Seventy golfers from the United States and Canada joined together on Monday, May 13, 2013 at the Somerset Hills Country Club in Bernardsville, New Jersey, to raise awareness and money for the orphans served by Worldwide Orphans Foundation.
The night before the "shotgun tournament" was so cold that there was frost on the course. Monday morning, the sun was out, but knowing that I would be greeting all the golfers on the course throughout the day, I arrived prepared with 5 layers of clothing anticipating the wind and the cold. It never went above the low 50s, but it was a perfect day. WWO Staff, shivered in the cold, but registered and greeted the golfers, with big smiles.
All the golfers were very connected to the cause by end of day. They did their homework and read the website and engaged in conversations about the programs. The main conversations, however, became about the fairway, the rough where balls were lost, the sand traps, lakes, rivers and challenging greens. I observed that the greens were just plain impossible. Putt after putt ran down the green, flew past the hole or stopped short of the hole. None of the golfers seemed exasperated. The golfers were mostly appreciative of a day out for a great cause.
The foursomes donned their "blue glasses" to show their support of WWO and its sweet boys and girls in our five countries: Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Haiti, Serbia and Vietnam. Though none of our thousands of children and hundreds of staff will understand this game of golf, they certainly will be grateful for the $70,000 coming their way in the form of innovative and creative programs that help them to feel excited, productive, healthy and independent at the end of each of their days.
The day ended with prizes for the intrepid and exhilarated group. Longest drive went to Kerry Kittles (NY Nets) and the lowest score of 64, was from the foursome including Frank Bruno, Mike Giunta, Drew Rosenfeld and Luigi Lanzi. Closest to the hole went to Greg Angellilo at 4 feet 1 inch. Wow! No hole in one this time (which would have resulted in a new Mercedes or BMW from Open Road Auto Group), but next year....well, I am hopeful. Two celebrated New York Giants were out on the course i.e. Amani Toomer and Keith Elias. It was certainly a thrill for all of us to have such esteemed athletes support our efforts on the course.
Cocktails and dinner followed our long and happy day. The prizes were handed out and Andrew Allen, our hero of the day, who arranged the golf outing at his club and recruited many of the foursomes, gave an inspiring speech about his travel to Haiti to see the WWO programs. A special thanks to Merrill Lynch, which was represented by several foursomes care of and including Andrew Allen.
Two of our WWO Canada board members, John Finnigan and John Lockbaum, flew down from Toronto to support our efforts. WWO Canada will be holding their annual golf tournament in September in Toronto and I look forward to attending that event as well. Thanks to our staff for braving the chill of the day and helping to make the event so successful.
All the golfers were photographed with their blue glasses and those photos were printed, placed in covers and handed out to the players by Joe Epstein, our volunteer photographer. Memories like this are forever. Some players continued to play with the glasses for good luck. Athletes commonly enjoy talismans to improve their games! Check the WWO Facebook page for a display of the fun and success of the WWO golf outing.
Looking forward to the return of the annual WWO Golf Tournament in May 2014.