Teeing off for Toys for Tots

Published 8:38pm Friday, November 23, 2012

The Suffolk Golf Course is partnering with Toys for Tots to host a charity golf tournament beginning at 10 a.m. on Dec. 2.

Participants in the Toys for Tots Golf Tournament will pay an entry fee of $40 or a reduced fee of $27 if they donate a new, unwrapped toy.

Joe Kitchen, a manager at the Suffolk Golf Course, helped put together the Toys for Tots Golf Tournament that will take place at the course starting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 2. Participants have the option to pay a $40 entry fee or a reduced $27 fee if they bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.

“And for that price, they get the golf, the cart, prizes and lunch,” said Joe Kitchen, a manager at the Suffolk Golf Course. “So, the owner (Eddie Luke) is throwing in on this to make it a good thing. And if anybody pays $40, we’re going to take that extra $13 and go out and buy toys with it.”

Kitchen contacted John Woleben, a coordinator for Suffolk Toys for Tots Local Community Organization, wanting to do a benefit.

“It’s for the kids,” Kitchen said.

“I appreciate his generosity,” Woleben said of Kitchen. “It should be an outstanding event.”

Woleben explained a little of what is involved in making life special for kids that benefit from Toys for Tots and why donations at the golf tournament will be so meaningful.

“I have three wholesalers that I buy toys from,” he said. “The neat thing is, there’s more markup in toys than there is in furniture. You go to Toys”R”Us and the toy’s $35 or $40. I can usually buy that toy for $10, $15.”

These great prices are made possible as a result of the relationship that he has developed with those wholesalers.

“And they ship the toys to us for no charge, and they bill us, and we pay them,” he said.

“That’s just part of the background of what I have to do to put a toy in every child’s hand that needs one,” he said.

But, of course, donations at the tournament help Toys for Tots to do this without forcing them to absorb even a $10 to $15 charge.

The organization is also interested in lining up the right kind of toy with the right child.

“The reason that Toys for Tots asks for unwrapped toys is so that we’ll know what age group and sex the toys are for,” he said.

Those wishing to participate do not need to wait until Dec. 2 to donate a toy at the Suffolk Golf Course and receive a benefit from it.

“We’ve extended the Toys for Tots campaign to include between now and Dec. 15,” he said. “If someone brings a new, unwrapped toy into the golf course, they get $5 off a round of golf.”

The Dec. 2 event will be a shotgun tournament, meaning that all players will begin simultaneously at 10 a.m. from different holes on the course, ensuring that everyone finishes at approximately the same time.

The type of play will be Four Person Florida Best Ball. For each team, this means that the landing place of the best ball on each swing will be the place where everyone on the given team can begin the next swing. This prevents any one player from falling behind.

Kitchen and Woleben share the hope that this will be the first of an annual series of tournaments at the Suffolk Golf Course benefiting Toys for Tots.

“The funny thing about golf tournaments (is), the first couple years, you don’t know what you’re going to get, but after people come and start scheduling to play in it, that’s when it gets bigger and bigger,” Kitchen said. “Hopefully, in a couple years, we’ll be able to do a full-filled shotgun (tournament) and load it up.”

Kitchen has begun to spread the word via e-mail, Facebook and word-of-mouth. Teams from the Suffolk Police Department, the Suffolk Golf Association and the city government have started to form. Woleben also plans to head up a team.

“You don’t need to have a complete team,” Kitchen said. “If you don’t have a team, just call and find out. We’ll put you a team together.”

“I’m sure that we’ll have people like we always do — at the last minute, they’ll sign up,” he said. “We’ll be able to accommodate them too.”

To sign up for the event or to find out more information about it, call the Suffolk Golf Course Pro Shop at 539-6298.

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