The Bethany Cup: Golf, and a Greater Purpose

Over the past 30 years, I’ve played in a number of charity golf events. Usually, they are scramble type affairs where camaraderie and supporting a worthy cause remain the primary considerations. Golf is somewhat secondary or at least that’s what I tell people. A tournament with a different twist in the format is the Bethany Cup set for Sept. 16. Held annually since 2006, it’s an entertaining yet competitive Ryder Cup type event where teams go head-to-head in a 27-hole tournament at Egypt Valley Country Club in Grand Rapids. The Bethany Cup is actually an add-on to the Bethany Open held in July which is one of the largest four-person scramble events in West Michigan.

The Bethany Cup's winning International team in 2012

The Bethany Cup’s winning International team in 2012

Aimed largely at thanking its corporate sponsors, the Bethany Cup in September is organized into three 9-hole events: 1) a four-ball (2-person, best ball); 2) foursomes (two-person, alternate shot); and 3) singles (individual). The American team is co-captained by WOOD-TV’s Terri DeBoer and Jack Doles while the International Team is co-captained by WZZM-TV’s Catherine Behrendt and Janet Mason.

Fortunate to have played in The Bethany Cup several times, I’ve always come away impressed with the organization and volunteers surrounding the tournament but I’m also nicely reminded of all the good work Bethany Christian Services does. Founded in 1944 in Grand Rapids, it has served thousands of children at various levels. And although it’s the nation’s largest adoption agency, providing services on five continents in 20 countries, Bethany’s mission is broad-based. In addition to adoption and post-adoption assistance, it supports individuals and families with pregnancy counseling, foster care, training and refugee services.

“Many people don’t realize that Bethany is more than an adoption agency,” said Robin Bright, Bethany’s Event Operations Manager and a key tournament organizer. “We’re proud of that legacy but we also see ourselves as a leader in family preservation and social services.”

Bright says the July golf tournament raised nearly $230,000 in funds for the faith-based organization, 75% of which was delivered by corporate sponsors. “The Bethany Cup is our opportunity to pay an extra special thanks to our ever generous sponsors,” said Bright. “And we’re especially appreciative of our media captains from TV-8 and TV-13.”

Monday’s friendly and spirited competition is another way the game of golf serves a greater purpose for the good and welfare of the community. In a video found on Bethany’s website, a voice sums up the agency’s mission and the Bethany Cup’s rallying cry: “A child’s best chance to thrive is to be a part of a safe, loving family.”


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