A beautiful day, a pristine golf course and three deserving charities.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
And, that’s how it was during the Professional Golfers Association Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation Pro 3 Am Day on the North Course at Firestone Country Club.
The Stow-based team of professional Tyler McHugh, Chet Feldman, Cody Nickson and Jimmy Krivanek combined to shoot 20-under to capture the top prize in the second annual Smucker’s Pro-3Am event that drew 22 teams for the benefit of three outstanding Northeastern Ohio Charities.
But the clear aim on Wednesday was the fund-raising efforts of the Northern Ohio PGA for the section’s Foundation, which in turn raised money for Clearview HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), the Ohio Girls Golf Foundation and The Turn, formerly known as the Northern Ohio Golf Association’s Return to Golf.
Participants were treated to the exquisite North Course at Firestone, a live auction of some fantastic prizes, cocktails, and heavy hors d’oeuvres on a perfect day for golf.
The J.M. Smucker Company served as the gracious title sponsor and First National Bank and The Minute Men Human Resource System contributed as supportive presenting sponsors.
“We could not stage this event without the help of our sponsors,” said Dominic Antenucci, Executive Director of the Northern Ohio PGA. “Their support is invaluable and we can’t thank them enough.”
Mark Smucker, CEO of the J.M. Smucker Company, said his company’s involvement was tied to the efforts of Renee Powell’s Clearview HOPE and her community involvement through her family’s Clearview Golf Club in Canton.
“Honestly, it’s really because of Renee and everything she does,” said Smucker, who teamed with Portage Country Club Head Golf Professional Steve Parker. “Clearview is an historic landmark and it’s the only one of its kind in the world. To support her and the heritage she brings to the area is special. Over the years we have supported Renee but we thought this was another way that we could support Clearview HOPE.”
Clearview HOPE is a cost-free, year-round recreational and therapeutic golf program designed specifically for women veterans.
Under the instruction of Powell, the program includes six weeks of lessons, regular weekly play and additional instruction throughout the golf season. The program is not idle in the winter months as it includes indoor golf clinics, social gatherings and service projects. Clearview HOPE is a chapter of PGA Hope, which introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.
“This Foundation event helps brings more awareness to our program,” said Powell, a member of both the LPGA and PGA Halls-of-Fame. “Not a lot of people are aware of what our program does so any exposure helps. This helps bring awareness that women are fighting and dying in places around the world in support of those of us back home so we can live in peace and freedom.”
The Turn has been committed since 2002 to serving people with physical disabilities throughout Northeast Ohio. The program, headed by Northern Ohio PGA Professional Robb Schulze, provides innovative, free-of-charge programs to more than 200 participants annually at the Wharton Center at North Olmsted Golf Club. Program participants range from stroke survivors, amputees, and those inflicted with traumatic brain injuries, visual impairments, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease.
“For The Turn, things like this event are huge,” said Schulze. “We are a small organization and gifts that come from anywhere are important for us. As a PGA member, it makes me tremendously proud that The Turn is receiving something from the only section that I’ve been a member of. People don’t realize the lives that are being changed by The Turn. To have the PGA behind it is significant.”
Kevin Malick, Vice President of First National Bank’s private banking, said, “This is a partnership we’ve had for years. “We’ve always been committed to the Northern Ohio PGA, the foundations it supports and what they do for golf and for children who might be less fortunate.”
The Ohio Girls Golf Foundation, under the direction of Avon Oaks Country Club Head Professional Judd Stephenson, sponsors and supports the game for young girls. Under Stephenson’s direction the OGGF has awarded more than $125,000 in college scholarships to hundreds of girls, as well as conducted clinics and tournaments to provide financial assistance to attend designated tournaments.
“The Ohio Girls Golf Foundation is thrilled to share our belief that golf inspires young people in Ohio,” said Stephenson, the Executive Director of the organization. “We thank the Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation for its support of our efforts to encourage, sponsor and support the game for girls. We cannot thank the Northern Ohio PGA Section Foundation enough for its thoughtfulness and support.”
–By Tim Rogers
Northern Ohio PGA Contributor