Five! Charity expands support of Suffolk golf

Published 10:36 pm Friday, August 9, 2013

Sandy Winslow, president of the Suffolk Recreational and Charitable Association, holds a check for $1,000 with Suffolk Christian Academy board chairman Mark McGahee, on the right. The check will be donated to the SCA golf team. From left are SCA head golf coach Mike Bigony, SRCA president Sandy Winslow, SCA board chairman Mark McGahee and SCA athletics director Steven Milner.

Sandy Winslow, president of the Suffolk Recreational and Charitable Association, holds a check for $1,000 with Suffolk Christian Academy board chairman Mark McGahee, on the right. The check will be donated to the SCA golf team. From left are SCA head golf coach Mike Bigony, SRCA president Sandy Winslow, SCA board chairman Mark McGahee and SCA athletics director Steven Milner.

The Suffolk Recreational and Charitable Association continued its unique effort to benefit the city by recently donating $1,000 to Suffolk Christian Academy’s golf program.

Sandy Winslow, president of the SRCA, said the same donation has been made to the other four Suffolk high schools for the past two years, but he had recently become aware of Suffolk Christian’s golf team.

“They’re local people, we wanted to treat all the schools equally, so that’s why we included them,” he said.

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Mark McGahee is chairman of the board of directors for Suffolk Christian Academy, and he expressed the school’s enthusiasm for SRCA’s generosity.

“We’re thrilled,” he said. “That was something that was unexpected and for them to make that donation should be a tremendous boost to our athletic program, so we’re very grateful.”

Winslow said the SRCA came into being around 1950 and was composed of a group of local businessmen who thought Suffolk needed a golf course. They pooled their resources to lease land and build the Suffolk Golf Course on Holland Road, which the SRCA ran until about five years ago.

The goal in this endeavor was simple: “We were trying to provide recreation for people at the lowest possible rate,” Winslow said.

Funds generated from the golf course went to charitable causes, and with the money remaining, the SRCA had a simple mission.

“We’re trying to give back to the community that put us in the position that we were,” Winslow said. “What money we have left will be donated to golf-related projects for the betterment of the community.”

Suffolk Christian Academy athletics director Steven Milner was impressed with the association’s undiscriminating approach.

“I was surprised and shocked, but it was very exciting knowing that somebody wants to help out the sports in the area and doesn’t just limit to public schools,” he said.

SCA’s team came to the group’s attention when Winslow was out golfing and spotted coaches Mike Bigony and Bobby Draper working with the school’s young golfers.

Bigony, the team’s head coach, said the donation is significant.

“The Lord has provided that, because golf is an expensive sport,” he said. “There’s no income from the game, there’s no revenue from admission. It’s all borne by the parents and the schools.”

Winslow said he hopes the donation “will make the golf program better, and it will provide opportunity for kids that otherwise may not have the opportunity.”

Milner said the money will help to provide equipment and lower costs for parents and golfers.

The impact, Milner said, “will be pretty much immediate as we’re expanding our golf team to participate in the fall and spring.”

Suffolk Christian Academy has the youngest and smallest high school in Suffolk and as a result, the lowest profile. Mark McGahee said in trying to grow the school, “finances are always at the forefront of our concern, and whenever we receive a gift such as this, that can help us advance the presence of the school in the community.”

In addition to helping schools, the Suffolk Recreational and Charitable Association also hands out a scholarship each year to a local golfer or someone pursuing a career in the golf industry. Applicants include graduating high school seniors or college students who are from Suffolk or went to a Suffolk school. The 2013 recipient was Amellia Boyer, playing for Longwood University in the fall.