Whether he’s teaching classes at the Edison Club or strumming his guitar for Big Sky Country, versatile conductor Brad Gardner loves to make people smile.
Over the past three years, those smiles have also meant tons of money for the Folds of Honor, a national organization that helps raise scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers. Through his annual golf marathon, or golf-a-thon, Gardner, 33, raised just under $ 110,000. His goal for this year’s golf-a-thon – set for Sept. 8 at the Edison Club – is to raise at least $ 50,000, the same amount he rounded up from donations a year ago. .
Starting early in the morning, Gardner is content to play and play as many holes as he can. The money is collected through hole-in-the-hole referrals or through a flat rate.
âI don’t care how they do it, as long as they give us the money,â Gardner said with a laugh. âFlat donations or hole donations are fine with me. “
In Gardner’s first charity marathon, he played a breathtaking 177 holes. That number rose to 204 in his second season and an incredible 342 last year. For those of us who are fed up with only playing 18 holes – even with a cart – it’s hard to believe that anyone can play so much golf in several weeks, let alone one day.
Gardner was asked how he could play so much golf in such a short time.
âI think it starts with having a good golf swing and swinging the club with the right muscles so that my body doesn’t collapse,â he explained. âLast year, Craig McLean [The Edison Club general manager] got involved and we had a little game at the club. We called him the turtle, meaning Craig, against the hare, meaning me. But he had a few tricks up his sleeve. He attached more lights than there are at Albany Airport to his trolley, and he left at 12:01 am. I didn’t start until dawn, but I succeeded.
Gardner said he plays some kind of fast golf, but every hole is legitimate.
âI put the tee in the ground, didn’t take any practice shots and started playing,â he said. âThe ball has to go into the hole. I can’t find all the balls off the tee because the rough at Edison’s is pretty deep, so I cheat a bit, but still finish every hole.
Gardner said he keeps track of the score just to know how many holes he has played.
âThe score was not that important to me,â he said. âThe highest score I think I got for any of the marathon days was 18 above normal,â he noted. âThis is a testament to the fact that most of us golfers think too much about every stroke normally. You can’t do that by playing the marathon.
The Chittenango native and graduate of the Florida Gulf Coast University Professional Golf Management Program has been with the Edison Club since 2010. He started as a pro assistant and moved on to Head Pro when McLean moved from Head Pro to General Manager. .
I asked Gardner why he got involved in the Folds of Honor program.
âI think it was empathy,â he explained. âI have always admired the men and women who serve our country. It takes a lot of bravery to go above and beyond and fight this fight. I felt I had to do something to show my gratitude. The PGA does a lot of work with the Folds of Honor program.
Gardner believes there are plenty of golf courses in the area that could help the Folds of Honor program in the same way as well.
âYou get a lot out of it,â he said. “I had the chance to speak with a Gold Star mum [mother and wife of a fallen soldier] last year and told me what she went through and what her children went through. It is quite amazing. I would like more PGA professionals to participate in a golf-a-thon. I realize that an entire tournament is difficult, but a golf-a-thon is so simple. It’s a win-win situation.
His job as a golf professional leaves him very little time for a hobby, but he also plays guitar in Big Sky Country. He caught the music bug from his father, who was also in a band.
âIt’s quite different from my day job,â he said. âTaking 5 hours of energy drinks gets me through it. It is certainly a challenge, especially since we have less staff now at the Edison Club and there are more hours there. But I enjoy it, and I make it work. I am fortunate to have the support of Craig McLean and the members of the club. Many of them come to hear me play.
Gardner said his two most memorable golfing moments were watching Tiger Woods win the 1997 Masters and lose a six-stroke lead over the last nine of his club championship when he was just 17. He has a hole-in-one in his career – on the seventh hole at Edison Club with a 7 iron. His career lowest lap is a 64 under par in his players’ aptitude test at Crestwood Golf Club. near Syracuse.
âThis is the only round I have ever played where I had no idea what I was shooting,â he recalls. “I just knew I was going to pass the test.”
If anyone would like to donate to Gardner’s golf-a-thon, they can send money directly to the Edison Club or find more information at Foldsofhonor.org. Look for a link on Golf Marathons and The Edison Club is listed.
The NENY PGA Professional Championship, one of the major events in the section, has been moved to this Monday and Tuesday at Hiland Park Country Club in Queensbury due to extremely wet conditions last week.
Marianne Springer of The Edison Club, 70, qualified for the US Senior Women’s Amateur September 10-15 at the Lakewood Club in Point Clear, Alabama.
Aaron Simone, a former Schenectady Classic champion, won the Pinehaven Country Club men’s club championship last week with a total of 298 over four days. Brian Pesavento was second with a 308. Jim Leonard rolled up a 319 to win the first flight. Nan Lanahan won the women’s club championship with a total of 170 in two days. Diane Fowler was the net champion with 149 after winning a playoff against Ann Capobianco.
RPI’s Matt Buckley has been named to the Golf Coaches Association of Northeast America’s Freshman Team. Buckley finished tied for fourth in the Liberty League Championship and was named Liberty League Rookie of the Year. He averaged 75.5 shots per round.
The NEWGA Senior Championships will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Country Club in Troy.
A fundraising golf outing for the municipal mission of Schenectady will take place on September 25 at the Mohawk River Country Club & Chateau. Green fees are $ 50 and a minimum tax deductible donation of $ 40 to the Municipal Mission of Schenectady is requested. for more information, contact [emailÂ protected]
Rotary clubs across the Capital Region are sponsoring the 23rd Annual âGift of Life International Golf Tournamentâ on September 20 at Pinehaven Country Club. Proceeds help fund the transport of children from around the world to Albany Medical Center for needed pediatric heart surgery that cannot be performed in their home country. To register to play or to support the event through sponsorships, go to www.gifttolife7190.org or call Richard Suker at 518-858-8839.
There was a pretty interesting twist to Sherm Bowman’s recent hole-in-one at Hales Mills Country Club. Just before Bowman won his first career ace, his playing partner, Dave Seward, also had a hole-in-one on the same hole 145 yards above the water. That’s two aces in two swings. According to the PGA, less than two percent of golfers score a hole-in-one in any given year. The odds of two players from the same quartet registering an ace on the same hole are 17 million to one. The odds of consecutive swings resulting in aces are approximately 64 million to one.
Shaker Ridge Country Club has had a busy season with some honors. Here is a catch-up list for the past two months.
In July, Steve Meleco used a 9 iron to hit the 122-yard fourth hole, Jerry Corcoran hit a hybrid on the 140-yard 16th hole, Sara Spychalski finished with a 7 iron on the fourth hole playing 96 yards and Pat Dwyer hit a hybrid 3 for an ace on the 175-yard 12th hole.
In August, Rich Barlette Sr. hit a pitching wedge on the 111-yard fourth hole, Robert Norton also hit a pitching wedge on the same hole for his hole-in-one, and John Seligman also hit the fourth hole.
Bob Farstad of the Scotia Seniors League hit his first hole-in-one with a 7 iron on the 120-yard 14th hole at Mill Road Acres.
John Lee hit the ninth hole while playing in the Handicapped League at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Contact Bob Weiner at [emailÂ protected]
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