Rotary’s Charity Golf Tournament returns

Norm Noble

The Sun Lakes Rotary Club began preparations for its 25th annual Charity Golf Tournament … last November. The tournament will take place four months later – Sunday, March 11. It takes a lot of planning.

In March last year, the club held its most successful golf tournament in history. One hundred seventy golfers played on all three Oakwood golf courses – Lakes, Palms and Sonoran – under bright, not-too-hot skies. Just before tee time, a helicopter hovered over the practice tee where a green had been constructed. Then, 1,500 marked golf balls fell out of the sky. A few of them made it into the cup. And from this clutter of balls, six money winners emerged.

In addition to hole-in-one prizes on three par threes, there were special opportunities to shoot golf balls through a bazooka. These strange contraptions can fire a ball 300 yards. Few of the participants had ever shot a ball that far. Most took advantage of the opportunity. It was a blast, to say the least!

More money was raised by Sun Lakes Rotary for their charities last year than ever raised before, beating the previous high by $12,000. The club has done some extraordinary things since its foundation in 1986. There are long lists of charities that have benefited from the club’s support: Neighbors Who Care, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, the Sheriff’s Posse, to name a few. But the largest beneficiary is the Chandler Unified School District because of the club’s primary outreach toward education. Club members spend hundreds of hours each year mentoring children from third grade through high school.

The club gives dictionaries to every third-grade student in the Chandler United School District. To date, they have given dictionaries to over 50,000 third graders. For the past several years, the club has taught a program called “Choices” to every ninth grader in the Chandler United School District to keep the students in school. To date, they have taught this program to over 55,000 ninth graders.

While polio is not an issue in the USA (we stamped out this virus decades ago), it remains a serious threat in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. It is a major focus of Rotary International to eradicate this dread disease by immunizing more than two billion children worldwide. The Sun Lakes Rotary Club has participated in this effort with gifts of over $100,000 since the club’s inception in 1986.

Sun Lakes Rotary Club meets for breakfast every Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Country Club Ballroom. The meetings start at 7:00 a.m. and end promptly at 8:00 a.m. Cost of breakfast is $12. To make reservations for any meeting, contact Rotarian Peter Meade at 480-600-2458. For Sun Lakes residents, if you want to know more about the club, contact Charles Loew at 602-721-3680. SunBird residents should contact Walt Mills at 480-883-8007.