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Charity Golf Tournaments Ė Part 1

Teeing it up for Charity
Charity Golf Tournaments; Good Fun for Good Causes

By Eric Tracy (aka The Mulligan Man)

Published in FORE Magazine November/December 2002

Editor's Note:Soon after joining the Dodgers radio broadcast team in 1982, KABC General Manager George Green invited me to play in my first charity golf tournament. I had a fabulous time. The day at El Caballero Country Club was wonderfully full everything golferís like; great weather, a terrific golf course, lotsa good food, good drink, some good and no-so-good golf and getting to pal around with Ďthe guysí which really was my favorite part.

Little did I know twenty years ago that charity golf tournaments would become such a big part of my professional life. To date Iíve either played, organized, sat on the committee, been the celebrity host, acted as a consultant, served as the Master of Ceremonies or performed as my golfing alter ego--The Mulligan Man--at more than 400 charity events.

In this issue of FORE Magazine Iím going share that 20 years of tournament experience to encourage the golfers reading this whoíve never played in a charity tournament to pony-up an entry fee to support a worthy cause. Not only for the community good your dollars will do in the name of charity but for the good time you will certainly have. And donít worry; you wonít have to look hard to find a tournament. Itís been estimated there are 5,000 charity golf tournaments a year in Southern CaliforniaÖand I think that number is drastically short.

Then, in the next issue of FORE, due out in January, Iím going to shift gears and speak to charity tournament organizers, tournament committee members, organizations thinking of having a charity tournament and as importantly FOR golfers who pay play in these events. After 400 of these things I think Iíve got a handle of what works..and what doesnít, what golfers like and what they donít so Iíll share my recipes for tournament success.

Here we go.

ďIíLL BE HOME LATE, DEARĒ: Charity golf tournaments are all-day tickets so plan on playing hooky from work. (I know that breaks your heart). Your entry fee to a good tournament will include a Golfer Goodie Bag. This is a thank you for attending. Golfer Goodie Bags are like a present from your Aunt in Iowa. Sometimes itís good stuff, sometimes you wonder what she (or the tournament committee) was thinking. But, hey, itís a gift, be nice, donít complain. Prepare to attend the tournament hungry and rested. Some days starts early with a continental breakfast. Then itísall the balls you want to hit on the range. Maybe thereís a putting contest to get you loose. Some golfers show up right before the tournament starts. Not me. I love hanging with golfers, being a range rat, telling dirty jokes on the putting green. Soon itís time to start. Everybody takes off at the same time starting on a different hole in whatís called a Ďshotgun startí. Youíll either have a BBQ lunch at the turn or they load your cart with (yech!) a box lunch. (Weíll address that awful truth in the next issue). Look for tubs of iced-down drinks (water, soda and sometimes beer) on the course. During the 18-holes there will be a few skills contests on the course. Maybe a longest drive, a couple closest to the pins, maybe youíll be lucky and win a car for a hole-in-one. Charity golf tournaments are wonderful if you are a) a new golfer; b) play only a few times a year, or; c) just arenít very good. 90% of these events are a ĎScrambleí format. In a Scrambe you play as a team picking the best shot of every four shots played. Youíll meet new people(if you donít come in a twosome or foursome of your own). Maybe youíll make a business contact or two. During the round youíll make a handful of team birdies, a couple of bogies if any at all and lots of pars. After golf thereís a cocktail party, dinner and an awards banquet. Usually thereís a raffle, sometimes a silent auction, sometimes a live auction. The later three items usually cost you a little more dough, so bring some cash, grab a check or donít forget your credit card. Plan on being at the course for at least 8-hoursÖmore if youíre like me and like to get there early and/or leave late. Domestic advice: stop on the way home and grab a bunch of flowers for your significant other, youíve been gone a long timeÖor give him/her the trophy you won.

MIX PLEASURE WITH BUSINESS: If you already spend money on client/vendor entertainment, playing in charity golf tournaments is another great way of building business relationships. Aside from getting a chance to spend a considerable amount of time with a new prospect or valued customer itís also an efficient use of your time and money. The charity benefits, you benefit and heckÖwhen you invite customers to golf itís not really playing hooky, is it?

PLAY GREAT COURSES FOR GREAT CAUSES: If youíve always wanted to play Riviera Country Club and you donít know a member how are you going to play it? In a charity golf tournament, thatís how. On almost any given Monday places like Riviera, Wilshire, Sherwood, Dove Canyon and about 3-dozen other member-only country clubs regularly book charity golf tournaments. Entry fees for tournaments at clubs like these can be on the pricey side. But, writing a $300 check to a charity to play Dove Canyon is still a lot cheaper than the having to fork over the price of a Mercedes to join the club.

TRY IT YOUíLL LIKE IT! Whether the tournament benefits a local womenís shelter, a huge national charity like the American Red Cross or you just want to honor the effort of someone who cares (like Operation Progress, a foundation started by a LAPD officer who raises funds to help ghetto kids get out of the ghetto) charity tournaments fund lots of terrific good work in our community. Youíll find tournament listings in the pages of this magazine. Youíll find them in other regional golf publications. Youíll see flyers posted at golf shops and driving ranges. The best source, listing nearly 1,000 tournaments every year on more than 100 courses from San Diego to Santa Barbara, visit Charity Golf Online (www.CharityGolfOnline.com ), the Internetís only clearinghouse of local charity golf tournaments. Itís often said that even the worst day of golf is better than your best day at work but how bad can the golf be when youíre on the tee for charity

Eric Tracy is a sportscaster on KFWB NEWS 980. To find out more about The Mulligan Man visit www.TheMulliganMan.com or send email to Eric@TheMulliganMan.com

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