By LINDA CHION KENNEY
How to hold a golf tournament in pandemic times? The Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon steps up to the tee to do just that, with a golf-a-thon format set for Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview, now through Nov. 30.
“This year we have a nice little twist,” thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, said Kiwanian Dustie Amatangelo, the long-time organizer of the annual Kiwanis golf tournament, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. “The golf-a-thon format accomplishes two things: The golfers still get to golf, and the Kiwanis club still gets to raise funds for its youth programs.”
Kiwanis youth programs include Terrific Kids, a student-recognition initiative designed to promote character development, self esteem and perseverance; K-Kids clubs at elementary schools; and the Key Club at high schools. Kiwanis fundraising supports also the Project Smile and Friday pantry program at Gibsonton Elementary School, which aims to combat childhood hunger.
The Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon, under whose auspices the fledgling Riverview Kiwanis club now meets, aims to raise $25,000 at this year’s tournament.
Interested golfers sign up online at the club’s tournament page and then call Summerfield Crossings Golf Club to arrange a day to play golf, now through Nov. 30. Individuals and groups up to a foursome can play as a team, with COVID-19 restrictions in mind, including one person per golf cart.
“On the day you are scheduled to play, you can play 18 holes, you can play 30 holes or more; it’s up to you,” Amatangelo said. “If you register today to play golf with the Kiwanians, you have through Nov. 30 to select your tee time, according to availability.”
The cost is $100 per golfer, and each golfer is asked to get friends and family to pledge to support each hole of golf played. If a pledge is for $1 and the golfer plays 18 holes, the donation is $18. If the pledge is for $10 and the golfer plays 30 holes, the resulting donation is $300.
“The ultimate goal is to play as many holes as you can in one day, and then have your friends and family support you, which is where the golf-a-thon comes in,” Amatangelo said. “Once you’re done playing, you go back into the system and record the number of holes you played, and then the people who supported you will be charged.”
Each golfer will receive a link to that golfer’s individual page on the tournament web site. Supporters enter their own pledges and payment information. To spur the competitive spirit, a fundraiser “Leader Board” will be updated daily, Amatangelo said, including such things as flat pledges, add-on pledges, holes played and amount raised.
Also on tap is the traditional ball drop, which entails Cardinal Roofing bringing its truck to the Summerfield golf club Nov. 30. The grand prize is $1,000, Amatangelo said, “just in time for Christmas shopping.”
To participate, golfers and non-golfers alike purchase a golf ball with a unique number. Then, at the designated time, the balls are dropped onto the golf course from the truck. The person who purchases the golf ball that lands closest to the hole wins the prize. The cost for each ball is $25.
To support the fundraiser further, sponsorships are available, including Platinum ($2,500), Silver ($1,000) and Bronze ($750). Benefits are posted online. This year’s Title Sponsor is The Bank of Tampa.
The Brandon Kiwanis club supports Terrific Kids programs at about 20 elementary schools, including FishHawk Creek, Gibsonton, Riverview and Stowers. The Riverview Kiwanis club had programs at Boyette Springs, Ippolito, Summerfield, Summerfield Crossings and Symmes.
For updates and more, and for golf tournament information, visit www.BrandonKiwanis.org. The Greater Brandon and Greater Riverview clubs, which operate together under the Brandon umbrella, meet Thursday mornings at Bootleggers Brewing Co. in Tampa, at the crossroads of the Greater Brandon/Greater Riverview area. The hybrid meetings are held simultaneously online.