Taking a Swing at Autism

Local golfers were asked to take a swing at autism and on Monday, October 16, 133 golfers did just that. They brought their kind hearts and generous spirits to Big Rec Golf Course, the scene of the 7th Annual Rally Round Golf Tournament. The 93-degree heat only inspired them more.

The day was also filled with fun, food and camaraderie. It started with warm up at the driving range, courtesy of Mel Marks, M.D. and Bob and Mary Alice Br aly. The putting contest which was sponsored by Bob & Mary Alice Braly, Paul Diego, and Rick Lorenzen of Price Transfer, challenged even the best golfers with nine creatively designed putting holes. The Men’s putting contest was won by Mike Labron and the Women’s putting contest was won by Roxy Johnson. Golf carts were provided to all through the generosity of Matson.

While hot dogs and hamburgers were offered before the round, compliments of Lynn Gesner of Saw Service, other treats were available around the course. Boathouse on the Bay, Dine LBC, Joe Josts, Michael’s on Naples, Naples Rib, Olives Gourmet Grocer, Spurr & Associates, Taste Wine Beer Kitchen and Coca Cola kept the golfers’ stamina going throughout the round.

The $10,000 cash prize for the Hole in One Contest proved elusive as the 12th hole was stretched to its maximum length. The smaller but still tempting prizes at the other par threes also remained unclaimed. However, the Longest Drive and Closest to the Pin brought out the competitive spirit of all the golfers. Karen Garlington earned Longest Drive honors for the women and Pete Limon did so for the men.

The Men’s tournament winners were Hugh Burns, Robert Alderman, Ron Wurtz and Jessie Graham. The Women’s first place winners were Sheri Eaton, Carol Wilson, Coleen Bilas and Roberta Dionne. The winners in the scramble format tournament walked away with trophies with their net score of 59, however the true winners were the kids as the tournament raised over $50,000 to treat kids with developmental delays.

The Rally Round Golf Tournament is presented by founder Mohammad Raghib and his wife Jean. They generously underwrite the golf fees, donate many of the prizes and are very involved in the planning and execution of their RRGT event. Says Mohammad who is a Financial Advisor affiliated with Ameriprise Financial “Our mission is driven by a passionate belief that we have a responsibility to protect children on which our future depends. The proceeds from the tournament are designated to benefit children with developmental delays, especially those with autism. This will be accomplished through Steel Magnolias.”

The Men’s Alliance of Steel Magnolias promotes the tournament and most members also play in the event. John Metcalfe is the Chairman and Rick DuRee is the Co-Chairman. Their enthusiasm for the cause was visible in the faces of all the golfers who agreed with them that “It’s all about the kids!”

Steel Magnolias, a nonprofit all-volunteer organization, raises funds to benefit children with developmental delays, behavioral and learning challenges and other special needs. Its main recipient is the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.

Click here to see photos from the event.