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Golf Anyone?

At a very quick glance, for a moment at least, they will kinda look like us. When Rickie and Matthew take on Rory and Dustin , there will be no crowds, no caddies. They will even ride in carts- just like us.

But then they’ll tee off, and any semblance to us weekend warriors will disappear like a 350 yard drive into the mist.

We’re talking , of course, about the TaylorMade Driving Relief Match which will pit Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff on Sunday. Covid-related charities will benefit. And this Memorial weekend Tiger Woods will pair with Peyton Manning to battle Phil Michelson and Tom Brady for similar charities.

These two TV events are heaven-sent for millions of golf-starved viewers who have endured weeks of cancelled tournaments including the Masters.

Closer to home, golf life is continuing to open up just as Tri-State businesses are poised to return – each state addressing the challenges differently.

Last week Massachusetts saw the error of its ways and allowed golf courses to reopen –  the last of the Tri-States to do so. The Egremont Country Club however will remain closed for the season.

Connecticut, the Land of Steady Habits, has allowed open courses all along, and New York State, after several open-now-closed back and forths, has decided it’s safe to golf in the Empire State. The issue of carts, however, is still a little cloudy. After several readings of the New York Parks website, it SEEMS as if carts are now allowed without restriction. Best to check with your local course first.

All three states adhere to pretty much the same list of restrictions, but here are links to each state’s rules and regs.

Massachusetts https://www.massgolf.org/news/2020_reopening/

Connecticut  https://www.csgalinks.org/content/csga/csga-covid-19-resources#current%20guidelines

New York State  https://www.nysga.org/communications-news/nysga-updates-regarding-covid-19

Fore!

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Dammit We Can Drive!

We will always find ways to express ourselves, no matter how onerous the  restraints. We can’t get together to celebrate a birthday or play a game, we can’t gather to mourn a loss, we can’t stand within two arm lengths of each other. Fine.

But dammit we can get in our cars and drive!

Around 40 cars worth of parade wound their way past fire houses and ambulance garages and health care facilities today to celebrate National Superheroes Day and to honor our first responders and health care heroes. Well-wishers held signs and waved from their vehicles, and at each facility along the route the heroes waved back.

Ten or 20 years from now when we look back on the Pandemic of 2020, one of the defining images of that time will be of people in their cars holding signs and paper hearts out of their windows, waving and calling out – not touching or hugging but still showing the love.

Thanks to the Tri-State Chamber of Commerce and Lime Rock Park and all of the big-hearted people who put on this moving display. And of course thanks to the heroes.

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Travelers Championship is Back (with changes)

As sports-related fundraisers are cancelling and postponing all over the Tri-State area this spring,  here is a fresh breeze of good news. Organizers of the Travelers Championship have just announced that the event is still on for June 25 – 28 this year!

And although this year’s version will be a non-spectator event because of the Covid-19 pandemic, area charities, large and small, will be able to benefit from Connecticut’s largest sporting event.

What many may not know is that besides the signature charities that the Travelers supports such as a dozen or so military-related charities as well as organizations dedicated to COVID-19 relief efforts, the Tournament also supports nearly 200 small charities around the northeast, and that’s great news for charities in sportingAcause’s Tri-State area.

Any 501(c)(3) registered charity can join the Travelers Birdies for Charity program and take advantage of their fundraising platform. In addition, Travelers will add 15% to whatever funds each charity raises up to a total of $1 million!

Last year local non-profits like the Housatonic Valley Regional High School golf team were able to raise some much-needed money by selling discounted tickets to the Travelers through the Chip in for Charities program. Well that program went away because there are no tickets to sell this year.

But all of those charities can switch to the Birdies for Charity program. Here’s how:

All registered 501(c)(3) organizations registered in the Northeast United States are eligible. There is not a limit on the number of organizations that can participate.

  • Register with the Travelers Championship and we’ll provide the materials and information you need to get started.
  • Solicit donations – ask donors, sponsors, co-workers, friends, and family!
  • Direct your donors to the tournament website, www.TravelersChampionship.com or to your personalized donation website to make a contribution.
  • Submit all donations to the Travelers Championship by Sunday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m.
  • In the early Fall of 2020, the Travelers Championship will give you a check for 100% of donations received, plus an additional 15% from our Bonus Bucks pool. It’s that easy!

 

For more information about Birdies for Charity, please contact Taylor Whiting at 860-502-6805 or via email at twhiting@travelerschampionship.com.

Now, having said all of the above, things could still change. Even though the Travelers organizers are moving forward, changes in our fight against the pandemic could alter plans. Stay tuned for updates, but definitely enroll in the Travelers fundraising program!

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Cancelled, Postponed and Virtualized

 

Event organizers are waiting as long as they possibly can before making the gut-churning decision to cancel or maybe postpone their fundraisers. So much is at stake after all- hours of planning expended, sponsorship money gathered from businesses and already spent, and of course, the prospect of losing the funds that the event would provide – funds that already hold a place in charities’ budget projections.

As  Covid-19 chugs along, a 30 day yardstick seems to be the unofficial measurement where charities decide to throw in the towel. 100% of the sports-related fundraisers on sportingAcause.com have been cancelled, postponed or altered for the months of April and May. These are mini tragedies in an ocean of Covid- induced tragedies.

The latest event changes on the sportingAcause.com website include the cancellation of the Litchfield Hills Road Race; Line Rock Park has postponed both its season-opening Touring Car Festival (date to be determined) and the Memorial Day Classic (new date Oct. 16-17). Also, the entire Walk MS series through June has become virtual.

Here is the list of April and May events that have been cancelled, postponed or virtualized.

Bring On the Heat 4th Annual 5K (Bethlehem, CT) rescheduled to July 25th

Arlington Education Foundation 5K Run/Walk (Lagrange. NY) Cancelled

Shane Kinsella Memorial 5 Mile Run (Goshen, CT) Rescheduled to Sept. 12th

Upton Lake Christian School Eagle Run (Clinton Corners, NY) Rescheduled to Sept. 12th

Wellness 5K  (Pittsfield, MA)  Cancelled

Kiwanis Kingston 5K (Kingston, NY) Cancelled

Ride 1 Rally at Lime Rock Park (Lime Rock, CT)  postponed date TBA

Spring Splash (Lakeville, CT)  Cancelled

Gilbert Blue and Gold 5K and Golf Tournament (Winsted, CT)  Cancelled

Angel in the Infield Softball Tournament (Canaan, CT)  Cancelled

Kentucky Derby Social  (Salisbury, CT)  Rescheduled to Sept. 5th

Touring Car Festival at Lime Rock Park (Lime Rock, CT) Postponed  date TBA

Sharon Classic 35th Annual Road Race (Sharon. CT) Rescheduled to Sept. 26th.

Sean’s Ride and Sean’s Run (Chatham, NY)  Cancelled

Girls Just Wanna Run 5K (Litchfield, CT)  Cancelled

Retro Run 5K (Morris, CT)  Cancelled

Kenny Krom Memorial Basketball Game (Sheffield, MA)  Cancelled

Arrest and Extinguish ALS  (Lenox, MA) Cancelled

Touring Car Festival at Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, CT)  Postponed date TBD

NW CT Rod and Gun Club Steel Challenge Pistol Match (Canaan, CT)    Postponed  TBD

Annual Women’s Running Race (Pittsfield, MA)   Virtual

Wa Wa Wally Waddle (Poughkeepsie, NY)  Virtual

AFSP Run For Hope (Bethlehem, CT)   Postponed to June 6th

Camphill Village 5K  ( Copake, NY)  Postponed Date TBD

Steel Rail Half Marathon (Lanesboro, MA)  Virtual

Shine On 5K  ( Burlington, CT)  Rescheduled to Sept. 20th

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes SBA Project (Litchfield, CT)  Postponed Date TBD

Barkhamsted Elementary School Annual River Run 5K  (Barkhamsted, CT)  Cancelled

Relay For Life Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY)  Postponed Date TBD

Berkshire South Community Center 8th Annual 5K Run  (Great Barrington, MA)  Virtual

Litchfield/Morris Rotary Club Golf Tournament ( Fairview Farm )  Cancelled

United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament (Torrington CC) Rescheduled to June 15th, may re-reschedule

Berkshire County ARC Golf Tournament (Berkshire Hills CC)  Postponed Date TBD

Litchfield Hills Road Race  (Litchfield, CT)  Cancelled

Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, CT)  Postponed to Oct. 16-17

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Breaking News !!

 

A patch of good news in a fear-soddened world. Yesterday the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development sent a statement to the Canaan Country Club that Connecticut golf courses can open/reopen as long as they follow CDC guidelines. That means restaurants associated with the golf courses will remain closed and golfers must abide by the new rules of conduct in a coronavirus world.

Just this morning New York State informed the New York State Golf Association that New York State golf courses can reopen, again, subject to CDC guidelines.

As of this morning(March 26th) Massachusetts courses are still closed.

This is wonderful news! The governments, both state and federal hamstrung themselves with their own wording. Using the word “nonessential” to define businesses that must shut down, they included enterprises like golf courses which can of course conduct business in a safe manner.

As soon as I learn of any changes for Massachusetts I will let you know.

Fore!!!

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It’s Our Turn Now

 

You see their names all the time, the same ones over and over. You see their names on T shirts at 5K road races and Tee signs at golf tournaments and on lists in “Thank You For Your Support”  letters to the editor.

They are the small town businesses who give constantly and repeatedly to the fundraising events making money for our treasured charities. They donate gift certificates and raffle, door and auction prizes and just plain cash because it’s their way of “giving back” to their communities.

There are over 450 events on sportingAcause.com all of which have business sponsors. And that’s just sports-related fundraisers. The total fundraisers must be in the many thousands in the Tri-State area – all business-supported.

And as we know, their support underwrites the events’ expenses. Without those sponsors, there are no fundraisers.

Now, in the time of the coronavirus, many of those businesses are hurting – especially those who have been ordered by law to close. Some like restaurants and breweries are open for takeout or delivery only. It won’t be enough to sustain them indefinitely, but it may keep them afloat for the short term – maybe.

So here is where we can help. Please, please make it a point- no- make it your mission to patronize the restaurants and breweries in your town by stopping by for takeout or ordering delivered meals or getting a six pack to go. These businesses need our support more than you know.

It’s our turn now, and “giving back” is a two-way road.

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Golf – The last Sports Refuge ?

The golf course may be the last sports refuge in these crazy times.

At its essence, golf is a solitary sport, and even when enjoyed with others there is a natural distance between players. But even on the links some changes have emerged to help keep everyone safe.

The most obvious change of course is there can be no post-round beers at the bar or lunch either  since all restaurants are closed. But course eateries are still offering snacks, lunch-type foods like sandwiches and beverages to take onto the course.

Here is what some of the public courses in the sportingAcause.com Tri-State area are doing to accommodate golfers in coronavirus world.

Egremont Country Club, South Egremont, MA- not open yet, hope to be open soon.

Hotchkiss School Golf Course, Lakeville, CT – may open as soon as April 1st.

Fairview Farm Golf Course, Harwinton, CT – open for the season, burgers, dogs,  sandwiches and beverages available to take on the course.

Green Woods Country Club, Winsted, CT – not open yet.

Quarry View Golf Course, Canaan, CT – course and driving range open, no food options.

Undermountain Golf Course, Copake, NY – open, beverages and snacks available to take on the course , no lunch menu yet.

Winding Brook Country Club, Valatie, NY – tentative opening date  March 29th.

Canaan Country Club, Canaan, CT – open but without carts, limited luncheon items and beverages available for takeout.

Links at Union Vale, Lagrangeville, NY – beverages and sandwich menu to go. Also only allowing one golfer per cart and only a couple people in the pro shop at a time.

Other measures that some clubs are taking to avoid the virus spread are no rakes in the sand traps, no ball washers, leaving the pin in while putting and using raised cups (when your putt hits the raised cup lip it is considered “in”).

Many courses are also sanitizing carts after each use.

Before you tee off, check with the pro shop at your favorite course to see what changes they’ve made to help ensure our safety.

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The New Normal

Just a few weeks ago, the first time I saw an image of the coronavirus it reminded me of a Nerf ball- something a child would play with, not the fearful, hateful thing it has so quickly come to symbolize.

The scroll at the bottom of the TV screen during the evening news last night seemed like the Storm of the Century was upon us –  schools closed, senior centers, town libraries, day care centers, all closed. But then, unprecedented in my experience, the scroll continued past the news through the rest of last night’s programming as event closings grew in number.

“Unprecedented” is a word we’re seeing a lot  lately. All major sports programs are shut down- the NBA, NHL, MLB have ended their seasons or at least “postponed” them. The NCAA Basketball Tournament is history. March Madness has a new meaning now.

And the speed of change is breathtaking. We don’t like change usually, but if it must, let it be in a measured, considered manner, extended over time. Two days ago, Connecticut high school athletes were protesting the “unfair” abrupt cancellation of all state sports tournaments . No one is protesting now.

Most of the weekend sports-related fundraisers in our area have been postponed. Here is a list of those events that appear on sportingAcause.com.

Retro Dodge Ball Tournament, Litchfield- postponed, hope to play at a later date.

VFW Couch-Pipa Bunco Tournament, North Canaan-  postponed until a later date.

Hoops For Hope, Poughkeepsie – postponed until a later date.

Shamrock Run, Kingston – postponed until a later date.

NW CT Rod and Gun Club Ham Shoot – still on for now.

Stay safe my friends, and welcome to the new normal.

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FORE !

 

The crocuses are up with the daffodils close behind, frogs have been playing dodge- the- cars on rainy nights, and yes, the golf season has begun- at least for now.

Here is a listing of some local public courses that are up and running or close to it:

Canaan Country Club in North Canaan, CT is open but walking-only, no carts yet.

Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, CT  is open for business with carts.

Undermountain Golf Course in Copake, NY  is open with carts in the rough-only.

Green Woods Country Club in Winsted, CT promises to be open in “a week or so” – they are rolling greens and raking up winter debris.

Stonybrook Golf Course in Milton, CT should be open by this weekend.

Quarry View Golf Course in Canaan, CT is open with carts. The driving range is open too.

The Links at Union Vale are open with carts (cart paths only).

The Hotchkiss School Golf Course typically opens by April 15th, but can open as early as April 1st under favorable conditions, according to their website. I’d say this might be that kind of year.

Neither the Egremont Country Club in South Egremont, MA  nor Winding Brook Country Club in Valatie, NY are open yet, but stay tuned –  they’ll be opening “soon”.

So there you have it Golfers. Plenty of open options to dispel all of that pent up demand.

Just stretch first, OK?

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I was wrong

I was wrong.

I’ve said it many times – for non-profits,  volunteers are second in importance only to donations- money first, volunteers second.

Saturday, Development Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association- CT Chapter Tina Hogan set me straight.

” I couldn’t accomplish anything without volunteers,” she said, ” They are more important than anything”. She made her point by listing a dozen tasks that volunteers perform- office volunteers, community representatives, graphic/web design, community educators, special events, and more. “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes 50 to 100 volunteers alone” Tina told me.

And that was why Tina and her crew were at the Falls Village Inn this past Saturday- for the Alzheimer’s Association Leap into Action Volunteer Kickoff to recruit help for a busy upcoming season of activities and beyond. And they were successful – 25 folks came and signed up to help!

Some of them no doubt will be lending a hand for The Longest Day (June 21st) and The Walk to End Alzheimer’s which will be held for the first time at Lime Rock Park in October. LRP has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association as its signature charity this year.

You will be able to find the details of both events on sportingAcause.com.

Evidence shows that people want to help out charities, both through donations and volunteerism, but often don’t know where to start. Here’s how: email alz.org/ct and offer your services. They can use all skill sets. Or contact another local charity whose mission is dear to your heart. They can all use the help.

 

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