How the largest owner of private golf clubs is fighting against Covid-19

blood drive

ClubCorp has donated over 2,000 pints of blood so far.


Not only is Covid-19 a deadly and unpredictable virus, it is an isolating one. As it continues to rage throughout the U.S, we find ourselves more (physically) distant and detached from our community and loved ones. However, one organization in the golf community is taking matters into its own hands, and coming together to help those in need.

ClubCorp — the largest owner and operator “of private golf and country clubs, city and stadium clubs in North America” — has hosted 75 blood drives at over 50 of its clubs across the country. According to David Pillsbury, CEO of ClubCorp, members and employees have donated over 2,300 pints of blood to the American Red Cross — which will save 7,500 lives.

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“When we came to our membership, we said, ‘Hey,  Covid-19 has created a major problem that no one has really thought much about, and that is … no one is going to give blood,” Pillsbury said. “And as we reopen the economy and people start driving again and there’s accidents and there’s elective surgeries and so forth. There’s going to be a massive need, with an amazing shortage, because blood has a shelf life … So predictably our members quickly embraced this as a very important local community activity that would make a difference in their communities.”

Pillsbury credits the immense generosity found in these clubs to the people who comprise them. As Pillsbury notes, it is important to recognize these clubs not solely as establishments, but “a nexus of citizens in a community — and communities are made up of moms and dad’s business people and business owners and employees and retail establishments, charitable establishments.”

When asked about the origins of the idea to donate blood, Pillsbury credits a somewhat unlikely source: his wife.

“[My wife and I] were sitting around in quarantine,” Pillsbury recalls. “And we were talking about, ‘what can we do to use this platform to make a difference? And she said, ‘How about if [ClubCorp] organizes a blood drive?’ And I said, ‘Brilliant idea!’”

Pillsbury envisions a future where ClubCorp members continue to embrace this trend of philanthropy, with the goal of becoming one of the American Red Cross’ top contributors. His hope is likely to become a reality, as there are already 15 more blood drives planned for ClubCorp partnered clubs.

Pillsbury also hopes to see other clubs and organizations follow suit, and use their platform for the social good.

“I would encourage other clubs to reach out to us and we’ll hook them up with the right people at the Red Cross. And they can join the cause. This is certainly not something that’s exclusive to ClubCorp, and we’d like to see all clubs participate, and see the industry become a major partner for the Red Cross,” Pillsbury said. “I think we could make a huge impact.”

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