Golfers and golf fans alike are in for a bit of a treat at the end of this month as a number of professionals will be hitting the links at Gull Lake Golf Course in an effort to help raise funds for a new foundation that will ultimately assist members of the club’s junior program to attain a higher education.
The professionals who will be participating in the fundraiser include Sam Randolph who played on the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) Tour from 1987 to 1992 and is currently playing on the Nike, now known as the Nationwide Tour; and Kris Tschetter, a consistent money winner on the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golfers Association) including two wins, 10 second place finishes and 50 top-10 finishes.
Also participating will be former Alberta Open winner Stuart Hendley who, since turning pro in 1986 has 18 professional wins worldwide including three Canadian Tour championships; Perry Parker who qualified for and competed in three US Opens along with 30 professional wins worldwide including five Canadian Tour victories and Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk who in addition to recording five consecutive Women’s Canadian Long Drive Championships, has also won the Ladies Club Championships at the Lynx Ridge Club in Calgary five times from 2000 to 2005.
As an added bonus, former Gull Lake Junior Golf Program member Brandon Regnier will also be returning to his old stomping grounds to help out the foundation. Currently working as an assistant professional at the Derrick Golf and Winter Club, Regnier has competed on the PGA of Alberta Assistants Tour and will be playing in the Gateway Professional Golf Tour in Arizona this winter.
“What we have going on is a pro-am fundraiser for our Junior League out here at Gull Lake Golf Course and we’re bringing in some special players,” said Eamon McCann who owns and operates the course with his wife Carla. “There’s various ways that people can assist to help this fund. On the Sunday evening we’re going have a demonstration with the four professionals hitting different shots out on the fairways. So the people invited to those demonstrations are those who step up to the plate.”
The foundation has four categories of sponsorship in which the corporate and/or business community is invited to participate. The first two – Aces for sponsorship up to or exceeding $1,000 and Birdies, for sponsorships between $500 and $999, will have the opportunity to enjoy a private clinic with the professionals on Sunday, June 29.
The remaining two categories, including Pars for sponsorships ranging from $100 to $499; and Bogies, for sponsorships up to $100, will be included in a blanket advertising campaign throughout central Alberta as well as being listed as a scorecard sponsor.
The following day, all six golfers will hit the links in a three-on-three format similar to major tournaments on television whereby spectators can move freely throughout the course with the golfers while remaining behind roped-off areas. Tickets for that aspect of the fundraiser will run at $20 for a family, $10 for adults and $5 for youth under 17 years of age.
And as if that isn’t enough, the foundation will also be holding a weeklong silent auction featuring items that will appease the most ardent golf fan as well as many other items from various other sports.
“We’re going to run the silent auction from the Monday prior to the event – June 23 to Monday, June 30,” McCann said. “We’ve got some trips out to British Columbia, we have some autographed sweaters coming in, some autographed pictures and various other items like golf rounds at some very prestigious private golf courses.”
In addition, the silent auction will also include a package of items from the Canadian Ski Team as well as a variety of jackets and other pieces of clothing. The list continues to grow however as more and more items are appearing on a daily basis.
But the bottom line, according to McCann, is raising as much money as possible to fund the foundation which, in turn, should make the road to a higher education a lot easier.
“The reason we’re bringing in these professional golfers is all about supporting the Junior Golf Foundation,” he said. “Those kids who have been members of the junior program can apply back to us to receive scholarship funding to pursue their further education. Behind that is the fact that we’re getting a lot of great support from local people and local companies. They’ve been very generous in supporting us.”
McCann said the process in determining who will ultimately qualify for the scholarship funding has nothing to do with being the best golfer or who can hit the ball the furthest but instead will be based on an essay submitted by the juniors revealing sportsmanship, leadership and what they’ve taken away from their time in the Junior Program.
“It’s based on anybody who has ever played in our junior program and they are encouraged to apply for the funding. They’re very welcome to come out and get an application form to fill out and send in. There’s going to be a selection committee who are going to read over all the allocations and come up with the winners,” McCann said.
“At the end of August when we have our wind-up for the junior program, we’ll be giving out some money towards scholarships,” he added. “So any junior in the past that is going on to colleges or universities or any kind of education, can apply to receive some of this money.”
McCann said this is an ideal opportunity for golfers and fans of the game to witness first-hand the play of professionals and to help out a great cause while spending a day at the course.
“We’re looking forward to a lot of people coming out to support this. It’s not very often in central Alberta that we have the privilege of having some PGA and LPGA event players and a couple of guys who’ve played all around the world,” he said. “We’re also very lucky to have one of our local juniors representing us here. We’re very proud of that. So hopefully the sun will shine and everyone will have a great day out here.”
Any business, corporate or individual interested in donating an item to the silent auction, participating in the private clinic with the professionals or would like to attend the three-on-three competition among the six golfers, are invited to contact the Gull Lake Golf Course for more details.