Gary Player gives back

“It is not what you have, it’s what you do with what you have that makes all the difference,” said former professional golfer and longtime philanthropist Gary Player.

That’s a mantra that the legendary Player has spent his life following.

From his humble upbringing in Johannesburg, South Africa, Player knows firsthand what it feels like to have nothing.

His mother passed away when he was 8 years old, and the youngster was often left alone while his father spent long days working in the
gold mines.

“I’d lay in bed crying, wishing I was dead,” Player recalled, “but it was actually a great gift bestowed upon me and it led me to become a
world champion.”

Player’s love affair with the game of golf started when he was just 14 and his father took out a loan to purchase his first set of golf clubs. He would go on to have a decorated career as a professional golfer that included winning 167 professional tournaments worldwide and nine major championships on the PGA Tour — becoming one of only five men to capture a career Grand Slam.

Aside from his long list of achievements and contributions to the game, Player has also had a striking effect on the world away from the
golf course.

Through his nonprofit, The Gary Player Foundation, he has raised more than $64 million in the past three decades to support children’s charities, the advancement of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities.

Though that figure is impressive by any standard, it’s still shy of the goal Player set for his foundation — raising $100 million by 2025.

“My great thrill is giving,” he said.

Player and his foundation moved even closer toward that goal during the 2017 Berenberg Gary Player Invitational at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Oct. 2. Sponsored by German private and investment bank Berenberg, the Invitational raised more than $300,000 for The
Player Foundation.

For the event, Player recruited an all-star lineup of golf heavyweights, including eight-time Major winner Tom Watson, six-time Major winner Lee Trevino, Masters champion Bernhard Langer and Cristie Kerr, a 19-time winner on
the LPGA.

Following a day on the greens, the golfers joined supporters for a black-tie dinner and gala auction, where a collection of autographed Masters badges from 1960 to 2017 sold for $160,000.

“Each year I am humbled by the turnout of this event and the support we receive for The Player Foundation,” Player said. “I am grateful for the kindness of our colleagues and friends, who have given their time and generosity to helping us reach our goal of raising $100 million for those in need.”

GlenArbor holds a special place in Player’s heart. Not only is it one of his favorite places to enjoy playing the sport he loves, it is a course he designed himself.

“When I designed this course, I had such respect for the ground and the trees, making sure that the things that are important are maintained,” he said.

This year marked the third time the U.S. leg of the global series was staged at GlenArbor.

“I think this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen,” Player said of Westchester County. “The beauty is something I enjoy — the trees, especially. I’m a fan of nature myself.”

For more, visit garyplayer.com.

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