Under a gorgeous blue sky, the 11th annual Charity Golf Tournament got off to a glorious start on Sunday.
The afternoon was perfect, with a light breeze, clear skies and a lone bald eagle occasionally soaring overhead.
It was a perfect day for both golf and giving.
“This is our major fundraiser,” said Wes Blackwell, the chairman of the board for the Island Club Charitable Foundation (ICCF). “It’s just a way to give back to the community, and everyone has a good time, it’s a wonderful event.”
The day, which included a six-person scramble tournament, a barbecue lunch and a wine tasting, started with a presentation from Chuck “The Hit Man” Hiter. A stunt-golfer, Hiter hit golf balls while riding a unicycle, balancing on top of a medicine ball and using a club made from rope. The crowd loved it, roaring with laughter at Hiter’s ever-crazier antics.
But ultimately, Hiter wasn’t why they were there. They were there to play, and to raise money. One of the things that makes the ICCF event so unique is that some of the donated money goes to help local high school golf teams. Because of the focus on bringing up the next generation of great golfers, many of the players from local high school teams were invited to play alongside those in the tournament.
“We’ve sponsored the kids so everything is free for them today,” said Terri DiSciullo, president of the Island Parks and Recreation Foundation. This is the second year that the foundation has partnered with the ICCF on this tournament, and DiSciullo said she is happy to be a part of the event. “We’re just so happy that we can be here to support local high school golf teams. We’re glad they invited us back this year.”
For Blackwell, having the kids out on the course is one of the best parts of the day, though they’re often quite a force to be reckoned with. “These kids can really hit the ball,” he said. “I mean, they can really whack it.”
In all, over 125 players took to the course for the cause, with the top three winning teams getting to designate which charities the bulk of funds would go to. Early tallies from the event showed that the ICCF was on track to raise between $25,000 and $30,000.
When asked what her school’s golf team would do with the funds, Gulf Coast High golfer Anastasia Talalenko said, “Um, I don’t know, maybe buy some more balls?”
At the rate the ICCF is raising funds, Gulf Coast High School may never be wanting for balls ever again.