Golfers' Charitable group finds fair way to fund-raise

John Steadman

October 08, 1990|By John Steadman

Projecting names and faces in the interest of self-aggrandizement has never been a goal of an organization that plays golf with a singular, yet collective, motivation: to help those in need. It's appropriately called the Golfers' Charitable Association.

They'll play a round of golf tomorrow, 84 amateurs plus one professional from the Middle Atlantic area, and in the process write a check for $75,000 that will assist the Kennedy Institute and the Little People research program. It's more money than most charity-sponsored events are able to contribute from the proceeds of an afternoon of golf.

Not all the receipts, however, are accrued from this one-day outing, made possible through the generosity of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, which makes an elegant course and clubhouse available. Where and how is the profit generated?

"We have 106 members of Golfers' Charitable," says John Trageser, the tournament chairman. "When the group organized in 1967, each of us, as individuals, contributed $1,000. It was important to establish a sound financial base. Our funds were wisely invested. So the profits are utilized, along with the golf fees, to assist the charities."

Jon Ladd, Bill Sporre and Art Scott were the first three finishers a year ago among the pros and they'll be on the firing line tomorrow, along with close to a score of their contemporaries. A dinner/awards presentation, with speeches to a minimum, follows the golf.

The total contributed to a diverse lineup of charities over the years amounts to $930,000. So in 1991 the amount may reach or surpass $1 million. It might be expected the organization would want to throw itself a congratulatory party, after reaching such an enormously significant milestone, but, if precedent holds, the Golfers' Charitable crowd would probably forgo that in lieu of giving a stronger boost to the cause it represents.

"This is an extraordinary group," said Gil Kunz, who has been identified with the effort since its inception. "The members are from diverse positions of leadership in the Baltimore community. Much pressure is put on them to take part in most of the fund-raisers that are held throughout the year. But they continue their devotion to the Golfers' Charitable Association."

The Golfers' Charitable concept was organized in 1967, mainly through the efforts of Paul Hampshire, Charles Knott, Louis "Rip" Mann, George Baker, Fred Glose, Bob Burtick, Stud Windsor and Dr. and Grace Pierpont. Then along came Bill Landon four years ago, with the encouragement of then Hillendale professional Bill Clarke, to include representatives of the Middle Atlantic PGA.

The entry fee for a foursome is $2,000, or $500 per player, which makes it one of the most expensive of its kind in a golf market that is exploding with all kinds of charity-oriented programs, from the "4H Club" to "Save-A-Heart," and literally hundreds of others.

What the Golfers' Charitable Association is hoping to do, through its president, George R. Frank, Trageser, Kunz and the rest of the membership, is to participate in the return of some type of professional tournament to Baltimore. "It's a lot of fun putting on this one-day scramble," says Trageser, "but we are prepared to lend our total support to a future golfing project featuring the professionals. Maybe a stop on the Senior Tour."

If the Senior Tour granted dates to Baltimore it would be received with record enthusiasm. A chance to see Jack Nicklaus, Jim Dent, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Bob Charles, Chi Chi Rodriguez -- apart from one-day exhibitions and an occasional clinic -- would bring to Baltimore a spectating pleasure that has been too long denied.

So the Golfers' Charitable Association is standing by, vigilant at any prospect of being involved in a solid professional tournament presentation. Meanwhile, its immediate concern is to continue to gather for this annual fund-raiser and to collect a substantial amount of money for charities they know can't afford to wait for assistance.

It's an exemplary effort, one deserving of applause and emulation, because of the good it represents to the entire community, with golf serving as the catalyst for the cause.

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