By Natalie Strom
The Island Country Club Charitable Foundation’s 13th Annual Golf Classic is fast approaching. The fund raising event will take place at the Island Country Club on Marco Sunday, Jan. 19. This year, the full day of events will benefit the Marco Island Unit of the American Cancer Society along with a number of other charitable organizations that will be chosen by a few lucky players.
Wes Blackwell has been chairman of the ICCCF for the past 10 years and was also one of the founding members. “(ICCCF) is really an extension of the Sarazen Foundation. After (Gene Sarazen’s) passing we made (the ICCCF) for management purposes. The Sarazen Foundation was solely dedicated to the NCH Urgent Care Center and some to Habitat for Humanity. What we’ve done is diversified,” he explains.
The ICCCF has supported numerous charities in the past 13 years including the the local chapters of Avow Hospice, the YMCA and the American Cancer Society, as well as the Marco Island Center for the Arts, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Bedtime Bundles, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile and Marco Island Academy. Many other local charities have also benefitted from the $1.25 million the foundation has raised since its inception.
The Joy of Giving receives about 50 percent of its annual funding from the ICCCF. Every year, underprivileged children and their families spend a day at the local Walmart to purchase Christmas gifts with a predetermined amount of money. The event creates a holiday for many who would have gone without. This year, the ICCCF handed out 350 turkeys to the families as they left the store.
The purpose of the 13th Annual Island Country Club Charitable Foundation Golf Classic is to bring more funding to these local organizations, but it’s also about having a good time. The day starts at 11 AM with a barbecue which lasts until 2 PM. The shotgun start format begins at 11:30 AM and will be a five-person scramble. Teams can sign up together, and individuals will be placed with other players by the Pro Shop.
“Margaritaville Night” will begin at 5:30 PM and includes free margaritas and wine tasting, island music, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, an awards ceremony, raffle drawing and silent and live auctions.
Nearly every auction prize would be an avid golfer’s dream. For example, a weekend in a private home in Augusta, GA, and entrance badges to watch the final rounds of the 2014 Masters Golf Tournament. It’s suggested retail value: Priceless. Another up for auction is the Pebble Beach Golf Experience. A four-night getaway at The Lodge in Pebble Beach, CA, and Hyatt Carmel Highlands in Carmel, CA, with airfare for two offers a chance for two to play a round of golf on Pebble Beach. Bidders may also win the Ryder Cup Golf Competition package. This includes Opening Ceremony and Competition Rounds Grounds Passes in Gleneagles, Scotland, and a five-night stay for two at The Carlton Hotel Edinburgh.
Other items include U.S. Open Tennis Championship tickets, myriad golf lessons by pros, a stay at the Hilton, a Sonoma Wine Country package, a Telluride luxury vacation, dinners, wine excursions and then some.
Gary Landis, chairman of the Marco Island Unit of the American Cancer Society is pleased to see the ACS receive half of the outing’s earnings. “It is a real honor for us to participate with the ICCCF. They are very classy and do everything right.”
Landis also explained that the top three teams will be given a certain amount of the other 50 percent to give to one of about a dozen pre-selected charities. Every organization must be pre-approved by the ICCCF to assure validity and necessity.
Entry fee per player is $150 and is all-inclusive as well as tax-deductible. A $10,000 prize is possible for anyone lucky enough to score a hole in one on number 13. For those who want to attend “Margaritaville Night” only, the fee is $40. The event is open to the public and has room for about 25 teams.
To make your reservations, call Paul Boland, head golf professional for the club at 239-394-2080. To learn more about the Island Country Club Charitable Foundation, visit www.ICCCFoundation.org.