Friday, Jul 01, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

Farr Classic is the only game in town

The 17th Annual Jamie Farr Kroger Classic Ladies Professional Golf Tournament is more than a golf tournament.

Over the years, a diverse group of charities has benefited from the $3.2 million raised. That's thanks to Mr. Farr, who said he's insisted that several charities be included and not just a few or the same ones over and over again.

This year's charities included Camp Courageous, the Girl Scouts, Harbor Behavioral Healthcare, Kobacker Psychoeducational Center, and the Ronald McDonald House.

Not only is the Farr Classic the biggest fund-raiser in town, it's a social event too.

Farr-Classic-is-the-only-game-in-town

Hometown boy Jamie Farr gets a view of what the rest of Toledoans will be seeing soon: the new downtown Mud Hens stadium.

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Activities began more than a week ago with parties for the pro-am tournaments, giving participants a chance to socialize with the pros and celebrity guests. Mr. Farr made the rounds not only on the golf course, but around town - the Beirut and Mancy's as well as several friends' homes, and the Mud Hens game, at which Mr. Farr shared another birthday cake, this time with Muddy the Mud Hen.

Pros were busy off the links, attending fireworks parties and the zoo. Nancy Lopez gave a private lesson at Inverness Club to Jim Gildea: He received it as a gift from John Pappas who bought the lesson Ms. Lopez had contributed to at a local fund-raiser auction.

The real social scene was at the course - of course - as spectators gadded about. And everything was relatively quiet in spite of the crowds.

The clubhouse patio at the first tee was a prime spot to see and be seen. However, marshals called "quiet please" on a regular basis.

The Sky Box - the corporate seats under a tent on the 18th hole - was another hot spot of sorts. This was where the elite with special passes could sit in the shade, watch the golfers, and sip beverages, and maybe see or get an autograph from Mr. Farr. In fact, the actor joked when he passed by the long line for the ladies restroom in the clubhouse: "Is this the autograph line? "

The Champions tent and the Margarita Cantina visitors pavilion patios were great places to chat without disrupting tournament play. The cantina was at such a distance that Todd and Joan Koslowski could sip as they watched players from a-Farr.

But the spectators didn't have to keep distance from the pro golfers all week. During the pro-ams and the parties that followed, amateurs and professionals mixed and mingled together.

''It's a fun no pressure day" remarked pro Michelle Bell. Ditto for pro LaRee Sugg who commented, "I look at it as an opportunity to go for it - fun golf - and to thank the sponsors who made the LPGA possible."

But having fun does have its serious side when it comes to superstitions. Ms. Bell said she only uses red tees, and pro Kelly Cap always marks her ball with a quarter, and with the head up.

For Jim and Peggy Holland, who live across from the club's entrance, the action has been in their lot for 13 years. In fact, their lot is prime for those who want to pay to park there for $4 a day.

''By Sunday we get tired of it and start saying we'll never do it again," Mr. Holland said. "Then we think of the regulars who have been parking at our place for years. They would probably come back anyway, so the only way to avoid it would be to move."

In spite of all the schmoozing, business lunching, entertaining, and celebrity seeking, most spectators walked the links and watched a fair share of golf.

And nearly everyone crowed to the 18th hole as the end drew near and to watch Se Ri Pak win.

Barbara Hendel is The Blade's society editor. E-mail her at bhendel@theblade.com.

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