4th Annual Davey Nelson Celebrity Golf Classic a Swinging Success
Two weeks ago, I previewed the Davey Nelson Celebrity Golf Classic at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin and yesterday, I was fortunate enough to play in it.
This was the fourth year of Davey’s tournament and it’s been held at Blackwolf since it’s inception. I was especially excited to be playing the course this year, as the Original Championship Course is the site of the 2012 Women’s U.S. Open (July 2-8).
Indeed, when I arrived at the course, you could see signs of preparations for the Open, from trailers in the parking lots and tents set up around to the property to bleacher structures in the making and merchandise in the pro shop.
Blackwolf Run has two 18-hole courses and for Davey’s tournament, we played the Meadow Valleys course. [For the Open, Blackwolf Run will return to its original single-course configuration, comprised of holes 10-18 of the Meadow Valleys course and holes 1-4 and 14-18 of the River course. That means, when we were on the back nine at Davey’s tournament, we were playing a U.S. Open course!]
Upon check-in, participants were provided with a locker and inside, assorted goodies were waiting for us, including a polo shirt, cap, headcovers and golf balls.
Then, the morning started off with a golf clinic led by American Club golf pros and a putting contest, along with a buffet brunch.
Each foursome in the tournament was paired with a celebrity golfer to make up a five-person team. Team play consisted of a Scramble Format with team prizes awarded to the top finishers.
Among the many celebrities in the tournament were former Brewers players Jay Aldrich, Jerry Augustine, Sal Bando (also a Brewers GM), Jim Gantner, Pete Ladd, Damian Miller, Willie Mueller (who was also in the movie Major League as “Duke”), Ken Sanders, Gorman Thomas, Greg Vaughn, Paul Wagner and Robin Yount; former UW-Badgers, Derek Engler, Tyler Donovan and Tarek Saleh; Evan Fitzgerald, CBS-58 Sports Anchor; Bruce Froemming, former MLB Umpire; Jason Grimsley, former MLB pitcher; Greg Matzek and Bill Michaels, radio personalities; Greg Meyer, NFL Referee; and Tony Smith, a former Milwaukee Bucks player and current FSWisconsin broadcaster.
My group consisted of Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of Brewers Community Foundation; Fred and Leo, friends of Davey’s from Florida; and our celebrity, former Brewers relief pitcher, Jay Aldrich. Drafted by the Brewers in 1982, Aldrich played for the team in 1987 and 1989; he also played for the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles in his career. He currently resides in the Milwaukee area and, thankfully for our team, is an avid golfer.
The tournament was a shotgun start, so our group began on hole 7, a par five, which we promptly eagled. We got off to a really hot start in our round and, with the exception of one bogey, never really looked back.
We had a ton of fun in our group and each member contributed equally, playing to his or her strength. For example, Cecelia made at least three putts for us that were outside of 10-feet. My claim to fame is a (75% of the time) long, straight drive, which, being female, I get to hit from the Ladies’ tees, a considerable advantage on a course like Blackwolf Run. With Fred and Leo being from Florida, they get to play lots of golf, so they had lots of clutch shots; however, I would say Jay was definitely the “pro” in our group.
We finished the day at -8, which was good, but not good enough to win the tournament.
Each hole also consisted of different challenges with opportunities to win various prizes for things like longest drive, longest putt, or closest to the hole. Our team came close on a few of the challenges, but didn’t hold up in the end.
We didn’t mind at all because despite an early threat of rain, we had wonderful weather, a fun day, the chance to play a beautiful championship course and, most importantly, we were helping a great cause: Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa and Brewers Community Foundation. Open Arms is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, clothing, protection and basic healthcare for what is now home to many children orphaned due to the Aids epidemic in South Africa. Davey has served as Board of Director for over four years.
Following golf, there was a reception and silent auction, and then dinner with a live auction. During dinner, we learned more about Open Arms and heard stories about the children whose lives we were helping, all by taking a day off of work to play golf. It was a very touching and moving presentation and I’m so happy that this event has been able to raise money to support the organization, which Davey and many others have dedicated a lot of time and energy into making a success.
For more information on Open Arms, please visit the website at http://www.openarmshome.com.
Here are some more photos from the day and I hope to see you out at the tournament next year! (PS-Any ringers, please ask to be put in my group!)