GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – The longest-running professional golf tournament in the state of Kansas is teeing off its 41st year Monday after being canceled last year due to COVID.

The Southwest Kansas Pro-Am golf tournament is known for bringing in elite play, but for many, what makes it special is that every swing, drive, and putt helps babies in need.

For the past four decades, 100% of the tournament’s proceeds have benefitted the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City.

“In 2019, we were able to raise $100,000 for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and so we’re hoping that this year we can at least get to that mark as well,” said Paige Kraus, Donor Relations Coordinator for St. Catherine Hospital Foundation.

Hundreds of golfers are taking the course in support of the cause. For professionals, an added bonus is this tournament is part of the All Pro Tour and is a stepping stone to the PGA Tour.

“It’s great being able to help out these guys, but it’s more helping out the communities we get to go to,” said Luke Otto with the All Pro Tour.

The money raised this year will help purchase a Neoview video intubation system and also continue education for NICU nurses and respiratory therapists.

“Our staff is second to none, the doctors, and nurses, and we want to make sure they have everything they need to do their job to the best of their ability,” said Kraus. “It helps the tiniest babies when they need help the most.”

Pro-Am organizers say without the community support, the nearly 100 critical care infants treated each year wouldn’t be possible. 

“That really speaks to the amount of care and love that they have for making sure the best healthcare is right here at home,” said Kraus.

Pro-Am play will continue through Tuesday and the All Pro Tour will kick off on Wednesday.

For more information about the tournament, click here.