By Tom Flanagan
With the list of competitive golf events winding down, much of the golf action is now focused on outings based on raising funds for good and needy causes.
Some may wonder just when the golf outing began and this was the topic of conversation at the recent 6th annual Curtis High School Scholarship Golf Outing at the South Shore Golf Course.
As we kicked it around among the older golfers in the field of the Curtis shindig, it was decided that the earliest we could recall was the Dilly Dally outings beginning in the 1950s and stemming from a popular Forest Avenue watering hole operated by Al Puntillo. Those outings were usually held at New Jersey courses since New York City courses were not available for such functions at the time. Puntillo was a firm supporter of all local sports and the proceeds of the outing went to junior golf on Staten Island.
It wasn’t until the 1980s when the city leased its golf courses to companies like American Golf Corporation that the golf outing was found to be a catalyst for social events as well as a way to raise funds. It was a win-win situation for many including course operators, pro shops, course restaurants and even the golfer who could in most cases deduct part of his contribution from his taxes.
There are currently hundreds of golf outings scheduled at the local courses over a season and it has been a boost to many charitable and needy organizations.
Let’s take the Curtis outing, which was founded by the Curtis High School Association of Alumni and Friends six years ago. Trevor A. Mills, CHSAAF president says, “We raise $20,000 per year in different functions for the students of Curtis and that could include uniforms for athletes, bus trips and other needs. The golf outing alone manages to raise and offer a student a $4,000 scholarship to offset college tuition.” A very strong committee headed by Honorable Ralph J. Lamberti, Event chairman George A. Scarpelli and a host of former Curtis grads begin scheduling the event months in advance.
Greg Jaenicke, new Curtis principal joined the crowd for the awards dinner at the Grand Oaks Country Club and expressed his appreciation for the outing. Oddly enough the principal, who plays very little golf of late, recalls scoring his first and only hole-in-one in an earlier Curtis outing.