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Lincoln golf courses help give back to the community

By: Paul Apfel Inside Lincoln Correspondent
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Lincoln’s three golf courses are leading the way in local fund raising, continuing a tradition established by the Professional Golfers Association and numerous golf courses across the country. Professional Golf Tournament Director Joe Nemeth, who has been organizing golf tournaments for charity for more than 20 years, explained that all PGA Tour events are connected with some charitable fundraising. And discussions with local golf course officials confirm that the three Lincoln courses are actively pursuing, hosting and supporting local nonprofit fundraising efforts as well. Lincoln’s two public golf courses are Lincoln Hills and Turkey Creek while Catta Verdera Country Club is private. Lincoln Hills has two 18-hole courses while Turkey Creek and Catta Verdera each have one 18-hole loop. This year, the two public courses, Lincoln Hills and Turkey Creek will host approximately up to 40 charitable tournaments between them this year while Catta Verdera Country Club will be home for another 25 tournaments. Citing competitive market pressures, the public course operators were reluctant to go into detail about their tournament schedule. But they were willing to discuss their programs in general. Turkey Creek hosts between 15 to 20 charity golf events each year, according to Brent Cohen, general manager of Empire Ranch and Turkey Creek Golf Courses. In addition, ClubCorp, the national golf course management company that manages these courses, hosts an annual event dubbed the ClubCorp Classic that raises funds for three charities the course chooses. Each course holds its own tournament with approximately 120 ClubCorp golf courses throughout the country participating in the program. In the Sacramento area, these courses include Empire Ranch, Teal Bend, Granite Bay Country Club and Turkey Creek. “This year, on Nov. 2nd, Turkey Creek, Teal Bend and Empire Ranch will donate everything they make that day to MDA, the ClubCorp Employee Partner Care Fund and a charity that is yet to be determined,” Cohen said. “Turkey Creek will donate to a local charity this year but we have not finalized our decision. Last year, Turkey Creek and Teal Bend donated to the First Tee of Greater Sacramento and Empire Ranch donated to Save Ourselves, which is a breast cancer awareness group.” The Lincoln Hills Golf Club, owned and operated by Billy Casper Golf, is a unique local venue because it has two 18-hole loops. General manager Sean Silva noted that they expect to host between 18 and 20 charitable tournaments this year. Silva cited the Sleep Train Golf Classic scheduled for this October as one example of the tournaments the Lincoln Hills Golf Club hosts. This event is expected to completely fill both of Lincoln Hill’s courses. In 2010, this tournament raised more than $400,000 for foster children to continue their education after high school. Lincoln Hills, with two full-sized golf courses, can often host a charity tournament on one course while accommodating daily fee players on the other, thus “not compromising member play,” according to Silva. Catta Verdera Country Club, the only private golf course in Lincoln, will host 25 charity golf tournaments this year, with 10 having been completed by the end of June. Curtis Landa, Catta Verdera’s membership and tournament sales director, pointed out that they are particularly proud of their tournaments benefiting public safety. “We will have as many law enforcement events as possible,” said Landa, citing the just-completed Matt Redding Memorial tournament on June 20 as an example. Redding was a popular Rocklin police officer and Del Oro High School graduate who died on duty when he was struck and killed in October 2005 by an intoxicated driver. Tournament proceeds went to the nonprofit Matt Redding Foundation, which helps support education in protective services and provides college scholarships each year to three area high school students from Rocklin, Whitney and Del Oro. Catta Verdera also hosted the Sacramento Police/Sheriff Memorial Golf Tournament on May 31. Landa noted that both law enforcement tourneys were filled. Citing a list that is not exhaustive, Landa mentioned a few other tournaments for this year that will benefit organizations such as the Ronald McDonald Foundation, the Grant Napier Future Foundation and Make-a-Wish. Mikuni’s restaurant will also sponsor the 16th annual Mikuni Summer Classic on July 16. The proceeds go to Sutter Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Navigator Program, Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Diogenes Youth Services, Closing the Gap Educational Achievement and World Vision. So, while fundraising for nonprofit foundations has taken a hit during the recent economic downturn and struggles continue, the evidence is clear that Lincoln golf course operators are aggressively pursuing options to help fill the nonprofits’ treasuries. “We have an inherent responsibility to give back to the community,” Lincoln Hills’ Silva said. “It makes me feel better at the end of the day.” Those comments might well be applied to all those involved in organizing and directing charity golf events in Lincoln.