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Tournaments full of laughter
People visiting Kings Course of BRG Kings Island Golf Resort in Dong Mo, Son Tay district, Hanoi on the day that the VIR’s charity golf tournament Swing for the Kids takes place will be in for a pleasant surprise. Although it only lasts half a day, from the beginning to the end, sunny smiles are always visible on the faces of golfers together with the enthusiastic handshakes that are given everywhere, from the check-in hall, on the golf courses or in the gala banquet hall at the end of the day. For the participants, Swing for the Kids is like an annual special appointment at which they must be present. They have the opportunity to meet old friends, play golf and work together for a noble cause.
Le Trong Minh, VIR’s editor-in-chief and head of the Organising Board of Swing for the Kids shared some emotional stories that he has witnessed over the years of organising the tournament. He says that, there are many people who as well as being golfers are also sponsors and supporters for Swing for the Kids. This includes sponsoring items for an auction held on the gala night to contribute more to the Swing for the Kids scholarship fund.
Just like in the 2018 season, the 19th hole is an exclusive place for dramatic play-off rounds, perched on the top of a waterfall, overlooking a large lake away from the greens of Kings Course posing plenty of must-try challenges for golfers. The Organising Board placed a donation box there so that after each stroke, the golfers could directly donate VND500,000 to the scholarship fund. There were players who played the hole three times but donated four lots of money. There were also golfers who, right after receiving the prize, returned it to the scholarship fund, such as golfer Nguyen Hong Tuan, who successfully performed a hole-in-one at Swing for the Kids 2018 and donated VND30 million to the Swing for the Kids scholarship.
“Like any sport, golf also has antagonism among players due to a very clear hierarchical division. However, at the Swing for the Kids tournament, golf is considered a bridge connecting strangers from many localities, operating in many fields, but sharing the same passion for volunteering. We always see joy and the desire to support students in each golfer participating in the tournament,” Minh said.
More than ten years ago, golfer Nguyen Van Hao, former general secretary of the Vietnam golf association, suggested that Vietnam Investment Review should organise a charity golf tournament to support studious children from low income families in their studies. “The Vietnamese golfers are mostly successful people with good economic conditions. They and their businesses are individuals and organisations involved with many community-oriented charitable activities, because it is a criterion of a successful business. Golf is the most addictive “sport”, with strong connections, so choosing golf for a charity event is absolutely correct,” Hao affirmed.
Convergence of philanthropists
Over 12 years of growth, the charity golf tournament Swing for the Kids has increasingly expanded in scale and spread its influence. However, in order to shape the brand, the founders of the tournament played an important role in building its success. These included the former ministers of planning and investment, Vo Hong Phuc and Bui Quang Vinh, former general secretary of Vietnam Golf Association Nguyen Van Hao and former VIR editor-in-chief Nguyen Anh Tuan. With enthusiasm and the desire to contribute more to the community, they actively supported the launch of a large-scale tournament, although golf at that time was considered a sport only for the rich. As fact, former VIR editor-in-chief Nguyen Anh Tuan and current VIR editor-in-chief Le Trong Minh have made great contributions to maintaining and building the name and reputation of the tournament in recent years despite the fact that neither play golf.
In addition to the fierceness and perseverance of members of the Organising Board, the most important determinant for the sustainability of a tournament is positive support from sponsors and golfers. There are sponsors who have accompanied Swing for the Kids right from the first days to the journey of granting the scholarships such as BRG, SeABank, Vingroup and Kinderword Education. There are also golfers who have been with the tournament for many years, who have decided to stay with Swing for the Kids as sponsors and supporters as they understand the social significance and humanitarian meaning. Many other players, even though they are not known for any specific role, through small actions have created successful steps for each season.
After a long journey, Swing for the Kids is still one of the few charity golf tournaments that has earned a reputation and resonance amongst golf enthusiasts. VIR’s editor-in-chief Le Trong Minh said, “Recently, there have been many activities aimed at disadvantaged students in the form of a golf tournament organised by other agencies and businesses, but we do not feel any difficulty or pressure because there is no competition here, just joining hands to contribute for the development of the community.”
The former general secretary of the Vietnam Golf Association Nguyen Van Hao also shares the joy and pride when referring to the Swing for the Kids charity golf tournament: “I am still happy because the goal of the tournament – to support Vietnamese children - is still continuing to be the target of the “swings” of golfers as well as the Organising Board of the tournament.