Writer Joseph J. Airdo

Photography Courtesy of Rotary Club of Anthem

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast year, when people across the country — and the world — were looking for a safe and healthy outdoor activity to occupy their bodies and minds during the COVID-19 pandemic, golf facilities saw surges in play as the sport was embraced by participants of all ages.

In fact, more than 75 million additional rounds were played nationwide between June and December of last year than the same seven-month stretch in 2019, according to the National Golf Foundation.

“The game of golf and golf overall has grown exponentially during the pandemic,” says Joe Alvarez, who helps to organize Rotary Club of Anthem’s annual golf tournament. “Golf courses are packed. People want to get outside. They want to be active. And golf is a game where you can socially distance and still participate — even during a pandemic.”

That is great news for golfers and even better news for Rotary Club of Anthem — for which golf has become the biggest fundraiser, allowing the nonprofit organization to provide assistance to not only the immediate community but also to a number of service projects worldwide.

In fact, this year’s 17th annual golf tournament — set for Saturday, May 22 at Anthem Golf and Country Club — promises to be Rotary Club of Anthem’s most successful event yet. Having already sold out all spots in the tournament, the nonprofit organization is projecting that it could yield more than $50,000.

“And every single dollar that we raise at this golf tournament goes right back into the community,” Alvarez says.

Rotary Club of Anthem President Manny Chazan says the nonprofits organization — which is nearing two decades of service — hosts and organizes a number of events and programs aimed at making the community a better place.

“We do food drives, blood drives, prostate health screenings and even a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors,” Chazan explains. “Every once in a while, we will get the name of someone who is struggling — maybe someone whose car has broken down or someone who has recently lost their job — and we will take care of their needs.”

A worldwide organization, Rotary Club of Anthem also participates in a number of international projects — such as donating money to bring water to those who desperately need it in South America as well as sponsoring five students at a school there. Members discuss projects during weekly Friday morning meetings at Amped Coffee.

“We enjoy the fellowship, we enjoy the community and we enjoy making a difference in people’s lives,” says Chazan, noting that membership numbers are down due to the pandemic. “We are looking for people who really want to get involved and help.”

Fundraising opportunities are integral to the nonprofit organization’s efforts. Although Rotary Club of Anthem organizes a few fundraisers throughout the year — most notably as host of the beer tent at Anthem Days and other local events — its annual golf tournament is by far its most successful.

One of Rotary Club of Anthem’s other annual fundraisers — a ball drop raffle — will also see its culmination on the day of the golf tournament when one lucky winner will walk away with $5,000. Each $20 raffle ticket comes with a free oil change from local auto service shop C & R Tire.

In addition to the participation of the golfers themselves — who receive the opportunity to play at Anthem Golf and Country Club, a gift bag valued at $150, a post-game dinner and the knowledge that they are contributing to a great cause — Rotary Club of Anthem counts on the support of local businesses who act as sponsors of the event.

Alvarez notes that, at Images Arizona’s press time, 26 major sponsors at the $1,000 or higher level and 40 hole sponsors at the $250 level will be participating in this year’s golf tournament.

“So we have more than 65 local businesses supporting Rotary Club of Anthem for this event,” Alvarez says. “We are very grateful for the support of the Anthem community. It has always been very supportive of our organization and our mission. The Anthem community has really stepped up so that we have an opportunity to net more than $50,000 in one day with this golf tournament.”

That is exponentially more than the $36,000 final tally of last year’s event. However, even that financial figure is impressive considering the golf tournament was delayed to September due to the pandemic and organized relatively last-minute.

“It was sold out and that is quite frankly an amazing feat during a pandemic,” Alvarez says. “I think that it is due to the level of golf tournament that we provide. This is the premier golf tournament in Anthem.

“Also, Rotary Club of Anthem has done a great job of getting the word out about what we are doing. We have been very active. Even during the pandemic, when a lot of clubs, activities and so forth were stalled, we stayed very active with what we could do. I think that the community saw that and is willing to support us because it knows that we do great things.”


Rotary Club of Anthem Golf Tournament

Saturday, May 22 | 12:30 p.m. | Anthem Golf and Country Club | 2708 W. Anthem Club Drive, Anthem

Free to attend; $150 to participate; $250+ to sponsor | portal.clubrunner.ca/169

Rotary Club of Anthem Meetings

Fridays | 7:15 a.m. | Amped Coffee | 3434 W. Anthem Way, Anthem | Free | portal.clubrunner.ca/1691