By Ken MacLeod
After 13 years of chasing her golf dreams as a professional, former Oklahoma Sooner star Kendall Dye has quietly transitioned into pursuing a bigger dream, one that improves the quality of life for thousands and could literally save the lives of many.
Dye has been named the executive director of Golf Fore Africa, an organization founded in 2007 by LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King and one she has supported with her time and dollars since 2015. She has moved back to the Oklahoma City area from Arizona and will be operating the organization from here.
Dye just returned from her third trip to Africa to help communities in Zambia drill wells, establish mechanized water systems or even a “baby wash,” a mechanized maternity ward. She will be introducing the company and it’s charitable mission to Oklahomans at the Golf For Africa 405 Classic LPGA Celebrity Pro-Am on Oct. 17 at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.
The event will be preceded by a dinner Oct. 16 and spots remain for the golf, dinner and all manner of sponsor levels. A complete entry form is here.
Dye hopes to raise at least $150,000 at the event to go Golf Fore Africa. LPGA starts and celebrities already committed to playing include Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Angela Stanford, Pernilla Lindberg, and Amy Olsen, as well as Bob Stoops, Joe Washington and other former Sooner and Cowboy athletes and coachs as well as celebrities.
On her trips, Dye has seen the dire outcomes of not having clean water. She has met women who have been abused and raped while journeying long distances to bring back water for their families.
For every $15,000 raised, the group can fund a well for a community. For every $50,000, it can bring a solar mechanized water system with taps and sinks. Villages are required to meet certain basic cleanliness standards in advance in order to get the funds.
World Vision is the implementation partner for Golf Fore Africa, sending representatives to live in the communities and build the systems as well as train the locals on how to operate and repair the systems.
World travel is nothing new for Dye. She played around the world from the time she left OU until finally earning her LPGA Tour card in 2014. She had more success on the Epson Tour, winning four events. She did make 20 cuts in parts of five seasons on the LPGA Tour.
On her recent trip, she was able to meet a young man she has helped sponsor financially for years. Named Mazuba, he has been raised without access to clean water until her group stepped in.
Dye would like to see not only this event become an annual success, but the LPGA return at some point to Oklahoma. Finding a successful title sponsor is the key. The event in Tulsa was well supported by fans, but title sponsors Williams and SemGroup both ran into financial difficulties while interim sponsor John Q. Hammons wound up hosting four years of the tournament’s eight-year run from 2001-08.
“Oklahoma is a unique golf state and it would be so amazing to have an LPGA event back here one day,” she said.
For now, Dye would like Oklahomans to help her bring clean drinking water to hundreds without what we take for granted.
“We’re all the same,” she said. “We could have easily been born over there without the opportunities that we’ve been blessed with. “