Langleyites are hitting the links in large numbers this month, all in aid of local non-profit organizations.
There are several charity golf tournaments being held between now and the end of the month, with thousands expected to be generated for the hospital and school district foundations, as well as Big Brothers and Basics for Babies.
Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation is the first off the tee Thursday, Aug. 16 with their 22nd annual golf tournament.
As is the case for all four fundraising tourneys, they’re all being held at The Redwoods Golf Course in Walnut Grove.
The hospital’s event is sold out with golfers teeing off in a shotgun start at noon today. That follows a tailgate barbecue aimed at fueling up all the supporters before they head out, said foundation spokesperson Terra Scheer.
The number of golfers participating is up from 110 last year to 130 this year, and Scheer hopes the increase in participants (up to 170 for the banquet dinner) will also translate to more money for the cause.
Last year’s event generated $67,000.
“We’re hoping to match or beat it this year,” she said, explaining that the dollars raised today will be going towards the foundation’s campaign for the new emergency ward set to open in late 2020, and the new MRI suite expected to be complete by fall 2019.
While the increased numbers of golfers and dinner guests should up the tally, Scheer said a fun live auction item being auctioned off before the tournament should give them an added boost.
BC Lions wide receiver and returning specialist Marco Iannuzzi is game to play a round of golf for the cause,. So, the highest bidder wins not only a chance to play alongside Iannuzzi for the day, but also an eight-pack of tickets to a future Lions game.
He’ll join the high bidder’s foursome as the fifth player, a definite advantage, Scheer said.
“He’s rumoured to be a very good golfer, so you’ll actually have a great chance of getting a good score that day,” Scheer added of the successful bidder.
Music and golf unite
Next on tap for charity golf tournaments is the sold out and always popular The Boys of Fall Charity Golf Tournament, set for Tuesday, Aug. 21.
This sixth annual event is hosted by Langley’s own country music star Dallas Smith, and his buddy Chad Brownlee, a hockey-player-turned country musician formerly from Langleyite.
This tournament, which includes an evening concert on the green, raises money for babies in need. Last year alone, the duo raised $143,000 for the cause, and they’re hoping to top that this year.
Putting for kids sake
With the Big Brothers Big Sisters bowl-a-thon a thing of the past in Langley (with the impending closure of the Willowbrook Lanes), the Golf For Kids Sake tourney next week takes on even more importance for the youth organization.
For 31 years now, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley has been hosting a fundraising golf day, and this year’s event is slated for next Wednesday, Aug. 22.
The day kicks off with a tailgate party and lunch at 10:30 a.m., then features 18 holes of golf starting at noon, and a banquet dinner to follow, explained executive director Rosyln Henderson.
One week out from the event, she said there was still room for a few foursomes, at the cost of $250 per golfer. But given that the event typically sells out, she wasn’t expecting the spots to be available for long.
Money raised from this event goes towards the ongoing operation of local agency that provides mentoring to young people in Langley. Last year, it generated a record $62,000 for the organization, and Henderson hopes to meet or exceed that total next week.
“It’s been steadily growing over the last few years, which is kind of surprising for an event that has been around as long as this one,” she added.
This is now the agency’s single largest fundraiser of the year, but it might not hold that title for long, Henderson elaborated.
The team is in the process of organizing a game-show theme gala for next February, to replace the bowl-a-thon.
“It’s a fun spin on a gala,” pun intended, Henderson said. “It will have a game show component (like Deal-No Deal) giving people a chance to win some of the large prize packages we’ll have available.”
While all the details for that fundraiser are still being worked out, Henderson said her team is currently focusing all their efforts on the Golf for Kids Sake.
That included putting out a plea this week for volunteers.
Those interested can call the office 604-530-5055 to sign up as event helper, or likewise people can also call to register as a golfer.
Pro golfer pitch in
And last, but definitely not least on the charity golf list this month at Redwoods is the Langley School District Foundation’s 13th annual tournament on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
Like the others, it starts in the late morning with a tailgate party, followed by a shotgun start at noon, an afternoon on the greens, then barbecue dinner back at the clubhouse.
It’s hoped this year’s event will raise about $90,000 for the foundation’s Food for Thought initiative, said Susan Cairns, the foundation’s executive director.
“This is the tournament fundraiser that helps to ensure that any Langley student who comes to school hungry will receive a nutritious breakfast, a snack throughout the day, a hearty lunch and a weekend backpack to take home to their family,” Cairns said.
“Not only that, the event raises funds to implement garden towers into every Langley school. These are miracle gardens that require no land, no soil, very little water and no maintenance. They produce bushels of organic produce all year round, in any climate and do so with no insecticides, no contamination and no stress on the environment.”
With a few last-minute cancellations this week, she said there are just a few spots left before the event is completely sold out.
“The tournament is clearly a day of philanthropic festivities,” she said. “And for those of you who think that such is an oxymoron, think again.”
Of particular interest this year, she said a pro-golfer from Charity International will be hand at the fourth hole, and for a minimum donation of $10, tournament golfers can have the pro tee off for them – hopefully enabling them to score one under par (an eagle) and reduce their overall game score and up their chances to win prizes, Cairns explained.
On top of registration fees, sponsorships, the silent auction, and donations collected by the pro golfer, she expects this year’s key contest to raise a nice chunk of cash for the cause.
This contest allows people buy a key, and then try that key in the door, hoping it will unlock a windfall of prizes that include the use of a Mercedes-Benz for a weekend trip to Vancouver Island. The prize comes complete with two nights hotel, meals, and assorted other goodies (including covering the cost of the ferry).
Those interested in registering for this one can contact Cairns at 604-532-1464, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or pay online at www.langleyschooldistrictfoundation.com.
Dozens of tourneys on tap
While these are four big charity tournaments coming up at the Redwoods Golf Course, general manager Doug Hawley said it’s only a sampling of what happens between June and September.
Redwoods typically holds about 25 to 30 charity tournaments each year, plus there’s another 20 or so corporate events held, where a portion of the proceeds are earmarked for charity, Hawley explained.
That translates, in the last year alone, to about $850,000 raised for charity on the Redwood fairways.
One of the biggest events is a tournament organized by Hawley, himself.
Last month, he hosted the 20th annual Drive for the Cure, raising $163,000.
He started that tournament two decades ago with Kurt Fischer and Rob Jeeves – after all of them had family members who were diagnosed with cancer.
Since then, every year they divvy up the proceeds among hospitals, cancer clinics, and treatment centres throughout the Lower Mainland. For instance, last year they donated $100,000 to Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Literally, Hawley said, this event for 140 golfers sells out a year ahead.