MATT KUCHAR USES PRESIDENTS CUP DONATION TO HELP CAMP TWIN LAKES
While the Presidents Cup consistently delivers one of the most exciting weeks on golf’s calendar, the impact from the biennial event is felt long after the final putt drops and the trophy is hoisted. Unlike many other events, Presidents Cup participants do not receive prize money for their involvement or performance. Instead, the PGA TOUR pledges to contribute to charities, which are nominated by the players, captains and captains’ assistants from both teams.
A four-time U.S. Presidents Cup Team member and current FedExCup standings leader, Matt Kuchar understands the pride that comes with representing his country and the opportunity to give back to worthy causes that are close to his heart.
At No. 4 in the Presidents Cup standings, Kuchar is primed for a return trip to The Royal Melbourne Golf Club when the Presidents Cup makes its way back to the famed Melbourne Sandbelt for a third time this December.
One of those worthy causes that Kuchar supported as a member of the 2017 Presidents Cup was Camp Twin Lakes (CTL), which he and his wife, Sybi, began supporting in 2010.
Founded in 1992, Camp Twin Lakes’ (CTL) mission is to provide year-round camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges to help each camper grow in their confidence and experience the joys of childhood.
In 2012, the couple – former Georgia Tech standouts in golf and tennis, respectively – started hosting the annual Camp Twin Lakes Golf Tournament, which has since raised more than $1.7 million to provide transformative summer camp adventures for thousands of Georgia kids who are not able to attend typical camps.
So, when Sybi and Matt had the opportunity to up both totals – funds and, more importantly, children impacted – and keep things close to home, they didn’t hesitate.
The funds assist CTL with serving nearly 10,000 children and teens from all 159 counties across Georgia at their three fully-accessible campsites in Rutledge, Winder and Warm Springs.
“In 2018 alone, Matt’s support has enabled us to provide week-long therapeutic camping experiences for 90 children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges,” said Camp Twin Lakes COO Dan Matthews. “With help from our donors, Camp Twin Lakes is able to subsidize 70 percent of the cost of each camper, and most of our campers attend camp at no cost to their families.
“We are so grateful to Matt for helping create this opportunity for our campers to build confidence, independence, community, and healing through his support of Camp Twin Lakes.”
A nine-time winner on the PGA TOUR – including THE PLAYERS Championship in 2012 – Kuchar’s donation aided CTL in hosting a record 3,600 Georgia children and young adults in the summer of 2018. Several of these campers attend the CTL Golf Tournament each year and have developed a bond with Kuchar, including Noel Reese, a 14-year-old who has epilepsy and is an avid golfer.
“Camp is a wonderful experience, especially if you are at a camp where everyone is like you,” Noel said. “At CTL, you can be a regular kid. You can do anything you set your mind to.
“It is through camp that I have met many wonderful people, including Mr. Kuchar. Mr. Kuchar is an amazing man with a heart of gold. He is a big inspiration to me when it comes to playing golf. …Meeting him is a privilege that I would not have without the amazing people at Camp Twin Lakes. Camp is an amazing place. I have referred to it many times as my ‘home away from home.’”
Noel, of course, isn’t the only child to call CTL “home.” Far from it.
She isn’t even the only one in her own family.
Her younger brother, Jax, also has epilepsy and attends Camp Twin Lakes. Her older brother, Tyler, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, also chose to participate in Camp Twin Lakes’ programs to connect with other kids with diabetes.
“I am so very grateful for Camp Twin Lakes and the generosity of Matt Kuchar,” said Kim Reese, mother of the three children. “For a couple of years before an epilepsy diagnosis, Noel had attended a ‘regular’ sleepaway camp. I knew the experience of that type of freedom was so very important for her, something I didn’t want her to lose.
“Along with CTL, Mr. Kuchar has had a great impact on Noel’s life. Because of him, she wants to join the LPGA when the time is right. He sparked a fire within Noel and helped her to find a talent that has turned into a passion. … Our family is grateful to him, not only for what he does for CTL as a whole, but for the healing spirit he gifted to Noel.”
In addition to dedicating his own time and resources to CTL, Kuchar has also encouraged many other PGA TOUR professionals to participate in the camp’s annual golf tournament as well. They include Ollie Schneiderjans, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Chris Kirk, Roberto Castro, Kevin Sutherland, Paul Goydos, Lee Janzen, Billy Andrade, David Frost, Olin Browne, Michael Allen, Joe Durant and Scott Dunlap.
Camp Twin Lakes provides year-round, fully-accessible, and intentionally designed camp programs that teach campers to overcome obstacles while creating shared experiences with other children who face similar challenges. After spending every other day of the year adapting to the world around them, for one week, camp adapts to them.
There are no other fully accessible and medically equipped camp programs in Georgia able to meet the extensive range of needs of CTL’s campers. Unlike other organizations that are dedicated to programs for a specific diagnosis, CTL serves children with asthma, spina bifida, cancer, HIV, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, brain injuries, hemophilia, Tourette syndrome, autism, arthritis, visual impairments, developmental disabilities, sickle cell disease, celiac disease, Crohn’s and colitis, as well as kids in foster care, transplant recipients, and kids who have lost a loved one.
The 2019 Presidents Cup will be held on December 9-15, 2019, when it returns to the prestigious Royal Melbourne Golf Club. The return to the State of Victoria, Australia, will mark the third time in the biennial event’s 25-year history. To find hospitality opportunities, information on travel packages, and ticket options, please visit www.presidentscup.com.
For more information about Camp Twin Lakes or to donate, please visit www.camptwinlakes.org.