When national touring artists stop at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, they leave with a little reminder of our Minnesota Nice. This series examines the locally made treasures given to these celebrity visitors.
When he’s not busy bringing Sexy Back, chances are, you may find Justin Timberlake indulging in one of his favorite pastimes — at the golf course.
Beyond being an avid golfer, he also co-owns an eco-friendly public golf facility in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., where his parents serve as his business partners.
So when it came to choosing a gift for Mr. Timberlake, who stops by the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday, a golf-themed present seemed like a hole-in-one.
But instead of investing in a new set of clubs for the award-winning singer, the folks at Xcel thought the always-philanthropic Timberlake might appreciate a kind gesture instead.
With that in mind, the Xcel Energy Center will make a donation on Timberlake’s behalf to The First Tee of St. Paul — a charity that helps improve the lives of local youth through the game of golf.
“First Tee is a junior character education program taught through golf. So what we try to do is teach nine core values, kind of like nine holes, so we teach core values with golf lessons,” said Brian Simpson, executive director of The First Tee.
Kids involved in the program get opportunities for college scholarships and the chance to compete in big-time golf tournaments.
“One of the kids got to play with Tom Lehman,” he said.
Beyond his excitement in the fact this donation has him thinking about golf in February, Simpson said he’s truly grateful for the gesture by the Xcel Energy Center.
“We think it’s awesome, obviously,” he said. “We appreciate it and it’s going to help kids that don’t have equipment and also kids that can’t afford the fee, we raise funds … for their scholarships and then they can get free lessons.”
Simpson said he’s a big fan of Timberlake — perhaps more for his acting and comedy than his music.
“His Saturday Night Live stuff he does is just tremendous,” he said. “I think he’s one of the funniest guys on the planet right now.”
Xcel will continue to accept donations at their administrative offices until noon on Friday. Those donations will be set up backstage for Timberlake’s Sunday arrival before being donated to First Tee.
“We just hope this event will benefit a lot of kids in the Twin Cities and we hope that (Timberlake) continues to do good work and support the golf community,” Simpson said.
As a second special token of their appreciation, Xcel Energy Center also created 100 bags of personalized Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience golf tees to go along with the theme.
Tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert at 8 p.m. this Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center are still available. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.