Golf has always been an agent for good. But when sports personalities and golfers with a strong sense of giving combine at a top notch venue, good quickly turns into remarkable.
If remarkable could be quantified into a number, I am fairly certain 9 million dollars in donations to The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center over the past nine years would be a safe place to start.
Nine million dollars – that is what Andy North & Friends have contributed to charity since their first event in 2009. Last year, the two-day get together raised a record $1.05 million dollars.
The list of sports “A-Listers” changes from year to year, but has included Aaron Rodgers, Robin Yount, Tom Watson, and Bobby Knight, just to name a few. Sprinkle in a bevy of former Wisconsin Badger athletes and television personalities, and you have all the makings of one of the finest charitable golf events in the entire nation. In a recent interview with North, he mentioned that every single celebrity that has ever attended the event has received an invite for the 10th anniversary gala, so the 2018 edition could be the most star-studded ever!
For the two-time U.S. Open Champion and Monona, Wisconsin native, Andy North, the chance to give researchers at The Carbone Cancer Center the funds to fight cancer is at the forefront of his motivation. Plus, as being a skin and prostate cancer survivor, he feels an intense desire to give back to where he received treatment. “We are all touched by the disease, whether it’s friends, family members, or yourself,” started North. “I am convinced the way to do that is through research and discovery and there is an awful lot of that happening at Carbone and on the University of Wisconsin campus. If we can help raise some money we can help change people’s lives,” finished North, who now serves as a golf analyst and reporter for ESPN.
After a two year hiatus, Trappers Turn Golf Club and The Kalahari Resort will once again host the festivities June 3rd and 4th. Both properties are owned by Wisconsin Dells native Todd Nelson, who is a personal friend of Mr. North’s and a driving force behind the event.
“Todd has been absolutely amazing,” began North. “He has done so much for the Carbone Cancer Center starting 10 years ago when we didn’t have any idea of what we wanted to do or where we wanted to go. Todd has supported it since day one and he’s a guy who thinks out-of-the-box and expects great things when he gets involved. We thought it was the thing to do bringing the event back to Kalahari Resort and Trappers Turn for the 10th year. Again, when people like Todd get involved things get done, and I love people like that! It has truly been a great partnership,” concluded North.
Another behind-the-scenes hero of the event since day one has been Andy’s self-professed better half, his wife Susan. She is in charge of finding those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that command top dollars during the silent auction part of the festivities.
Dr. Howard Bailey, director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, said the support from Andy and Susan North has been invaluable to move research from Carbone labs to the patients who need it. “This event provides seed funding for cancer research projects that lead to much larger projects,’’ Bailey says. “When times are tough for federal funding, they often won’t even consider a project unless you show the likelihood of success through a pilot study. So a $100,000 gift here can lead to a $2 million federal grant, and more quickly move cancer discoveries to patients who are suffering with cancer, not just here, but around the state of Wisconsin,” stated Bailey.
Besides the auction portion of the proceedings, the golf outing at Trappers Turn the following day is the highlight of the extravaganza. 36 teams of four golfers are spread out amongst 27 holes during a five hour round that all participants wished lasted twice as long. The celebrities rotate around the courses so they usually get to play two holes with each group!
Bob Gander, head golf professional at Trappers Turn, one of the best golf event organizers in the business, understands how important it is to be a part of something larger than golf. “It is very special to be a part of a game in which charity and giving back play such an important role,” began Gander. “The PGA of America and PGA TOUR have been leaders in this arena for many years. It’s not surprising that former tour standouts, like Andy North, have a strong desire to put on events like his. Specifically to the Nelson family it means a lot to be a part of Andy North & Friends. The family thrives on challenges, and none are better than this. Raise more money and execute a better event than the prior year? Sounds difficult, but we are in!” explained Gander.
The Andy North/Roger Packard co-design opened their original 18 holes in 1991 and added the elegant Arbor Nine in 2001. The 540 acre property features The Lake, The Canyon, and Arbor nines that quite honestly were made to host outings. Nearly every hole presents numerous playability options that make the golfer weigh going for broke or playing it safe.
Since the outing format is the ultimate game of risk/reward, Trappers Turn’s set of amazing par-5’s will most likely be the deciding factor in a team’s victory or second place finish. Those and their diabolical set of par-3s where birdies are rare and pars are coveted.
“One of the reasons people enjoy playing Trappers Turn is the variety of golf holes throughout the 27-hole layout,” began Patrick Steffes, General Manager/Director of Golf at Trappers Turn. “The par 5s, especially from the tees that outings usually play from, provide a huge risk-reward result. Most of them are reachable, but the length of the hole is not the challenge. Many have water lurking near the green, so one errant shot can make a birdie-able hole into a larger than desired number. With the risk-reward of the par 5s and ability to make birdies, the par 3s are a whole different story. Some of them have very large greens, others have small guarded greens, several are highlighted by water features, and our signature hole, Canyon #7, is surrounded by the Dells’ famous glacier formed sandstone. When you pair our 27 holes with award-winning food, beverage options, and our beautiful clubhouse, Trappers Turn is a must for your next group function or daily visit,” concluded Steffes.
Bob Gander takes it one step further on why Trappers Turn has such a solid reputation in golf outing circles. “While we have the stunning visuals, award-winning culinary and excellent playing conditions the reason we are so successful as an outing venue is our people,” stated Gander. “The team at Trappers is passionate about making every guest enjoy their experience. We are a group of people that were born to be in hospitality. We search for opportunities to go beyond expectations, and then we do it,” Gander finished.
To get your team of four golfers signed up for the 2018 Andy North and Friends Event, please contact Janie Winston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (608) 262-1032. The event normally sells out by March 1st, so please hurry! For more information on the 2018 Andy North and Friends Event which again will be held June 3rd and 4th, visit www.andynorthandfriends.com