Auto industry golf fundraisers seem to be declining


Hey, Golf Tour: Watch Out!

I have to say, I’m a little concerned about the industry’s golf festivals. No, it’s not the end of the world: the fate of the auto industry or Detroit or humanity doesn’t depend on the auto industry golf fundraiser. But I think I see a change – in generation, in marketing, in business practices – that is not unlike the dissolution of the international auto show.

I’m not a good golfer – I never got that in the game. But I do know how to play, more or less, and I enjoy hanging out once in a while with family or friends or for work events. I’m lucky that I get invited to two or three events a year, and when it works out, it’s often a happy time in which to put a big pile of money to a good cause.

The Paul W. Smith Golf Classic is a massive Detroit fundraiser, serving four local children’s charities. Perhaps as an exception to the rule, it did almost as much this year as it did in 2019 – more than $480,000, compared to $500,000 before the pandemic. Smith said Mark Snethkamp Sr., president of the Snethkamp Automotive Family in Highland Park, Mich., donated an additional $5,000 at the end of the day, and after challenging others to match it, Smith said the total this year was half a million. has exceeded. (Four or so did, Smith told me.)

Participation in the event looked strong, but the sponsorship appeared to be closed. Certainly not the gamut of donor tables seen in previous years.

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Raising the roughly pre-pandemic amount was impressive – hands down. If going back to gift bags means ensuring that the Detroit PAL and other programs serving 55,000 youth can be fully funded, then it’s undoubtedly the right call.

(As a matter of full disclosure, I should note that I record opinion pieces that air early every Friday on Smith’s Detroit radio show.)