Golfers were as eager to make a difference as they were to make a putt at Monday’s Second Annual Perkins Golf Tournament – and it showed.
All together, 100 golfers raised $140,000 for students at Perkins School for the Blind, while enjoying 18 holes of golf on a balmy summer day at the magnificent Charles River Country Club. Their generosity will provide children and young adults who are blind with access to the teachers, tools and training they need to achieve their goals in life.
That’s why the Golf Tournament is one of my favorite Perkins events – it’s a great way for golfers to do good while doing something they love. No surprise, then, that the tournament was so popular again this year.
Golfers who had never before played at the Charles River Country Club said the course was a wonderful combination of inviting and challenging. Gently rolling fairways gave everyone confidence, but tricky topography and cleverly placed bunkers definitely required players to bring their “A” game.
One of the highlights of the tournament again this year was the opportunity to try golfing without the benefit of vision. Led by Bill McMahon, an avid golfer who is blind and who has been hosting golf clinics for Perkins students for 20-plus years, a number of participants put on blindfolds and learned how to swing a golf club using only their sense of hearing and touch.
McMahon has been playing golf for more than 30 years since he lost his vision, so he had lots of practical advice and suggestions to share. There was good-natured banter and encouragement as each player took a swing, getting verbal cues from a sighted partner. There were plenty of misses to be sure, but there were some solid shots, too – and cheers all around whenever a player made contact.
The blindfolded golf was a powerful example of what Perkins’ athletic programs accomplish every day, and inspired many players to support our “Sports Are For Everyone” Challenge. They donated $4,000 to Perkins athletic programs that introduce students who are blind to a variety of sports, including track, swimming and fencing.
Just as with their sighted peers, sports help children with blindness learn valuable lessons about teamwork, self-confidence and resilience. We’re deeply grateful to everyone who believes that sports are truly for everyone.
I want to thank our Tournament Chair Steve Demirjian and our 2016 committee for making this year’s event such an overwhelming success. They hit it on the “sweet spot” and we appreciate all their time, talent and effort.
Finally, thanks to everyone who came out for a great day of golf, camaraderie and generosity. I hope they had as much fun as I did – and I hope you’ll join us again next year for another round!