Openings still available for annual Golf For Kids event June 28
You don't need a birdie's-eye view to notice the resurgence.
Heck, it doesn't even take a golfer to realize the sport is writing quite the comeback story.
"You drive down the street and pass a golf course, and we've got golf carts going forwards, backward and any other direction they can fit," says LuAnne Kelsey, admittedly just a spectator. "People are excited for the chance to get out and live their lives again -- and any way they can do it is good for them."
And, as Kelsey can attest, good for others, too.
As chairman of the Fox Valley Park Foundation's board of directors, Kelsey oversees the annual Golf For Kids event -- the foundation's biggest fundraiser, which provides funding through grants and scholarships to support underserved children in the community.
This year's 26th edition of Golf For Kids tees off Monday, June 28, at Orchard Valley Golf Course, 2411 W. Illinois Ave.
The event, which raises around $50,000 annually to provide camps, swim lessons and after-school programs, to name a few, has foursomes and individual openings remaining, especially during the morning round.
Shotgun starts send morning and afternoon groups off the tees at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
On-course contests, raffles, boxed lunches and a post-round dinner and awards presentation are options for players, as well.
Prior to being sidelined last summer by the pandemic, Golf For Kids in 2018 and 2019 allowed the foundation to award $100,000 in grants toward a variety of critical community needs:
• Learn to Swim program, teaching second graders the lifesaving skill of swimming;
• Free summer camp experiences for children of victims of domestic abuse and homelessness;
• Free nature club participation for underserved children;
• Free Sports Saturdays program, promoting active and healthy lifestyles to combat childhood obesity;
• Performing arts grant to make stage dreams a possibility for all children;
• Free Veterans wellness programs;
• Transitional work program for adults with disabilities.
"Golf is the venue to celebrate our kids, to not only share some friendship, but also to raise some funding for kids and other community-membered programs that otherwise may not be available for families," Kelsey said. "It's a pathway to raising money for children in a fun way that a large pool of people enjoy."
New this year is the ALL IN Players Package, in which participants pay $400 per foursome ($100 for individual players) and receive automatic entry into hole-in-one, closest-to-the-pin and longest-drive contests, six raffle tickets, two mulligans and a 20% discount at the Orchard Valley Pro Shop. Hole-In-One prizes include $10,000 or a two-night stay and round of golf at Pebble Beach; closest-to-the-pin (four guaranteed winners) receive a seven-night resort vacation; and longest drives (four guaranteed winners) can be redeemed for a golf/spa day.
"It's quite an impressive lineup of prizes," Kelsey said.
Orchard Valley General Manager Alex Chapple says players can expect a faster, firmer course than usual this time of year, simply due to lack of rain in the region. But, no matter the condition, players continue to book tee times in droves, for last year marked the best year the sport has seen since the mid-90s, when a guy named Tiger Woods arrived on the professional scene.
"Participation is up across every demographic that we measure -- people can't keep starter sets in stock, because so many people are taking up the game," Chapple says. "What COVID did was give us kind of a reset, despite the fact we didn't have any events."
For more information about Golf For Kids or to reserve your spot, visit fox-valley-park-district-golf-for-kids-2021.perfectgolfevent.com/ or call Rachel Ossyra at (630) 966-4529.
The Fox Valley Park District serves a diverse population of more than 236,000 people. Recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Agency, Fox Valley holds the nation's highest honor as a National Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in park and recreation management. Serving the communities of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora, the district maintains 168 parks and 48 miles of interconnected regional trails amid 2,400 acres of parkland.
The Fox Valley Park Foundation, established in 1981, is a standalone nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which serves the Fox Valley Park District and its residents. The foundation is governed by a board of directors comprised of park district commissioners and volunteer members from the community at large. We are expanding our reach and mission to be more diverse and impactful across a wide spectrum of community needs.