Kate Kombo Golf and Pickleball Tournament to help fight childhood cancer


The Kate Amato Foundation will conduct its inaugural Kate Kombo Golf and Pickleball Tournament presented by Northwestern Mutual on Oct. 20 at The Yards in Sawgrass. All net proceeds from this event will benefit The Kate Amato Foundation, which funds innovative, nontoxic treatments for childhood cancer.

There is nothing typical about this unique tournament, which offers something for everyone. Twenty golf foursomes will play a shotgun start, 15-hole course, culminating in a shoot-out for the top teams. Meanwhile, 36 pickleball pairs will simultaneously compete on 12 courts in a waterfall format, which consists of a combination of round robin and single elimination. Four rounds of round robin take place, and then, based on the results, teams will move into a single elimination draw. This guarantees a minimum of five games for each team.

At the end of tournament play, all golfers and picklers will reunite on the expansive Yards patio for further fun, fundraising, awards and a luncheon. There is even an option for spectators to attend, cheer and heckle throughout the day.

“This event has been in discussions for quite some time, and we are thrilled to finally share it with everyone,” said Jeff and Lisa Amato, co-founders of Kate Amato Foundation. “We have had such a tremendous response from the local community and businesses to our Kate Kup Triples Tennis Tournament that when The Yards shared their plans for pickleball courts, we were excited to expand on our unique signature Kate events that bring people together for our cause.”

The couple lost their daughter, Kate Amato, at the age of 11 in November 2016, after a long and difficult battle with cancer. She is the inspiration for the foundation. Through her illness, Kate’s parents discovered how severely underfunded research was for pediatric cancer and witnessed first-hand the brutal effects of outdated, toxic treatments. To honor Kate’s life and continue the fight for other children, Kate Amato Foundation was formed.

As part of their mission, the Kate Amato Foundation awards grant funding to cutting-edge pediatric cancer research projects at some of the leading immunotherapy and cancer genomics research labs in the country, including Duke University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, UCLA, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The University of Colorado, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Cancer Research Hospital, The University of Buffalo and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

To date, the foundation has funded $475,000 in grants to support groundbreaking research.

The foundation relies on local businesses and donors to support their mission. They have found great partners in companies like Northwestern Mutual, a longtime supporter of the foundation and the work they are doing. 
“We are so excited to host the first annual golf and pickleball tournament for the Kate Amato Foundation at a world class facility,” said Bradley Ernst, Kate Kombo Pickleball Committee chair and wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual. “This is an opportunity to support pediatric cancer research while playing the fastest growing sport in America. We hope others in the community will step up and join us for a day of fun and fundraising. We like to have fun and love to give back, so come ready for some day ‘dinking.’”

Sponsors are wanted and registration is now open. The Kate Kombo will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20, at The Yards in Sawgrass. Registration includes team play for golf or pickleball, gift bags, brunch bar and Kombo party. All levels of play are welcome.

Prices for registration are as follows: golf foursome is $1,250. Pickleball pair is $350. Spectators are encouraged, and tickets are $75. Following the tournaments, there will be a collective celebration with complimentary luncheon, live auction, prizes and an awards ceremony. 

To donate to the Kate Amato Foundation or learn more about participating in Kate Kombo, go to KateAmatoFoundation.org.