By Angela Kurysh
Photos courtesy of Clay Phillips
July 17, 2021 (La Mesa) – Fifty rounds of golf in 50 states in 50 days. Yes, you read that right. 66-year-old La Mesa resident and avid golf lover Clay Phillips has planned out a detailed nationwide trip where he will be playing rounds of golf in each state for a good cause. He will be challenging himself as a golfer, but also making this experience more than that. Phillips’ initial goal is to raise money for clean water worldwide, by having his friends, family and followers join him on his journey via social media and donate to the cause.
So why 50 states in 50 days? Phillips was initially inspired by a fellow traveler on a mission trip back in 2016, who played a game of basketball in 48 states.
“For me instead of basketball, it was golf and instead of 48 states, I would play a round in all 50. Phillips continued, “Just the whole concept of playing one day in Hawaii and the next day in Alaska is pretty exciting for me.”
The charities that Phillips will be donating the proceeds to are Water First International and Covenant World Relief – Project Blue. Water First International is a nonprofit organization that installs high-quality piped water systems in the world's poorest communities and Project Blue is associated with the Covenant Church, a Christian denomination based in Chicago.
“I'm a member of the Community Covenant Church in El Cajon, so that’s why I chose Project Blue.” Phillips added, “Water First International is a secular non-religious charity that I also wanted to have as an option for people because not everybody wants to give to a religious charity, but they care about the problem, so I wanted to give those two options.”
After seeing Project Blue and their purpose firsthand in Honduras, Phillips was inspired and wanted to make this charity his priority. He mentioned, “Going down there was one thing, but it made me understand not only all the collateral benefits once you fix water, but so many other things kick in. It also made me understand that it's not quite as simple as digging a well, there has to be a lot of pre- and post- work and apparently 25-30% of water projects fail because they're not built on any kind of good foundation of sustainability.”
Along with wanting people to follow him on his journey, he encourages others to donate and visit his website: https://www.50in50in50golf4water.org/ to read about his mission, view the detailed route and see daily posts from his journey. He has a team of friends helping him post daily videos, photos and stats from each round to keep followers informed.
None of the proceeds/donations will be going towards Phillips’ travel or personal costs. Phillips says it brings “more meaning” for him to give his time and effort.
His journey begins on August 24th in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the following round being in Anchorage, Alaska. He then will fly to Portland, Oregon and the rest of the traveling will be by car. When asked about safety and being on the road for hours, Phillips responded, “I'm worried about hurricanes because I'll be going through the South right during peak hurricane season. I'm worried about this horrible drought that the West is under and the wildfires that could happen.” Along with weather conditions being a potential concern, Phillips is also worried about car issues and lower back pain from all the traveling.
Although he has no specific goal amount he would like to raise, Phillips emphasized, “I'll put it this way, to create a water pump through Project Blue, it costs about $15,000 and that changes the life of an entire village in Africa.” He continued, “If I could do two of those, I think that'd be pretty darn cool.”
There are even some creative ways Phillips is accepting donations such as:
- $1 per Par
- $10 for every round
- $10 per Birdie
- $50 per Eagle
- $1,000 per Hole in One or Double Eagle
- $1 per state that he doesn’t get a driving ticket
- $10 per round where he doesn’t curse
So far, he has raised enough for almost two water pumps, but more are needed. It isn’t too late to donate. Everything about Clay Phillips and his journey can be found on his website, where donations are also accepted.