On Saturday morning, Santa's sleigh turned into a golf cart.
A field of over 90 golfers teed it up in Christmas Island Style's Annual Golf Outing at the Marriott's Rookery course in Fiddler's Creek, raising funds for the seasonal celebrations just ahead. A glorious morning gave a hint of the cooler weather that comes along with the Christmas season island, and a who's who of Marco Islanders got out on the course or manned the volunteer tables to help out.
The team of John Acunto, Ed Carbary, Ken Fox and Charles Lostracca took first place, with Scott Gibbs, Sean Shea, Mark Canady, and Brian Day coming in behind them. Richard Shanahan's foursome, with Bob Heaton, John Higgins, and Paul Vopdrain took third.
John Fuchs won both longest drive and closest to the pin for the men, while Christine Stokes had the longest women's drive, and Joyce Queen was closest to the pin among the ladies. The overall winner, of course, was Christmas Island Style (CIS).
It could be said every player was a winner, taking advantage of the chance to get out in nature on the lush and manicured Rookery course, with the dew still heavy on the ground, get together with friends for a friendly game, and all for a good cause.
Not that there weren't moments of disagreement. When their foursome placed three precise shots on the green at hole number 16, a par three playing at 139 yards from the white tees, Jim Ramage and Larkin Barnett each pointed at the other when asked who had put the fourth ball into the water.
One foursome asked a photographer to pass along that they made the following foursome wait only because they themselves were waiting for the foursome in front of them. But the sky was a deep blue, the flowers burst out of their beds, and the air was sweet. Alligators cruised slowly down the lakes, and a heron posed on the cart-path bridge, as if posing for the Rookery's logo. The beverage cart circulated, Mulligans were taken, and the "best ball" format kept play moving along.
Before the golfers headed out for the shotgun start, they heard from Christmas Island Style head elf Steve Stefanides, who thanked the premier sponsors including CJ's on the Bay, Dunkin' Donuts, and Mutual of Omaha Bank, as well as the Marriott Rookery Golf Club for hosting the event. In addition, over 65 hole sponsors contributed to support the event. Stefanides then introduced "perennial chairman, of this and every other event" Dick Shanahan, and put in a plug for "the nicest day we've had in a long while."
Christmas Island Style has a busy slate of events on the horizon. On Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is the Marco Florist Holiday Open House with the display and sale of the 2012 CIS Christmas ornament. On Nov. 13, the annual spaghetti dinner raises money for all CIS activities, and on Nov. 13, the 25th Silver Anniversary Dinner Dance for CIS takes place at the Island Country Club.