig Companies Championship, and executive chairman of Kaulig Companies Limited, Matt Kaulig, loves being able to do what he has always strived to do in his entrepreneurial journey: give back to his community. 

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This tournament had an impressive track record prior to Kaulig Companies Championship being on the banner, as it was the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for quite some time before the PGA Tour moved that annual outing to Memphis, Tennessee. So, while it was a celebration of some great golf with tremendous stakes for these players, the tournament has raised over $32 million for charitable organizations. 

As someone who has strived to give back to Northeast Ohio, Kaulig was excited when he saw over $1.3 million being raised for charities in his first year as title sponsor in 2023. 

“We broke it in last year after Bridgestone had it for 16 years,” Kaulig, founder of Leaf Home and owner of NASCAR’s Kaulig Racing, told Fox Business Digital. “I think this is the 71st year in a row that the PGA is playing golf there, so it means a lot. I know it means a lot to the community, it means a lot to the University of Akron. So, everything we do in Northeast Ohio and in Akron, it means a lot.”

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What the Kaulig Companies Championship has done to help maximize those charitable efforts is making this golf tournament not just an experience for true fans of the game. Kaulig and his team are doing something this week that many other tentpole events in sports are of late: creating an experience for every type of consumer. 

Every Kaulig Companies Championship ticket holder has the opportunity to watch these legends golf this week, but there is also the Kaulig Infinity Zone that will be on the grounds, which is no extra cost to fans. 

This Infinity Zone is over 40,000 square feet and will have live music, interactive golf activities, bar and lounge areas, food trucks, celebrity sightings and much more. After play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Infinity Zone will turn into a full concert, with live performances from international touring artists like Kameron Marlowe. 

“I think the area is four times bigger than it was last year,” Kaulig explained. “It’s gonna be so much fun, and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish. We’re not even talking about golf actually, which is interesting. We joke about that with the concert series, food trucks and a place to smoke cigars and drink bourbon. You want people to come out. Everybody is not a giant golf fan, but if we can get some pretty good weather and people can get outside and walk around and have some fun in Akron, Ohio, that’s what we’re looking to accomplish.”

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Furthermore, NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, the recipient of the 2024 Ambassador of Golf Award, will also be helping charitable efforts with his Ambassador of Golf Event at LeBron James’ House 330 in Akron on July 11. Manning received the award after making a difference in the game of golf with his Peyback Foundation for disadvantage youth. 

PGA Tour Champions player Billy Andrade called last year’s event “very, very special,” and is convinced things will be even better this time around. 

However, while he cannot wait to see all the tournament has to offer, he is solely focused on what he believes is one of the toughest golf courses in the country this week. 

“If you polled every PGA Tour player who’s ever played there and said, ‘What’s the hardest course you’ve played,’ I’d be surprised if that wasn’t at the top of the list,” Andrade told Fox Business Digital. 

“It’s so tight. It’s hard to hit fairways because a lot of the fairways are crowned. If you hit it in the rough at Firestone, you’re in trouble. And then the greens are firm, they’re not very big. So, you got all these obstacles in front of you, so if you can break par every day – if you could shoot 1-, 2-under par every day at Firestone, you’re going to win the golf tournament. It’s just very, very challenging.”

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With great golf and great causes this tournament will be impacting, the Kaulig Companies Championship wants to see good weather in Akron this week because they know this event could have a chance to top that $1.3 million raised last year. 

“The way we talk about it even as a company, as a team is the more money we make, the more we can give. That’s just been my mantra here for the last decade where it’s true,” Kaulig said. “It’s obviously not bad to do great in business and make money, but I think it’s bad if you don’t give some back and use it for good in the community.

“We’re really doing a lot for the community, and we give back through our charitable giving programs.”

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