Golfers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch played a tough game last Friday as they navigated through the desert sand and watering holes guarded by buffalo, giraffes, hippos and a Christmas turkey.
Peals of laughter echoed through the hallways as 19 teams from all departments filled the narrow corridors of the office. They sidled up close to the cubicle walls, struck creative poses and took awkward shots between their legs to raise money for Operation Santa Claus.
"It's amazing how they've engineered the holes," said Ann Llewelyn, head of marketing and CSR for BAML.
"We're well on the way to beating the HK$600,000 target," said Llewelyn, crediting the bank's staff for their gung-ho fundraising efforts.
BAML has been one of the charity's major sponsors with thousands of its employees, clients and business partners helping to raise more than HK$14 million over the past 15 years.
"Operation Santa Claus really brings our staff together," she said, adding that supporting the charity had become part of the company's culture.
This year, the bank expects to raise HK$75,000 from entrance fees, donations and the sale of Mulligan tickets. To enter, teams donated a minimum HK$750, but most contributed more. The title of master fundraiser is a point of pride for staff.
"People get quite competitive about fundraising. Sometimes if they hear that another team is ahead, they'll slip in HK$1000 to make sure they beat them," said Winnie Ho, vice-president of marketing and communications.