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Golf Challenge starts 2nd decade

By Staff | Jan 4, 2013

The 11th annual Sanctuary Community Golf Challenge is just around the corner.

In its first 10 years, the event raised more than $800,000 for the Charitable Foundation of the Islands and other island charities through the generous support of the golfing communities on Sanibel and Captiva.

This year’s tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Sanctuary Golf Club, the title sponsor for the second year in a row.

“Last year we raised over $100,000 for the charity,” said Sanctuary assistant pro John Pazdera. “We turn the course over to the tournament instead of allowing membership play for the day, though several of our members do play in the tournament.”

The entry fee for individual golfers for the foursome shamble format event is $250. A number of spots are still available in the 132-player challenge that begins with a brunch at 10:30 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Golfers and others gather at the clubhouse for post-challenge awards, food and refreshments. There’s also a helicopter tour and ball drop offered.

“Golfers can purchase golf balls each with a number on them,” said Pazdera. “The helicopter drops the balls from 500 feet in the air hovering over a flagstick in the No. 1 fairway. The three balls closest to the flag win a share of half the pot with the other half going to the charity.”

Tournament director Drew Donnelly has seen the tournament grow tremendously over the years.

“I think we raised around $50,000 the first year,” said Donnelly, who has been the only director. “Now we are hovering over the $100,000 mark for the last four years.”

The January date was chosen so many of the island’s seasonal residents can participate and not not interfere with the club’s events during the season.

There is still time to for residents and businesses to join the sponsorship opportunities for as little as $150 to sponsor a hole. There’s also a $5,000 Diamond Partnership available, which includes additional rounds of golf and meals at the Sanctuary Golf Club.

All proceeds go directly to Charitable Foundation of the Islands which distributes assistance to other island nonprofits, individual island residents and workers with medical or financial hardships.

Sanctuary Golf Club general manager Ken Kouril says club members warmly embrace the event through their generosity and commitment.

“The Sanctuary Community Golf Challenge allows opportunities for our community to pay it forward and say thank you,” said Kouril.

For more information about the event contact Drew Donnelly at (239) 472-6223 or ddonnelly@sanctuarygc.net.