Swimsuit golfers swing for charity
David Rhodes is not quite crazy enough to participate in a "polar plunge," running full speed into Lake Michigan in the thick of winter -- even if it's for a good cause.
But he was up for the challenge of throwing on some swim trunks for some winter golf Saturday at the first Swimsuits and Snow Boots Open hosted by Top Golf in Wood Dale.
"I've always wanted to try the polar plunge," said Rhodes, 25, of Streamwood. "I think there's a line between this and that."
The golf outing raised money for One for the Kids, a nonprofit started by a group of local golfers that supports three children's charities.
"Anything charitable is always good to get out and do," said Ken Rhodes, 30, of Streamwood. "We're cold, but we're having a good time."
The event will become the third annual fundraiser for One for the Kids, said Billy Bracken, one of the nonprofit's board members. About 100 people participated Saturday, said Top Golf's general manager Brett Hintz.
"This is the normal crowd for us -- but not in swimsuits," Hintz said of the group of adults in their 20s and 30s, taking swings, drinking beers and snacking on fries and pizza slices during the event.
To participate, golfers had to buy at least one, $3 game at Top Golf and wear a swimsuit -- without a coats or extra layers -- while hitting balls onto the course. Each game purchased gave participants a raffle ticket and a chance to score a trip to Mexico.
Games at Top Golf are scored similarly to darts. The closer a ball lands to one of several targets, the more points the golfer scores. Sensors inside each ball combine with score display boards to help participants keep track of who's winning and losing.
Anmarie Chadwick, 23, of Bensenville, said she planned to play three games in her swimsuit. But she slid back into her fleece in between rounds to keep warm.
Almost all the snow from this month's blizzard was gone by Saturday, a sunny day in the mid-30s across the suburbs. Still, the facility used two overhead heaters in each hitting bay to keep participants warm, Hintz said.
"All it takes is 30 degrees and we're good to go," Hintz said.
Top Golf's easygoing atmosphere allowed it to draw so many swimsuit golfers out for the fundraiser, he added.
"We're very much a fun entertainment complex that features golf," Hintz said, not a golf facility that also has entertainment.