Some people approach the game of golf as a way to relax on a sunny afternoon. Others approach it as a serious pursuit, looking for a pro gig. And some, like La Mesa, California resident Clay Phillips, approach it as a way to help others.
Last Thursday (Oct. 7) Phillips arrived in Taos in the early afternoon. By 2 p.m. he was teeing off at Taos Country Club as part of his “50in50in50Golf4Water” charity drive. Here’s the idea: Phillips will travel to all 50 states in 50 days (no small feat on its own), and play a round of golf at each stop.
“I’m hoping to feel less guilty about doing this self-indulgent escapade by making it something of higher value through gathering supporters to give their money for a great cause,” said Philips.
All of the proceeds Phillips gathers will go directly toward efforts to provide clean water to underserved areas around the country. He is paying all of his own travel, lodging, food, and golf costs out of his own pocket. His goal is to raise $100,000 for two charities, Project Blue and Water First International.
The inspiration came to Philips 20 years ago when he was waiting for a flight and watching the news in the airport bar. He saw a story about the lack of clean drinking water in some parts of the world and decided that, someday, he would find a way to help. Flash forward a couple of decades and Phillips is making that dream happen.
Phillips’s odyssey began on Aug. 24 in Honolulu, Hawaii. New Mexico marks the 48th stop on his tour. His journey came to an end on Tuesday (Oct. 12) when he sank the final putt on the 18th hole at El Cajon Golf Course in San Diego, California.
Local resident Richard Kruse paired with Phillips and assisted in making all of the arrangements on the Taos end. He even awarded Phillips with a Taos Country Club cap to mark the occasion.
Phillips isn't the first golfer to come up with the fundraising idea. According to Forbes, Pete Crozier raised more than $50,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in 2019, also by playing 50 rounds of golf in 50 different states over the course of 50 days.