Tiffany Chaisson is not your average travelling golfer.
She took up the game while working as a waitress at a golf resort on Prince Edward Island in Canada and likes to joke that being recently divorced, she replaced her husband with a set of golf clubs.
It’s been a love affair ever since.
A self-described, “golf passionista,” Tiffany started a golf, travel and food blog, and has circled the globe multiple times, playing over 120 courses in 10 countries.
Yes, you read that correctly. Three years. 120 courses. 10 countries.
It doesn’t stop there. In 2016, on her second golf tour of Ireland, Tiffany heard stories of kids who loved golf, but whose families couldn’t afford for them to play. She immediately decided to change that and founded a non-profit called Fairways, to sponsor disadvantaged juniors their golf membership and lessons.
With a guiding vision entitled, “Golf without bounds,” Fairways’ goal is to develop golf at the junior level while also supporting golf businesses and professionals.
The kids don’t need to be talented either. They just need to love the game of golf and be in disadvantageous situations, such as family bereavements or illness, such that they can’t afford to play. Fairways will support them at this time, as Tiffany believes keeping such juniors on course will create lifetime golfers and help to maintain a sustainable participation base for generations to come.
Fewer than 18 months since she developed her vision, Fairways is sponsoring 20 children in 4 countries. Canada, India, Nepal and Bolivia.
What’s even more amazing is that Tiffany didn’t wait to raise money before she got started. She just started paying for Fairways cadets out of her own pocket, trusting that fundraising would occur as momentum built.
It was very difficult at first. Tiffany racked-up $20,000 in credit card debt, sleeping on couches as she travelled, all in order to build Fairways and direct money to the kids. Even now, she still works as a waitress during the summer to help keep the payments under control.
Fundraising has proven to be a challenge. There are many worthy causes and donation fatigue is real. People are asked to put their hands in their pockets all the time. Volunteers are hard to come by too. Golf clubs are so busy managing their businesses these days that even those who are keen to help, have problems finding the time.
Tiffany finally made a breakthrough when her Fairways team came up with its Awesome 4somes concept in June 2017.
Awesome 4somes are auctions of 4 player tee times, donated by courses around the world and sold on the Fairways website. The auctions start at 50% of each tee time’s total value and have a buy now option for 75% of total value.
All proceeds go towards Fairways junior programs and it has proven to be an early success. Golf courses can donate a tee time at a low marginal cost to their business, and Fairways handles all promotion (including social media) and sales, so no volunteering is required.
Tee time buyers win too. They get a great deal, they get to support a good cause, and they get value from their donated dollar in the form of a round of golf. Often at exclusive courses. In Canada, both Fox Harb’r and The Devil’s Paintbrush have donated to Awesome 4somes. In Scotland, St. Andrew’s has donated a tee time at the Castle Course!
As Awesome 4somes grows, so too will Tiffany be able to expand Fairways’ programs to new countries and more children.
“Fairways is unique. We’re not a short-term introductory program for golf. We’re in it for the long-haul with our cadets. As long as they need us, we’ll support them. And we’re global,” says Tiffany. “We complement other golf charities too. If a junior completes one of their programs and needs financial assistance to continue playing, that’s where Fairways jumps in.”