Greg Hardwig: Local charity group comes up big

Southwest Florida Golf Charities, Inc., set another record on Thursday night, handing out $100,000 to recipients from the Bill Owen Golf Classic at Eagle Creek Country Club.

Since 1989, over $850,000 has been raised through the tournament for Collier County beneficiaries.

This year's recipients once again included area elementary and middle schools ($2,000 apiece to five schools), county high school golf teams ($1,000 apiece to eight teams), and charities such as Hospice ($25,000). A total of nine $5,000 scholarships also will be awarded to deserving high school graduates.

But the highlight of the evening was when the organization once again honored someone affiliated with Eagle Creek. Retired employee Walter Krokowski and his wife Shirley lost most of their home and many possessions due to damage from Hurricane Wilma in October.

"Southwest Florida Golf Charities has an established history of helping Eagle Creek families with special needs," Irv Sherwood said. "The Krokowskis certainly qualify."

They were then presented a check for $10,000, along with some extra funds donated by Eagle Creek members.

The 2007 tournament will be played on Monday, Jan. 15 back at Eagle Creek, with morning and afternoon shotgun starts.

• • •

The Mike Ditka/Jim Hart Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Invitational is Saturday at The Golf Club of the Everglades. The tournament benefits the Foundation for the Immokalee Child Care Center.

Celebrities committed include: Jack Youngblood, Gary Cuozzo, Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Stan Mikita, Sam Wyche, Earl Morrall, Bruce Coslet, Ken Anderson, J.C. Snead, Terry-Jo Myers, Emery Moorehead, Johnny Orr, Charlie Babb, Pat Richter, Dick Anderson, Kevin Butler, Mike Trombley, Mike Ditka, Charlie Gogolak, Ken MacAfee, Norm Masters, Doug Hart, Bob Brinkworth, Walt Houston and Jim Loscutoff.

A cocktail party, auction and celebrity pairings party will be on Friday at Naples Grande Resort & Club.

The tournament format will be a two net best balls of five. Each team will have a celebrity, a club pro, and three amateurs, or a celebrity and four amateurs. Saturday's play starts at 9 a.m.

The entry fee is $650 per amateur, or admission to the cocktail party is $150. Sponsorships are available. For more information, call 261-1774, e-mail naplesiccc@aol.com, Don Vining at gatordqv@aol.com, or The Golf Club of the Everglades at gcegolf@aol.com

• • •

Former PGA champion Davis Love III's design company will be laying out River Hall golf course in Fort Myers. It will be Love's first Florida golf course.

"Our vision for the course is that it will be very traditional in style and provide challenge to players through strategy versus just being long and difficult," Love said in a press release. "Our goal is to create a course that is playable and fun for golfers of varied skill levels, and one that people will look forward to playing every day."

According to the release, bunkers will be built in a style from the 1920s and 30s with the sand generally flat in the bottom and the faces covered with grass.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June, with grassing by April 2007 and an opening around November 2007. River Hall is located on State Road 80, six miles east of Interstate 75.

• • •

The Women's Senior Golf Tour has been renamed the Women's Legends Tour. The fledgling tour, affiliated with the LPGA Tour, also added a new tournament, the Handa Cup, which will be patterned after the Solheim Cup.

The Handa Cup will feature a U.S. team against an international team, with players such as Nancy Lopez, Jan Stepenson, Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan and Rosie Jones going against Jan Stephenson, Sally Little and Dawn Coe-Jones. Kathy Whitworth will captain the U.S. team, and Hisako "Chako" Higuchi, a Hall-of-Famer from Japan, will be the international captain.

The event will be at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine from Dec. 14-17. Jane Blalock, who helped start the Women's Senior Golf Tour, remains president of the Women's Legends Tour, which has five events in 2006.

• • •

Part-time Naples resident Wayne Levi tied for 37th and John Harris, also a part-time Naples resident, tied for 43rd at the Champions Tour's Puerto Vallarta Blue Agave Classic in Mexico over the weekend. The tour is off until the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, from April 21-23.

• • •

Naples' Rocco Mediate is in the field for The Masters this week at Augusta National Golf Club. Mediate made it by virtue of his finish at last year's U.S. Open. He didn't play in last week's BellSouth Championship.

• • •

Part-time Estero resident Chip Beck finished 62nd in the Nationwide Tour's Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship in California over the weekend. Fort Myers native Tommy Tolles shot a 71 in the first round, but was one of a number of players to withdraw after heavy rains postponed the completion of the second round. The tour is off this week.

• • •

Neither Bonita Springs' Catherine Cartwright nor Naples' Kris Tamulis were in the field for the Kraft Nabisco Championship over the weekend. The tour is off until the LPGA Takefuji Classic in Las Vegas from April 13-15.

• • •

Arrowhead Golf Club will have twilight golf each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., beginning on April 19. The entry fee is $25 for the four-person scramble. There will be a blind draw for groups. Call 596-1000 by 2 p.m. each Wednesday.

• • •

The fifth annual golf tournament to benefit the MS Home Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida will be Saturday, April 22 at Quail West Country Club.

The registration fee is $175 or non-golfing guests can pay $40 for a buffet lunch, raffle and silent auction. Registration is at 7:30 a.m., with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. The format is two best balls net of four, with a full verifiable handicap. The field is limited to 120 players. Hole sponsorships are $250. For more information, call 435-1901.

• • •

Spanish Wells Country Club will host a twilight weekly 9-hole blind-draw mixed couples scramble. The event starts on Wednesday, May 3 through Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m.

The scramble is open to the public. There is a maximum of 72 golfers. The pro shop will select four-person teams. The entry fee is $25. Call 992-5522 any day or by 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

• • •

Other upcoming golf events follow:

• Terra Cotta Invitational — Will host a qualifier for local amateurs on Thursday at Naples National Golf Club. Amateur golfers must have a USGA handicap of 2.0 or less. The top four finishers will be invited to play in the tournament.

Applications are available online at www.terracottainvitational.org.

The Terra Cotta, a top amateur tournament, has expanded to 54 holes of stroke play. The field will be limited to 51 players. The tournament is April 21-23.

Volunteers are needed for the Dodge Celebrity Invitational, April 19-23 at Gateway Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers.

For $35, volunteers receive a tournament uniform, daily lunch, two four-day grounds passes, and a free round of golf at Gateway between June and October.

• Dodge Celebrity Invitational — Volunteers are needed for walking scorers, transportation and hospitality. Call Megan Amateis at (561) 723-8291 or the tournament office at 1-888-256-5053. Those interested can go online to www.eclipsesportsmanagement.com/dci to download a volunteer letter and response form.

Tickets for the Celebrity Players Tour event are on sale. Tickets, which are four-day grounds passes, are available at all Lee and Collier county McDonald's Restaurants or by calling 1-888-256-5053.

One hundred percent of the proceeds of all grounds passes will benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Florida. Grounds passes for all four days are $20 and include coupons to local Hooters and McDonald's restaurants.

• Tournament Players Association — The 2006 County Cup will be played at Bonita Bay Club East on May 6-7. The Ryder Cup format puts 50 amateurs from Lee County against 50 amateurs from Collier County.

The format is 18 holes of better ball on Saturday morning, 18 holes of alternate shot on Saturday afternoon, and 18 holes of singles play on Sunday.

A pairings party with dinner for two will be May 4 at Bonita Bay East. Captains will be Lee Booker for Collier County and Marc St. Martin for Lee County. Collier County won the inaugural Cup last year.

All players receive two logo shirts and a matching cap, three golf balls and a box lunch on Saturday. The entry fee is $300 per player. Membership into the Tournament Players Association is included. The entry deadline is April 10 or when the field is full.

For more information, contact Doug Oselett at 458-0754.

The Tournament Players Association is accepting applications for membership for the 2006 season. The organization was founded in 1989 and plays a minimum of 35 stroke-play tournaments on area courses every month of the year. Each tournament has five flights for players of all handicaps.

Membership rates, $120. Membership includes a members-only gift package of discounts at area courses as well as 2-for-1 ACE Group Classic tickets, and gift certificates at area golf stores and driving ranges. Call 458-0754 or go online to TPAgolf.com.

• Executive Women's Golf Association — Sponsoring its seventh annual membership drive and golf challenge.

The drive and golf challenge will be Saturday at Spanish Wells Golf Club in Bonita Springs. An expo and brunch will start at 10 a.m. ($20), with a 1:30 p.m. shotgun scramble ($45). All EWGA members and Naples, Marco Island and Bonita Springs women are invited. For more information, contact Joan Peppe at 253-1586 or 262-7131.

Upcoming events: May 7-9, Golf weekend, Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort; May 19-21, Fun Sectional Weekend at Doral in Miami; June 3, Chapter Championship, Palmira; June 9-10, EWGA Pro-Am, Tiburón; TBD, Naples Chapter Championship; Aug. 12, Florida Sectional Championship, Lely Resort; Nov. 2-4, EWGA National Conference, Palm Beach. Monday league at Arrowhead, $45, 596-1000; For more information, go online to naplesewga.com.

• Ave Maria University Founders Golf League — Upcoming event will be April 22 at The Glades Country Club. The league is for men and women of all levels of play. For reservations, call 774-1443 at least one week prior to the event.

• 15th annual Pro-Am to benefit Hospice of Naples — Forty local club professionals will participate in the benefit at Royal Palm Country Club on Friday. Each pro will be teamed with three amateurs. Royal Palm has raised more than $450,000 in its 14 years with the pro-am. The goal in 2006 is to raise $60,000 for Hospice of Naples. Hole sponsorships and other sponsor opportunities are available. The dinner to honor donors and participants will be on April 8 at Royal Palm. For more information, contact Don Harlow at 774-1774.

• Gulf Coast Junior Tour Pro-Am Golf Classic — Monday at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers.

The format is two best balls of four, with a professional and three amateurs on each team. The entry fee is $150 for amateurs or $75 for pros. The entry deadline is March 31. Individual hole sponsorships are available. For more information, call Fiddlesticks at 768-1114 or Cindy at 597-6858. The tour also is accepting memberships for the 2006 season. The tour is a non-profit 501 c(3) junior golf program set up for intermediate to advanced golfers between 12 and 18. The entry deadline for applications is May 1.

The current tournament schedule: June 9, Tuscany Reserve; June 16, Hideout; June 23, TBA; June 30, Grey Oaks; July 7, Golf Club of the Everglades; July 14, Naples Lakes; July 21, Fiddler's Creek. The application fee is $80. New members are required to qualify by shooting a score of 120 or less for 18 holes. For additional information, call Cindy at 597-6858 or e-mail gcjrtour@aol.com.

• Cadillac Invitational Golf Tournament — DeVoe Cadillac is partnering with the National Kidney Foundation of Florida to sponsor the tournament at The Club at TwinEagles on Monday.

Each member of the winning team receives a round-trip airline ticket anywhere in the continental United States and become eligible to compete in the National Finals at Pebble Beach.

Major sponsors include Southwest Regional Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Spiro and Associates, Lutgert Insurance and Collier Regional Medical Center.

The entry fee/sponsorship for a foursome is $1,300 per team and includes a golf shirt, lunch, player gift bags and an awards banquet. All proceeds benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Florida.

For more information, contact Dr. Anthony DeFeo at 514-7388 or Bryan Williams of the NKF of Florida at 800-927-9659, ext. 106.

• Naples Philharmonic League Golf Open — Wednesday, April 19 at Naples Lakes Country Club. Registration is at 11 a.m., with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The tournament benefits the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and its youth music education program. The entry fee is $175 and includes a buffet lunch and buffet dinner. The first 28 paid registrations get a free round of golf at Naples Lakes. Call Carolyn Erdmann at 774-5248 or Steve Kutler at 352-1273.

• 25th annual Watkins Memorial Pro-Am — Benefiting Project HELP Crisis Center. Friday, April 21 at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

The format is a two best ball net of five with a professional and four amateurs making up each team. The entry fee is $175 per amateur. A total of $85 of the entry fee is a tax-deductible donation. There also will be a putting contest. The field is limited to the first 25 teams. There will be a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start. For more information, call 649-1404 or e-mail projecthelpinc@juno.com.

• CBIA Spring Golf Tournament — Friday, April 21 at Arrowhead Golf Club. Registration is at 11:30 a.m., with a 1:15 p.m. shotgun start. The entry fee is $130 for CBIA members or $150 for non-CBIA members. Hole sponsorships are $150 to $1,500. For more information, call Alison at 436-6100.

• Gulf Coast High School Marching Sharks Golf Tournament — Saturday, April 22 at Tuscany Reserve Golf Club. Registration is at 11:30 a.m., with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The entry fee is $150, or $500 per foursome. Sponsorships are available from $150 to $10,000.

Proceeds will go toward the Marching Sharks travel expenses to the April 2006 Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., replacement of the band's uniforms and sheet music, and instrument purchases. For more information, call Terry Ross at 593-5202.

• Conservancy Golf Tournament — Monday, April 24 at The Club at TwinEagles in North Naples. Registration is $250 and includes a box lunch, reception, dinner and prizes. The shotgun start for the four-player scramble is 12:30 p.m. Teams of men or women or mixed are invited to participate.

Proceeds benefit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, which works to protect the area's environment. For more information, contact Rob Moher at 403-4205 or robm@conservancy.org.

• Let's Play Golf best ball scramble golf fund-raiser — For Boy Scouts Troop 243. At Vasari Country Club on Saturday, April 29. There is an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Proceeds go toward funding Scout activities, such as a summer camp. The entry fee is $90 and includes lunch. For more information, call Sherry Ramsay at 261-5072 by April 25.

• St. Matthew's House ninth annual golfathon — Monday, May 1 at The Club at TwinEagles and Bonita Bay Club East. St. Matthew's House is a non-profit organization that provides housing for the homeless and food for the hungry.

The goal for the golfathon is for each golfer to play at least 50 holes within six hours, with special rules for fast golf. Golfers participate without paying any fees. Carts, balls, snacks, box lunches, prizes and an evening banquet for the participant and guest are all free of charge.

Each golfer is asked to obtain sponsors based on the number of holes they play (for example, $2 per hole) or a flat sponsorship. Golfathon officials help players find sponsors in the weeks leading up to the event.

Golfathon chairmen Dean Lind (598-3494) and Jim Colosimo (404-0123) are seeking 200 players for shotgun starts at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Last year, more than 20 PGA golf professionals from area clubs also participated. To sign up, call Amy Sweet at St. Matthew's House at 298-5026.

• Jim Kelly's Drive Fore Hope third annual celebrity golf challenge — May 5-6 at Lely Resort. Sponsorships are available from $2,500 to $10,000. A tee box and green sponsorship is $250, or a foursome and tee box sign is $1,350.

A chef's extravaganza/silent and live auction will be held on May 5 at 6 p.m. The entry fee for the golf tournament is $300, with a 10 a.m. shotgun start.

All proceeds will benefit Hunter's Hope Foundation, established in 1997 by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, after their infant son Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy. Contact Suzanne Ostertag at 540-1355 or 292-0343, soterstag@swfla.rr.com, or contact Nickole Hendra at 340-5958 or visit DriveForeHope.net.

For more golf information, including instruction, please go online to www.naplesnews.com/npdn/sports. To submit an item for the golf column, send a fax to 263-4816 or e-mail gshardwig@naplesnews.com.

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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