The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 20, 2013

Goodwin: Golfing greats are quick to give

Many top professional golfers and entertainment figures have given their names to star-studded tournaments that raise millions dollars for hospitals, children’s charities, health research and treatment for major illnesses and injuries.

We salute them for their commitment to give back not only to the game of golf but to their fans and people in great need. Without them, Arnold Palmer’s Children’s Hospital might not exist. Barney Adams’ assistance to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is giving hope to adults and children with medical research. Former President Bill Clinton and Humana are trying to raise money to improve the health of young people.

The December issue of Golf Digest highlights some those who are giving back for their fame and fortunes by lending their names to charity tournaments. They include actors Michael J. Fox and Morgan Freeman, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and LPGA star Christie Kerr.

I would recommend that readers pick up a copy and read it, if they haven’t already done so.

Golf is a perfect sport for raising money on behalf of good causes.

It began decades ago with exhibitions by some of the tour’s early stars, such as Bobby Jones, Walter Hagan, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.

Charities graduated to the “big time” when Bing Crosby put his name on the Crosby Clambake at Pebble Beach and top actors and sports figures rushed to play in the 1930s and 1940s. Bob Hope joined Crosby a few years later with the Bob Hope Desert Classic.

Following in the footsteps of “Der Bingle” and “Ski Nose” were such giants of the entertainment world as Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Andy Williams. In recent years, Justin Timberlake put his name on a major Las Vegas tourney.

I am thankful for all of these “heroes” for their contributions of time, energy and money to improve the lot of so many Americans stricken with debilitating or deadly diseases.

But there are millions of other “involved individuals” of which we seldom or never hear. They are the men and women who donate their time and effort to putting on the local fund-raising tournaments every spring, summer and fall. Many of these events were listed in an area golf calendar published by the Joplin Globe a few weeks ago. Others will get their message out closer to tournament time.

I would love to play in all of them. But the sheer number makes that financially impossible. So, like most golfers, I have to pick and choose.

I admit that I am prejudiced toward the Children’s Miracle Network, which does so much regionally to help babies in hospital preemie units and to provide much-needed equipment and services for young children.

As an official “soft touch,” I do what I can do. Virtually every charitable tournament deserves support, whether it is a fund-raiser for a family with a critically ill child or for research that might eradicate a killer disease.

My suggestion to the local and regional players who can’t always plop down the bucks to play in these events is to check out what might be done to make them more successful. Consider volunteering to get donations for prizes or getting out the word on the tournament. Then reach deeper into your pocket, if you can, for an extra dollar.

In the end, everything helps.

Center Creek Schedule

Dawn Huff has been trying to reach me by e-mail with the schedule of events for Center Creek Country Club in Sarcoxie. But she had been unsuccessful. She finally gave up on e-mail and sent the schedule by mail. I’m at a loss why the e-mail didn’t work and I’m sorry.

Here is the schedule: Member annual meeting, April 20; Center Creek Couples, June 8; member-guest, July 6; men’s and women’s club championships, Aug. 17; couples championship, Sept. 21; four-person scramble (at least one woman on team), Oct. 12; and Chili Couples, Nov. 2.

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