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Salesmanship Club of Dallas

The Salesmanship Club of Dallas was founded in 1920 as a nonprofit service organization of more than 620 business leaders committed to programs of the Momentous Institute. For over 100 years, the Institute has worked closely with children, families and communities, providing educational and therapeutic services to help build and repair social and emotional health so all children can achieve success, regardless of their circumstances.

The Momentous Institute serves more than 5,500 children and family members each year through mental health programs and health-based curriculum at its Momentous School, a nationally recognized laboratory school providing education to children in prekindergarten through 5th grade. The Institute also invests in research and training to help even more children than can be served directly.

Each year, the Salesmanship Club hosts the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament, an event that has raised more than $167 million for the Momentous Institute since 1968. There are over 620 members in the club, with an average of 16 new members accepted each year. Members pay annual dues of $600, and are required to attend and pay for a weekly Thursday lunch, no excuses accepted. They also wear the trademark red pants, which members have worn at their PGA Tour event since the tourney’s early days.

Golden Gloves boxing matches were the club’s first fundraising venture in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by its first foray into golf, when they helped run the 1963 PGA Championship at Dallas Athletic Club, and also spent more than 30 years sponsoring each season’s first Dallas Cowboys pre-season football game until 1989. The group’s first PGA Tour tournament began in 1968, with namesake and professional golfer Byron Nelson. It was the alliance between the professional golf icon and the club’s hard-working group of Dallas business leaders that turned out to be the most successful golf partnership of all time.

Club members faced a challenge in 2020 when, for the first time in history, the golf tournament was canceled due to COVID-19, a year when services were needed more than ever. However, because of their unbending commitment to the cause, Salesmanship Club members used their corporate and vendor relationships to fill the gap, and, if needed, make up the deficit themselves.

Members are responsible for selling millions of dollars of tickets and sponsorships to the annual AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, and then must work hundreds of hours running the tournament, overseeing everything from trash pickup to servicing the electric golf carts, working the pavilion, dredging the creek beds near the course, selling merchandise, and crowd control. No job is considered beneath these business leaders, CEOs and millionaires. They do it for the kids. The Salesmanship Club of Dallas today reflects the organization’s long-standing values. Its first club president said it all in 1920: “Do good, without being stuffy about it.”

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