Honoring Friendship Through Philanthropy: Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf & Gala

 More than four decades ago, a well-admired Phoenix businessman invited three friends for a fun game of golf in the name of philanthropy. That day, the foursome made history — not for record scores, but for establishing one of the first and most successful charity tournaments in the state of Arizona.

When the Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf & Gala returns to Scottsdale each year, it brings together the same key ingredients that made it perfect 40+ years ago in the eyes of its founder, Lou Grubb, spicing it up with extra layers of fun.

Although Grubb passed away several years ago, followed by wife, Evelyn, in 2015, their many admirers carry on their legacy of raising money to support Barrow Neurological Institute and Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. To date, the group has donated more than $5.5 million toward research, education and patient care at the hospital.

No one could be more dedicated to the event than the organizing committee’s co-chair, Roger Maxwell — and for good reason. Back in the ’70s, Maxwell was on the receiving end of Grubb’s generosity, something he’ll never forget.

A friendship begins...

At 27, Maxwell was working summers as the Pinetop Country Club golf pro and winters as an assistant pro at the Marriott Camelback. After his first successful year, he splurged and bought himself a shiny new Pontiac Grand Prix. Just before Christmas, though, he decided to trade it in, driving it to the only dealer he’d heard of, thanks to Lou Grubb’s Take 5 commercials. The salesman helping him that day was curious: “Why would a young man ever want to exchange a Grand Prix for a station wagon?” “I wanted to trade it for a station wagon to give to my parents for Christmas. Their old one had broken down, and I knew they couldn’t afford another car,” said Maxwell.

The salesman shared the story with Grubb, who took it to heart. He invited Maxwell to lunch, so he could meet the young golfer who was so considerate of his parents. “From that day on, we started playing golf together. And that was how a wonderful friendship began,” Maxwell added. Several months later, as Maxwell was managing the pro shop at Pine Top, he heard a knock on the door. “When I answered it, a man told me ‘I have something for you that Mr. Grubb would like you to have.’” Sitting in the parking lot was a brand new Impala Super Sport. This demo car for Maxwell to use was the first of many gifts Lou would share with him.

A gift that keeps on giving...

 Over the years, the friendship grew — to include Roger’s wife, Kathy, and Lou’s beloved Evelyn. Together, they enjoyed traveling with other golf-loving couples to golf courses around the country.

Although the Grubbs have now passed, and Roger lost Kathy to cancer in 2012, he seeks contentment through volunteer work for the hospital that cared for them all. In the fall, he helps organize a Run Fore Cancer, to honor his wife and raise money for cancer care.

And he continues to serve on the Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf committee, year after year, with no signs of stopping. This time around, he’s co-chairing the event with Dan Grubb, who bears a striking resemblance in looks and personality to the man—Maxwell says—taught him everything he needs to know about friendship and philanthropy.

“There wasn’t anything Lou wouldn’t do for me, so there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him,” says Maxwell. “I stay involved with this event to keep Lou and Evie’s memory alive, while supporting the best medical care in the Valley—at Barrow and St. Joseph’s. It’s an amazing event for an incredible cause.”