On Monday, the 49th Annual Frontier Toyota Drive Safe Golf Classic raised more than $200,000 for the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Emergency Department.
The clear, sunny skies above The Oaks Club golf course in Valencia provided the perfect environment not only for the golf tournament, but also for the biggest spectacle of the event: the helicopter ball drop.
Tournament participants were able to purchase golf balls for $20 each, which were then dropped from a helicopter that hovered approximately 60 to 100 feet above one of the holes on the course. The balls were numbered from 1 to 1,800 and dropped on the green.
Two balls went into the hole, but event officials said that was not how the $50,000 prize was won. An insurance company called Odds On Promotion randomly selects a series of numbers and if one of the selected numbers falls within the 10 balls closest to the hole, the cash prize is awarded. There were no grand prize winners, with the top prize being $2,000.
The purpose of the event, however, was to raise money for Henry Mayo’s emergency services and he did just that.
Dr. Bud Lawrence, medical director of Henry Mayo’s emergency department and co-chair of the golf tournament, said the funds are making a real, measurable difference in the way they deliver care.
“So really what we have is we have members of the philanthropic community who donate to such a great cause to help protect the community,” Lawrence said, “so we can provide the best possible care, which…is great.”
The tournament should mark its 50and next year, and title sponsor Frontier Toyota has supported the event for the past 26 years.
Lawrence said every golfer he spoke to had an amazing time and it was one of the premier events in golf in the Santa Clarita Valley.
One of those golfers, Amy Grant, was part of 36 teams of four this year. As she spoke at the tournament reception at the clubhouse, she said her team played to the best of their ability and everyone did their part.
“So I’ve been volunteering for this event for over 30 years and playing on a team…with my coworkers and it’s been one of the best days of our year,” Grant said. “We’re having so much fun, we’re so lucky.”
Grant then landed the straightest shot on the 18th hole and his team took second place with a score of 57.
Another golfer, Todd Stevens, said while playing golf is always fun, playing for a charity makes it even more enjoyable.
“It makes it even more fun because you have a team, you’ve played together and you all know it’s for charity,” Stevens said. “You ultimately try to make things better and better. It’s not like you selfish, playing golf [for] yourself, you know, going out on a weekend…it’s just more fun, because you know it’s for a good cause.
Stevens and his team ended up taking first place in the tournament with a score of 55.