Young pros play key roles in tournaments

Randy Kambic
Special to Coastal Life

Of the many area golf and tennis events held just recently, young pros and staff members were particularly instrumental in the success of two of them.

Results of second annual tournament supporting Liberty Youth Ranch at Bonita Bay Club are recorded on scoreboard by Andy Gibson and on computer by Kyle Heaton.

Bonita Bay Club benefit

Bonita Bay Club’s second annual golf tournament for Liberty Youth Ranch involved 211 men and women on all three courses — Marsh, Creekside and Bay Island.

Kyle Heaton, 29, second assistant pro and women’s tournament coordinator, and Andy Gibson, 28, men’s tournament coordinator, and the rest of the staff were busy long before the first drive.

Andy Gibson, men's tournament director; E.J. McDonell, director of golf; and Kyle Heaton, second assistant pro and women's tournament director, at the second annual tournament supporting Liberty Youth Ranch at Bonita Bay Club.

Among other activities, they communicated with players on scheduling, worked on setting up golf carts and bags, and tabulated results, and then joined the golf committee in the awards reception, silent auctions and raffles of valuable prizes from the club and area businesses.

“They all work together on events with passion,” said E.J. McDonnell, Bonita Bay Club director of golf. “Members participate to enjoy themselves and are giving to the cause so we watch that every detail is covered.”

Heaton added: “This is one of the events where many members aren’t quite as competitive because they’re doing it for a cause.”

Alan C. Dimmitt, founder, CEO and president of the nonprofit Liberty Youth Ranch of Bonita Springs, which operates a residential campus and provides homes and social services for vulnerable children in Southwest Florida, said the club’s support helps to ensure that children are “provided a home, hope and healing.

“As an organization that accepts no county, state or federal funding, we rely solely on the generosity of our community,” Dimmitt said.


The gross and net winning foursomes, respectively, on the three courses were:

• Chadwick Saunders, Gavin Gillette, Kim Shearburn and Owen Joyner, 52;

• Stan and Jane Nelson, Reggie Timson and Bob Heyne, 50 (Bay);

• Jean and Brad Alspaugh and Josh and Ronna Nagin, 61;

• Richard and Ann Powell and Bill and Kay Britton, 55 (Marsh);

• Tim and Sue O’Reily and Alan and Pat Murphy, 64, and

• From a four-way tie, Bob Krimsier, Renee Carter, Dee McClay and Anne Pommer, 58 (Creekside).

The club and organization hope that the total amount raised after final fundraising activities earlier this week will reach or exceed last year’s total of about $145,000.

Jordi Vives; Bill Williams, president of Cascades of Estero Homeowners Association; and director of tennis Manuel Encalada during the club’s annual pro tournament.

Cascades at Estero

Manuel Encalada, 30, tennis director at the Cascades at Estero, supervised the third annual men’s pro doubles tournament involving 18 outstanding area pros, including himself, March 5-6.

Six matches were held on Saturday with the semifinals and finals the next day.

Most of the $2,500 in prize money was raised by members; Tennis R Us and other sponsors also contributed.

Cascade members had lots to cheer about as Encalada teamed with former FGCU No. 1 player Jordi Vives to edge Sergio Rebolledo and Jerome Moenter in the finals, 2-6, 6-3 (10-6).

Along with coordinating league play and providing lessons, Encalada leads a popular three-hour men’s clinic every Tuesday morning.

“To me, court positioning is key,” Encalada said. “Don’t teach just one way. I try to make members as good and comfortable as possible whatever their style, whether they hug the baseline or are more aggressive.”

Pro League

In his fifth year with the club, Encalada, who represented his native Ecuador on several Davis Cup teams and was previously a pro at the Dunes in Naples and the West Bay Club in Estero, is also playing in the current 11-event Southwest Florida Pro League for the fifth year.

“A lot of Cascade members go to matches,” he said. He was paired with Scott Harrington, head pro at Shadow Wood Country Club.

He’s gratified how much members enjoy watching pros in both league play and Cascade tournaments.

“They love to see hard hitting, poaching and more, and want to try it themselves!”

Bill Williams, president of the Cascades at Estero Homeowners Association, an active player and former president of the community’s tennis committee, cited Encalada’s traits that have greatly increased member play.

“He’s competitive, passionate and displays lots of energy and enthusiasm. He’s clear in his teaching and repeats tips when necessary. I’m playing a lot more due to him.”

Beyond the gates

The Southwest Florida Pro League’s championship matches will be held at West Bay Club on March 25 ...Village Walk in Bonita Springs will hold its annual Davis Cup tennis tournament on March 26.