One in million, Golfers' Charitable Association has scorecard to prove it

John Steadman

October 09, 1991|By John Steadman

Instead of putting its fund-raising on hold, when there was no longer a professional tournament to sponsor, the Golfers' Charitable Association merely found another format. It now stages an event for its own pleasure but the profits are still directed to important causes.

After an afternoon on the golf course at the Green Spring Hunt Club, representatives of the Kennedy Institute for Handicapped Children and the International Center for Skeletal Dysplasia at St. Joseph's Hospital attended a dinner and presentation last night where checks for $45,000 and $30,000 were awarded to the respective beneficiaries.

The recipients were overjoyed because of the generosity expressed in their behalf. But it qualified as a banner occasion for the Golfers' Charitable Association. It meant it has now contributed to charities in the Baltimore area a total of $1,009,300 from 1967 through last night's festivities. It's a momentous figure and one that merits applause.

Utilizing golf as the catalyst, the non-profit organization directs all proceeds to children-oriented disabilities. "It's our goal to entertain our golf participants in an outstanding way," said president Dave Fisher."Being able to play at an extraordinary club such as Green Spring is important to all the golfers. But, apart from that, the good time we have is secondary because of the fact our group has been able to make these significant financial donations to these and other important institutions."

The Golfers' Charitable Association had its inception when the late Paul Hampshire organized a group of Baltimore business and professional leaders to sponsor a tour visit by the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Each member, upon joining, had to pay a $1,000 initiation fee, which, in turn, was invested for the future.

Then, when the Baltimore group, which was paying the bills, got involved in a controversy with the LPGA management, it decided it was going to continue functioning whether the pros, taking the maximum and giving little in return, came here or not. In the process, more monies have been raised under the current concept -- a one-day golf outing -- than ever before.

Meanwhile, the Golfers' Charitable Association is poised to roll into action in the event a professional tournament, perhaps a stop on the PGA Senior Tour, is booked in the Baltimore metropolitan area. It stands ready to do its part because the charge in its constitution is to support major golf attractions that are held here.

"That will always be a consideration," explained Gil Kunz, a member of the board of trustees. "We would like to see an important event established here and would lend our support if, at the same time, it provides an opportunity to fulfill our charitable objectives. Frank Palmer, the tournament chairman, has outlined these exact same ideas."

For the last five years, at the suggestion of Bill Clarke, a past national president of the PGA, the Middle Atlantic section of the PGA has cooperated. Twenty-four club professionals were a part of the scramble play yesterday, which adds an extra dimension of interest.

"It's something different for us, kind of a change of pace," commented Bill Bassler of the Rolling Road Country Club. "No doubt, the fact the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club permits use of its course is an important attraction for both the pros and the amateurs. It's a first-rate day of fun and the kind of thing we consider a pleasure."

The Golfers' Charitable Association attempts to maintain its ongoing treasury balance at the $500,000 level. It likes to make sizable grants, but feels it's important not to invade the principle to accomplish such a goal. This is a sound philosophy that has worked for 24 eventful years and has been responsible for giving the organization a strong fiscal stability.

Next October will mark 25 years of golf (plus charity involvement) and, no doubt, the occasion will be highlighted with a celebration.

None of the officers of the association is compensated for his time and effort, which is commendable. This is pure dedication to a cause and as a new generation of directors take up the baton there is assurance the same spirit of giving through golf will prevail.

That total of $1,009,300 is impressive. A lot of wayward golf shots result any time they tee it up, but the final accounting for charity sends them all home with the realization the cause truly befits their continuing attention.

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