Golf tournament raises funds for athletic department

Arriving at the eighth hole, jokes were passed around.

"If I win this hole, lunch is on me," one golfer jested. He planted his feet on the green, grips his club, aims, hits.

The ball made it ten feet from the hole.

There was disappointment and anticipation as the next golfer lined up at the $10,000 hole, where anyone who made a hole-in-one received the pot.

Over 50 professors, faculty, and students from Santa Monica College came out on May 18 to play a round of golf for the SMC Athletic Department’s second annual golf tournament at the Westchester Golf Course.

The tournament was “started to raise funds and to raise awareness about the athletic department,” said Joe Cascio, SMC athletic director and tournament organizer.

Cascio found that the tournament built camaraderie across campus, and that those who played are more likely to attend campus events afterwards.

“The fact that we’re going to raise a bit of money helps, but just seeing how positive the campus community is about athletics is great,” he said.

Scattered among the course were six contests for the players. One was the $10,000 hole, but there were no winners. In another contest, "beat the pro," a golfer won if they made it closer to a designated mark than the professional on duty could.

Eight items were offered at a silent auction, one of them being a basketball signed by Michael Jordan.

The money generated by the tournament will be divided among all 17 sports at the college.

“I think it’s important that we support athletics for the college,” said Albert Vasquez, chief of the Santa Monica College Police Department. He does not play golf regularly and this was his first time at the tournament.

“It’s fun to be out here and just have a good time with folks,” he said before teeing off.

The event garnered the support of 18 local businesses, a big jump from the four sponsors the tournament had for its inaugural year.

“I think everyone’s going to have a fun time that’s playing in [the tournament],” said Lynn Ralston, a SMC golf instructor and Westchester Golf Course’s head coach. "But the whole goal is to raise funds for the athletic department, for the teams.”

Ralston, who has taught at SMC for 10 years, said that none of her students could afford the $150 entry fee, so no one competed.

“I think they have a bigger turnout than last year,” she said.

Tim Pierce, SMC’s men’s soccer coach, said the event was mainly faculty and friends.

“I think there’s probably like half of them that like to play, but some are just kind of for the event,” Pierce said. “They’re going to come out here and have some fun.”