The LPGA Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I ends today at Highland Meadows Golf Club, wrapping up a week of great socializing and competition.
The tournament is more than just golf. It’s a gathering of a community for fun and charity, from the many sponsors and more than 1,200 volunteers to the ProAm events. Since 1984, the tournament — formerly known as the Jamie Farr Classic — has donated $7.75 million to more than 100 northwest Ohio and southeastern Michigan children’s charities.
The ProAms, in which amateur teams are paired with LPGA golfers , took place Monday through Wednesday. Men represented the majority of the amateur players , but ladies were there, too, from doctors and lawyers to businessmen and women. The pros, many who stay with host families whom they have known for years, gladly give autographs.
Pro-Ams and Celebrity Pro-Ams were sponsored by 13abc; ProMedica/Hylant/ Heidtman Steel; Brooks Insurance/Health Care REIT; the Image Group; and Fathead. The results were published in The Blade’s sports section.
Putting is an important part of winning. The KeyBank Putting Pro-Am paired novices and amateurs with pros. Pro Alison Walshe won first place with Chris Kelly, Charlotte Larsen, Tammy Tonjes, and Rick Smith at Hole 10 in a tie-breaker against pro Alison Walshe’s team of Reyes Reyes, Terry Thomas, Joe Leonard, and Pete Millon.
Surprisingly, with all of the golfers, spectators, and volunteers, the golf course is still quiet and peaceful, with only the ping of golf balls being struck and applause from the gallery with a few fun lovers needing to be reminded to keep the noise level to a low decibel. That’s because as players and spectators focus on the competition , volunteers busily and quietly scurry around tending to tasks such as supervising parking, serving as hole captains and scorers, picking up trash, and making ice runs.
A popular place to see and be seen, the Marathon Classic is great for business and social networking. If you go for that reason, take note of the parade of golf fashions that many pros are sporting : short skirts, shorts, tops, visors, and caps, all in an array of colors.
Some attendees enjoy the cool indoor respites of the clubhouse and corporate hospitality tents on these hot summer days. But most brave it in the heat on patios and in the sky boxes on the 18th and 14th holes, so they can see the action on the links. The public pavilion, an outdoor patio, is also a great place to view the 18th, although many walk the course following their favorite players. And neighbors on the golf course have their own private view as golfers pass by their backyards.
Food is pretty much the same whether indoors or on the course, supplied by Prom Catering of Minnesota, which donates a portion of its profit to volunteer groups that help with the catering.
Souvenirs such as caps and shirts are popular purchases but the main entrance is loaded with vendors’ booths that are havens of freebies for this and that. And the Marathon gas giveaway raffle in the Marathon tent on the 18th green continues today with one winner every hour from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 for a $100 gas certificate, and at 3 p.m. three winners will receive $500 gas cards.
So, will 2012 champion So Yeon Ryu defend her championship as the fortune cookie she got on Sunday night foretold? Go out today and see for yourself, or just walk the course and enjoy the people and the fresh air.