Doug Bowes

The Stars Golf Classic: Teeing Off for a Life-Saving Cause

When Doug Bowes envisioned giving back to his community, he never anticipated that his passion for golf would converge with a noble cause, giving birth to the Stars Golf Annual Classic, a Manitoba-based charity event that extends a helping hand to the Stars Air Ambulance. On a typical rainy Saturday, Doug opens up about the inception and runaway success of the event that’s captured the hearts and swing of Manitoban golf enthusiasts.

Conceived in 2019, the Stars Golf Classic was Doug’s initiative to reinforce a vital service that seemed to be overlooked when it came to charity golf tournaments. His immediate challenge, COVID-19 disruptions, saw the event postponed multiple times, yet Doug’s resilience and Manitobans’ spirit never wavered. The Stars Golf Classic finally made its mark in July 2022, with 156 participants and 28 sponsors, remarkably raising $26,000 in its inaugural year.

This astounding success caught Doug by surprise but reflected the community’s widespread support for an essential service that, while many may not have directly interacted with, is recognized as undeniably crucial. Stars Air Ambulance provides rapid and specialized emergency medical transport, showcasing their indispensable role during the tournament as the air ambulance touched down dramatically on the driving range.

The evident emotional impact of seeing the service firsthand and understanding its lifesaving operations has only fueled Doug’s initiative. With suspension turning into determination, the tournament sold out in early 2023 by February, a testament to its burgeoning reputation. The participation cap was pushed to 164 players, 8 over the norm, without any detraction from the event’s pace or the enjoyment of its patrons.

While the greens may be full, Doug emphasizes that the tournament always welcomes new sponsors, volunteers, and isn’t just for vertical strokes and silent claps—it’s a food lover’s paradise, too. Four sponsored Manitoba food trucks serve treats, enhancing the event’s community feel and bolstering its appeal as a gastronomic rendezvous as much as a charitable cause.

Besides the golfing and gourmet delights, an online and in-person auction further augments the funds raised. Generous donations, such as an electric adjustable bed valued at $8,500, signed sports memorabilia, and gourmet experiences, contribute to the collective mission. While the spirit of the event is jubilant, its sobering purpose remains the focus – to support the cost-intensive lifesaving flights, training, and supplies of Stars Air Ambulance.

Manitoba’s Stars Air Ambulance has been pivotal in times of dire need, with over 700 missions in 2022 alone. Its services range from filling an oxygen tank to providing sophisticated night vision goggles, flight suits, and swift transport in unthinkable emergencies, such as the Humboldt bus crash and critical cottage country extractions.

Fundraisers like the Stars Golf Classic offer far more than an enjoyable day out on the fairway; they champion the unsung heroes who take to the skies. This groundswell of support from a coherent community attests to Manitobans’ altruism, confirming that the Stars Golf Classic will remain an anticipated extravaganza long before the preceding tournament concludes. For those like Doug Bowes, it’s more than just organizing a tournament—it’s about investing in life-saving chances for those in need.