The late Roy P. Drachman was the founding father of the Tucson Conquistadores. On October 22, 1962 Drachman held the first organizational meeting at the El Conquistador Hotel citing a need in the community, that of "extra-curricular support of deserving athletes as well as other community sporting events". Drachman also noted, “We’ll definitely be a working organization, not an honorary”. He successfully recruited the people who pledged to fill that need. Soon 41 business leaders of their day, became members.
Fundraising began with an annual Sports Award Banquet, which had a long, successful run from 1963 through 1994. Other projects included five professional tennis tournaments in 1969, 1973, 1977 and 1980, with champions from Poncho Gonzales to Chris Evert. The group also sponsored the LPGA Open from 1983-1987.
The Conquistadores fundraising opportunities expanded when the group adopted the Tucson Open golf tournament in 1966. The high-powered group turned the fledgling PGA TOUR event into an exciting professional sporting and community event that continued through 2006.
Success breeds success and the Conquistadores were chosen to play host to the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship when it relocated to Tucson in 2007. Through 2014 the Tucson Conquistadores served as the tournament leadership team and sales arm for the event held at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. This prestigious tournament featured the top 64 golfers in the world and created an unprecedented opportunity for the Conquistadores to raise record levels of funds for Southern Arizona youth - the final 2014 event generated $1.3 for charity. The tournament was televised in 140 countries and enhanced Tucson’s notability as a premier golf destination.
Many of the stars and legends of the game returned to Tucson in 2015 when the Conquistadores partnered with the PGA TOUR Champions Tour. The players were at home on the Catalina Course at Omni Tucson National Resort, the same course for many of the years the Conquistadores operated the PGA TOUR Tucson Open. The Cologuard Classic celebrates its tenth year in 2024 and announced moving to La Paloma Country Club and Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.
About the Tucson Conquistadores
The Conquistadores active membership includes up to 60 business professionals, and a total membership of 224 who represent a cross-section of the Tucson community. True to its charter, the Conquistadores remains a working organization. In addition to its professional golf activities, the group has established the Tucson Conquistadores Foundation. The Foundation’s goal is to build an endowment fund that will generate guaranteed funds for the future.
The Tucson Conquistadores has made a difference in thousands of individual lives. At its monthly funding request meetings, a committee reviews requests and grants funds to individuals and to organizations. Key beneficiaries of the Conquistadores' fund-raising efforts include First Tee - Tucson, Tucson and Pima County Junior Golf Programs, Boys and Girls Clubs in Tucson, Sierra Vista and Nogales, Pima County Special Olympics, Educational Enrichment Foundation, Sporting Chance Center at Curtis Park, Tucson Urban League and the YMCA.