Some kids play, so others can live.
Those are the simple, seven words that have helped the Lake Country Charity High School golf tournament, hosted by Tom Tallmadge and the Arrowhead boys golf program, raise an amazing $146,000 the last four years for the MACC Fund in their never-ending battle to eradicate childhood cancer.
When it comes to high school sports raising money for charity, this is as good as it gets. Trust me, as a guy who has been on the job for 42 years and has three children and four grandkids. Anything that helps children, especially ones with cancer, gets top billing.
This year's version of the LCC Invite will take on a local flavor when owner Greg Essig hosts this year's event at his Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee. A field of 144 golfers from 35 high schools featuring most of the top teams and individuals in the state, including enthusiastic supporters Menomonee Falls and Germantown, will be battling it out for the 2011 team championship on Saturday.
But birdies, eagles and winning scores will be secondary that day. Someday, just maybe, thanks to events like the LCC Invite and the outstanding MACC Fund, childhood cancer can be cured. When that day comes, the world will be a better place for all.
Results were shocking
Tallmadge, the highly successful Arrowhead boys golf coach who retired last year after leading the Warhawks to an unprecedented four consecutive WIAA Division 1 state championships and five since 2001, started the Lake Country Invite back in 1997 at Olde Highlander Golf Club in Oconomowoc. The meet took on an entirely different meaning back in 2007 when he added the word Charity to the title and teamed up with John Cary and the MACC Fund.
Thanks to then-Erin Hills owner Bob Lang, who donated the course that Saturday in April, Tallmadge and his newly named tournament raised a shocking $44,720. Tallmadge, the MACC Fund and just about everyone else was stunned with the success the tournament had that sunny Saturday.
Despite getting frozen out at Erin Hills in 2008 and rained out at Brown Deer Park in 2009, the tournament still raised slightly more than $70,000 without a single golfer taking the course those two years. That's how people feel about the outing and the wonderful job the MACC Fund does every single day to fight a disease that has taken the lives of thousands of innocent kids over the years.
Just about every team that plays in the tournament comes with donations. The Neenah team had already pledged $920 to this year's event with 10 days still to go before the shotgun start begins at 9 a.m. There will be teams that pledge a lot more than that. Last year's tournament at Brown Deer raised $31,000.
"I'm excited about moving the tournament back to the Lake Country," Tallmadge said. "The people from the Lake Country area have been outstanding and very gracious with their donations over the years. We all believe in this cause. And Greg Essig, the owner at Western Lakes, also has been very helpful and generous this year. Hopefully we can have another big year."
Wilson plays with top earners
Several years ago Mark Wilson, a former Falls resident and one of the nicest professional golfers you'll ever meet, became a proud member of the tournament staff. The two-time PGA tour winner this year will again play golf this summer with golfers from the two teams that raise the most money. Just how good is that?
Other local teams taking part in this year's tournament will be Brookfield Central, Brookfield Academy, Wauwatosa East/West, Pius XI, Catholic Memorial, Marquette, West Allis Hale, Whitefish Bay, Whitnall, Homestead and University School. All of those teams can be contacted to help them raise money for this year's event.
You can make donations by calling any of the local teams, schools or their coaches. You can visit the tournament website at LCCInvite.com. You can also call Lora at the MACC Fund at (414) 456-5835.
You can even come out to the tournament on April 30 and donate money. No donation is too small. Bring your change, maybe a $5 bill, whatever you can donate.
At the same time you can meet the face of this year's tournament, Emily Jensen, and her family. Just meeting her will make you understand the cause so much more.
Some kids worry about pars and birdies. Others worry about their next treatment.
Some kids play, so others can live.
No better words summarize the cause of this year's Lake Country Charity Invite.
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