There may have been a few trees hit and a few lost balls but there wasn’t a hole on the course where golfers weren’t smiling on Friday.
The 21st annual NOCLS golf tournament at the Vernon Golf and Country Club was a huge success raising a record $102,350, thanks largely in part to the community and the many sponsors.
“What an amazing group of people who understand the meaning of giving,” said North Okanagan Community Life Society executive director Garry Molitwenik. “Thank you so much to everyone for making this year’s event the most successful event ever.”
The major auction, consisting of 25 items and conducted by Bob Woodman, raised half of the total at $51,275, with the Kal Jet golf package to Oregon going for $18,000.
The low gross title, at 61, went to the team of Dean Francks, Chuck Winn, Jason Kasper and Gary Gilchrist, while the Far West winning team, low net at 10 under par, was made up of Jamie Skinner, Ryan Chambers, Les Butler and Ron Racine.
Vernon Dodge’s Brian Johnston, who has been a sponsor of the event since day one, received Good Guy of the Year honours and gave a heartfelt speech about being part of such a giving community and paid tribute to the late Tom Foord, Kal Tire founder and a former Good Guy of the Year.
Tournament organizer Molitwenik also earned a rousing ovation Friday night for his energetic efforts on behalf of developmentally disabled adults.
The event got underway Thursday evening when Lynnaya Frasch and Lisa Starke, two Morning Star staffers, drew a record $3,000 during the caddy auction. The two ladies, who offered a golf package and clothing, helped raise a record $13,800 in the auction.
Provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix wasn’t far behind at $2,600.
Dix, who has little experience on the links, was happy to be a caddy for the tournament.
He was surprised with how much he raised, but after seeing teammates Sue Beaudry, Gloria Morgan, Ian Jensen and Glenn Mitchell hit balls in various directions, joked about how some political skills may have been the reason his bid was so high.
While his Texas Scramble team enjoyed their round, Dix was just happy to be contributing to a worthy charity.
“What a great cause here, they raised just an unbelievable amount last night and you look at the auction tonight and all the players who are playing here and it’s just amazing,” said Dix.
The Vernon Fire Department had the third largest bid in the often competitive caddy auction with a total bid of $2,200.
Molitwenik was ecstatic to see the caddies and golfers in good spirits Friday.
“The hearts were extremely big last night, and they are the same today,” said Molitwenik. “The success has been beyond pleasing, it’s been amazing, it’s wonderful, phenomenal. Words aren’t descriptive as to how supportive this community is.”
Despite having lower numbers in the weeks leading up to the tournament, Molitwenik was excited to see the community rally to support a great cause.
“A week and a half ago we needed 44 players, and all of the sudden we’re sold out and have extras,” said Molitwenik.