More than just a story

TPC Storytellers give record $36K to four charities


The TPC Sawgrass Storytellers are known for two things, their amazing story-telling ability and raising money for charity, which they are getting just as good at, after raising $36,000 for charities during 2022.

According to Storytellers captain Jim Kleck, the money raised this year set a record for the most money the group has brought in.

“Since 2007, we’ve given away more than $263,000 to charities,” Kleck said. “It’s a big deal, and they are really happy to have that support.”

What makes it even more special is that the $36K raised by the group all came from tips that they had received throughout the year from guests who they toured around TPC Sawgrass, since they do not charge for the tours they offer.

“The Storytellers program started up at TPC in 2007, and this past year we gave tours to 7,200 people from 45 different states and 35 foreign countries,” Kleck said. “These tours are free to the public, but some are so gracious about the tour that they want to give us a gratuity, and when they do, we save it and at the end of the year we count up to see how much we have.”

According to Kleck, meeting people from all over the world and sharing the TPC Sawgrass story is one of the most interesting parts of the position.

Tours not only involve seeing around the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, but also going out to see the final three holes on the stadium course, which is called “the gauntlet.”

“And of course, part of that is No. 17 with it’s ‘island green,’ and everyone wants a picture with that,” Kleck said.

There are currently 45 “storytellers” in the group, but there are more in the wings that are in the process of joining.

“Most of these folks are retired like myself, who are looking for a volunteer job, and this is a really neat volunteer job, because you get to end up giving money to charity,” Kleck said. “It’s a highly-sought after volunteer job that people want to be a part of.”

Once the money is counted the next step is giving it away to local charities, which is always done at the group’s yearend meeting.

“We like to find small charities, where $5K to $10K really means a lot, and they can really use the help,” Kleck said.

This year’s charities included a wide range of initiatives, including helping people fighting cancer, young adults with autism and veterans.

The four charities receiving donations were Chemo Noir, Peace of Heart Community, First Coast Honor Flights and Hugs Across the County, which were chosen by STAC, which is a committee comprised to sort through the applications sent in by charities in the area.

“This year they started out with 15 charitable organizations for review and worked their way all the way down to four,” Kleck said.