Annual golf tournaments raise big dollars for research funding

Since 1989, more than 300 schools have participated in the Marquette Challenge, raising $4.6 million for physical therapy research. Funds raised through the Challenge have provided funding for clinical researchers and support the rigorous scientific review process that sets FPTR apart in physical therapy research funding.  From 5ks to virtual yoga and holiday sweater contests, students who participate in the Marquette Challenge have found many creative ways to support research through the years.

Indiana University and 2022-2023 Challenge cohosts Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) both hold annual golf tournaments. Golf tournaments offer an active way to connect with local networks while supporting physical therapy research. Indiana University’s golf tournament has become a tradition for students and the community alike. Though golf tournaments require additional coordination — Indiana University’s day consisted of breakfast, course contests, lunch, and prizes — the returns can also be greater.

“The IU DPT Fundraising Committee is preparing for our 8th Annual Golf Outing this year,” said Kaytlin Galloway, SPT. “This fundraiser is definitely a student, alumni, and clinician favorite. Our primary source of funds is from local business sponsorships, including many within the PT and adjacent fields. We are immensely thankful for the local Indianapolis support over the years! Our alumni and other sponsors often form teams and request current IU DPT students to play alongside them. This results in a great networking opportunity while also raising funds for IU DPT student scholarships and the Marquette Challenge. We also offer drink packages and golf-related games at holes to add on to the fun!”

To make these events successful, coordinators had to first communicate with a golf facility; find vendors for food, apparel, and signage; reach out to sponsors; and create team and individual player packages. One package option VCU offered was “lunch and lawn games” for people that did not want to participate in the tournament, but still wanted to donate and be involved in the day. This is a great way to make the event a whole community affair.

Promotion is critical for participation. To do this, both schools created a website to centralize information. On their sites they detail the cause, prices for packages, sponsor opportunities, donation information, and an overview of the day.

Using social media and personal networks, news of these events can travel quickly and give schools the boost they need in fundraising. For more detail on how to make a successful golf tournament fundraiser or planning other events, connect with our Marquette Challenge toolkit.


Indiana University students hold an annual golf tournament in support of research