Golf fundraiser helps Trojans take a big swing at coast-to-coast recruitment
CALGARY — From a recruitment standpoint, an event like this may help the SAIT Trojans pull the big dog out of the bag.
In only its second year of existence, the SAIT Trojans Open golf fundraiser — which tees off Wednesday, Aug. 29 at Country Hills Golf Course, and is presented by Calgary Professional Skate Service Ltd. — has already made big strides in terms of sponsorship and participation.
Looking down the road, the SAIT Trojans Open may well turn out to be the primary instrument that helps Trojans teams attract student athletes from coast to coast, says SAIT Trojans athletics manager Mark Pretzlaff.
“In this day and age, it seems that scholarship dollars remain static while tuition keeps rising, so we’ve got to be creative in how we provide support,” says Pretzlaff. “All proceeds of the SAIT Trojans Open go directly into our Trojan Athletic Foundation scholarship pot, which helps support all of our teams and all of our student athletes.
“In the big picture, this will help our coaches recruit on a national basis, and demonstrate the benefits of coming to Calgary and studying at SAIT Polytechnic.”
The Alberta provincial government’s Jimmie Condon Athletic Scholarship is worth $1,800 each year to full-time students who are residents of Alberta and maintain a 2.0 grade-point average, with coaches able to nominate a limited number of players per team. The SAIT Trojans Open will be a key component of the Trojan Athletic Foundation’s ability to provide equal scholarship dollars to those who do not fit the Condon criteria — and perhaps take things to another level for the entire SAIT student-athlete community. “The Trojan Athletic Foundation was developed with the idea of ensuring all of our athletes, regardless of whether they’re Alberta residents or not, have access to this pot of scholarship money,” says Pretzlaff.
From a participation perspective, the second annual SAIT Trojans Open, which begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Country Hills, has attracted 96 golfers, a 33-per-cent increase over the 2011 inaugural edition.
It has also seen a significant boost in sponsorship — including a presenting sponsor in Calgary Professional Skate Service Ltd.
Canadian Campus Communities and Capital Printing and Forms have each stepped up to sponsor hole-in-one contests, which offer a $5,000 cash prize.
Davis LLP Legal Advisors is this year’s cart sponsor, while seven outfits — Apple Fitness, Cardel Homes, Industrial Machines, Specialized Tech Ltd., Sharps AV, Jostens, and Spry Design — have signed on as hole sponsors. Chartwells is supplying breakfast, while Big Rock Brewery will be offering beverages at the turn.
There’ll be a long-drive contest, a longest-putt contest, and a closest-to-the-pin competition, with contest prizes including a luxury men’s wristwatch offered by the Nelligan Group and an upright stationery bike supplied by Apple Fitness. Golfer goodie bags will include a hat, golf tools and towel, and $25 gift cards courtesy of Calgary Professional Skate Service Ltd.
“I think the incredible success we’re seeing here, in only the second year of this event, just speaks volumes in terms of the community recognizing what this tournament is all about,” says SAIT Trojans marketing representative Jim McLean, an organizational lynchpin of the SAIT Trojans Open.
“In addition to supporting the Trojan Athletic Foundation, this allows our corporate sponsors and corporate players to meet the athletes firsthand,” adds McLean. “We want our student athletes, no matter what program they’re in, to meet someone in industry at this tournament, have a chat with them, and possibly secure employment down the road.”