May 2012

May 2012: Charity Corner - Spring Swing For Charity: Annual Golf Event To Benefit HHFA

Author: David Gignilliat

Instead of golfers shouting “fore” for an errant tee shot, for one spring charity tournament in particular, maybe they should yell “fire.” The Hilton Head Firefighters’ Association, in conjunction with Palmetto Fire Apparatus, will host the 2012 “Spring Swing for Charity” golf tournament at The Country Club of Hilton Head on Saturday, May 12.

“We sell it out every year. It’s a very popular event, very well-received,” said Chad McRorie, a local firefighter and the current HHFA president.
The Country Club of Hilton Head is a picture-perfect venue for this year’s tournament, which rotates among local courses. This year’s installment will be contested on a stunning 18-hole, par-72 Rees Jones design, where players will have to overcome 14 challenging doglegs through dense pine forest, saltwater marshes and freshwater lagoons. The course, the local qualifying site for both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens, is surrounded by the Skull Creek, and is situated on the highest elevation on Hilton Head Island. The course’s 12th hole, a 575-yard par five, is consistently ranked among the island’s most scenic holes. The picturesque hole ends with a sublime view of the Intracoastal Waterway and Skull Creek just past the green and a canopy of live oaks bordering the water.

The tournament could not be supported without its local sponsors, which include Callahan’s Sports Bar and Deluxe Grill, KFC / Shay Enterprises, Lee Distributors and the Heritage Classic Foundation. Over 20 volunteers, both HHFA members and local supporters, will help on tournament day to make sure things run smoothly. The proceeds will go toward sustaining the HHFA as well as numerous local charities at the discretion of the non-profit’s board of directors.

“We’ve had nothing but generosity from the community. Anytime we approach someone for a donation or sponsorship, the answer is always yes. It’s been very refreshing,” McRorie said. “We are stewards of the community, so we’re giving back to the community that supports us.”

The tournament is run as a captain’s choice format, with each player taking a shot, and the captain selecting the group’s best for the subsequent shot. This year’s field is 144 players, or 36 foursomes, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m., followed by a 9 a.m. shotgun start. The entry fee includes green fees, cart, continental breakfast, post-tournament lunch, cold beverages, a goodie bag, HHFA apparel and hole–in-one giveaways.

The tournament, now entering its eighth year, has generated over $100,000 in charitable donations. Coupled with the concession stand the HHFA runs during the annual RBC Heritage golf tournament, the HHFA is able to generate much of its annual proceeds from these two golf-themed events.

And yet even as the last dimpled golf ball drops into the hole, the event is far from over. Prizes, trophies and the HHFA’s popular tournament raffle (with scores of free golf outings and restaurant gift certificates to be won) give participants more to look forward to while they swap stories about the 18 holes just played.

“We try to give the participants a lot of bang for their buck,” McRorie said. “We want them to feel like they are contributing to a worthwhile charity and that they’ve got something of value for the money that they’ve spent.”

TICKETS: For more information on this year’s Spring Swing for Charity Golf Tournament, contact HHFA president Chad McRorie at (843) 301-2423 or by e-mail at chadm@hiltonheadislandsc.gov. For more information about the Hilton Head Firefighters’ Association, please visit hhfirefighters.org.

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