May 31, 2024 - News

Principal Charity Classic returns with an $8 million mission

A photo of golf champion Stephen Ames.

Two-time Principal Charity Classic champion Stephen Ames is vying for his third win this weekend. Photo: David Berding/Getty Images

Principal Charity Classic's professional competition launches today at the Wakonda Club.

Why it matters: The annual PGA Tour Champions golf tournament is expected to raise roughly $8 million for Iowa children's charities this year, Principal Financial Group CEO Dan Houston tells Axios.

Driving the news: Wakonda reopened just last week after a nearly year-long renovation to restore the century-old course to its original design.

Flashback: Principal, one of Des Moines' largest employers, became the event's title sponsor in 2007.

  • The event has raised almost $54 million since.

State of play: Money goes primarily to the event's charity partners — Blank Children's Hospital, MercyOne Children's Hospital, United Way of Central Iowa and Variety - the Children's Charity of Iowa.

  • More than 130,000 kids benefit each year from the event's fundraising, per Principal.

Zoom in: This year's classic includes new spectator attractions like Sunday's "Pedal to the PCC" with participants getting free tournament admission and MidAmerican Energy Sustainability Grove, where food trucks and phone charging is available.

The intrigue: Wednesday's pro-am players were the first to use Wakonda's new course.

  • That's because members were unable to golf last week due to inclement weather, Principal spokesperson Megan Grandgeorge tells Axios.

Fun fact: This year's purse is $2 million, including $300K to the champion.

The big picture: The event will provide significant resources at a time when charities are under additional strain as they help families recover from pandemic-related setbacks, per Houston.

  • "This is a game changer," he says.

If you go: Gates open at 8:30am Friday through Sunday. Tickets start at $25.

A photo of Wakonda Club.
Attendance at last year's Principal Charity Classic topped 80,000. Spectators will find new amenities and viewing areas this year. Photo: Courtesy of Principal Charity Classic

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Des Moines.

More Des Moines stories