Teeing off for a cause
In 2004, Ross Joly began thinking about ways in which Cummaquid Golf Club, where he is a member, could give back to the local community. It didn’t take long for Joly to come up with an idea. As a Cape Cod native who was raised in Yarmouthport, there has always been one place that has there for his family during tough times, especially when his father became ill: Cape Cod Hospital.
After gaining approval for a benefit golf tournament from Barry Nichols, the club president at the time, Joly took his proposal to the board of directors, who told him, “Go for it.” With that, the Cape Cod Hospital Benefit Golf Tournament was founded.
“Cape Cod Hospital is a central part of life on Cape Cod,” Joly said. “It’s an organization where it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, they will take care of you. What better place is there to use as a way for our club to give back to the community?”
This year’s 16th annual tournament will be held on Sept. 16 and, once again, the field will be full with 135 golfers teeing off in a shotgun start at noon. As usual, they will come from both the club’s membership and the community as a whole. During the past 15 years, the tournament has raised more than $1.5 million, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the hospital. The golf club, through a unanimous vote of the board of directors, donates use of the historic course, which dates back to 1895, free of charge.
“It’s our members reaching out to help with one of Cape Cod’s most important assets, which is the hospital,” says Robert Burns, who took over as chairman of this year’s tournament from John and Sue Schofield. “It’s a place where we have all been or are all probably going to at some point, and it’s our way to contribute in what we think is a very meaningful way.
“We have so many connections with Cape Cod Hospital. So many people have benefitted from going to Cape Cod Hospital and being part of the Cape Cod Healthcare system. It’s universal on the Cape. It has touched so many people.”
How the Hospital Has Benefitted
Thanks to money raised through corporate and individual sponsorships, entry fees, a silent auction and a live auction (John Schofield, an auctioneer at Eldred’s in East Dennis, donates his auctioneer services to the event), the hospital has benefitted in a variety of ways through the years. In the beginning, money raised was directed toward a specific need, like the time it was used to purchase an intubation machine for newborn babies. More recently, it has gone to Cape Cod Healthcare Cancer Services.
“If you walk through the hospital, from the nursing stations to the emergency center to the trauma and patient rooms, you can see something that we have supported as the hospital has grown,” said Jim Hegarty, who served as tournament chairman for eight years.
In addition to golf, lunch and an after-dinner gathering with hors d'oeuvres and drinks, the auction often includes the opportunity to bid on overnight trips to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, sports memorabilia such as autographed baseballs, footballs, jerseys and photos, tickets to the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots, and gift certificates for numerous local businesses. One of each year’s most popular items is the opportunity to have the golf club’s chef cook a meal for 12 at the winning bidder’s home.
“We could not do this without the support of the entire Cape Cod community,” Joly says. “Restaurants, shoe stores, landscapers and garden shops all donate because they recognize that all the money raised stays right here on Cape Cod and goes directly to Cape Cod Hospital.”
Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or playing in this year’s tournament should contact Burns at 203-820-7356 or Calle Walsh at 508-862-5653.