Whether he’s teaching at the Edison Club or playing his guitar for the Big Sky Country Band, versatile head pro Brad Gardner enjoys making people smile.
For the past three years, that smile has also meant a lot of money for the Folds of Honor, a national organization that helps raise scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers. Gardner, 33, has raised nearly $ 110,000 thanks to his annual golf marathon, or golf-a-thon. His goal for this year’s Golf-a-thon – scheduled for September 8th at the Edison Club – is to raise at least $ 50,000, the same amount he rounded up through donations a year ago.
Gardner simply serves up early in the morning and plays as many holes as possible. The money is collected through sponsorships per hole or through a flat rate.
“I don’t care how you do it as long as you give us the money,” Gardner said with a laugh. “Lump-sum donations or hole donations are fine with me.”
He played a staggering 177 holes in Gardner’s first charity marathon. That number rose to 204 in its second season and a staggering 342 last year. For those of us who get tired of playing just 18 holes – even with a cart – it’s hard to believe someone could do that much in weeks Can play golf, let alone in a day.
Gardner was asked how he could play so much golf in such a short time.
“I think it starts with having a good golf swing and swinging the club with the right muscles so my body doesn’t break down,” he explained. “Last year, Craig McLean [The Edison Club general manager] got involved and we had a little game at the club. We called it the turtle, which means Craig, versus the hare, which means me. But he had a few tricks up his sleeve. He has more lights strapped to his cart than at Albany Airport and it started at 12:01 pm. I only started at dawn, but I made it. “
Gardner said he played some kind of speed golf, but every hole was real.
“I put the tee in the ground, don’t practice swings and start playing,” he said. “The ball has to go into the hole. I can’t find every ball off the tee because the rough at Edison is pretty deep, so I cheat a little, but I always finish every hole. “
Gardner said he was counting the points just so he knew how many holes he played.
“The result wasn’t that important to me,” he said. “I think the highest score I had on any day of the marathon was 18 over par,” he noted. “It suggests that most of us golfers rethink every shot normally. You can’t play that in a marathon. “
A native of Chittenango and a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Professional Golf Management Program, he has been with The Edison Club since 2010. He started as an Assistant Pro and rose to Head Pro when McLean rose from Head Pro to General Manager.
I asked Gardner why he was involved in the Folds of Honor program.
“I think it was empathy,” he explained. “I have always admired the men and women who serve our country. It takes a lot of courage to go over and fight this fight. I felt I had to do something to show my gratitude. The PGA is doing a lot of work with the Folds of Honor program. “
Gardner believes many golf courses in the area could also help the Folds of Honor program in a similar way.
“You get a lot out of it,” he said. “I had the opportunity to speak to a Gold Star mother [mother and wife of a fallen soldier] last year and she told me what she went through and what her kids went through. It’s pretty amazing. I wish we could get more PGA pros to do a golf a-thon. I know a whole tournament is difficult, but a golf a-thon is so easy. It’s a win-win situation. “
His work as a professional golfer hardly leaves him time for a hobby, but he also plays guitar in the Big Sky Country Band. He caught the musical virus from his father, who was also in a band.
“It’s a little different from my job,” he said. “Taking 5-hour energy drinks gets me through. It is certainly a challenge, especially as we now have fewer staff and more hours there at the Edison Club. But I enjoy it and I make it work. I am fortunate to have support from Craig McLean and the club members. Many come to hear me play. “
Gardner said his two most memorable golfing moments were watching Tiger Woods win the Masters in 1997 and lose a six-stroke lead over the second nine of his club championship when he was only 17. He has a hole-in-one in his career – on the seventh hole at the Edison Club with a 7-iron. His career low round 6 is under par 64 during his Players Ability Test at Crestwood Golf Club near Syracuse.
“That was the only round I’ve ever played where I had no idea what I was photographing,” he recalls. “I just knew I would pass the exam.”
If someone wants to donate to Gardners Golf-a-thon, they can send money directly to the Edison Club or find more information at Foldsofhonor.org. Look for a link to Golf Marathons and the Edison Club will be listed.
The NENY PGA Professional Championship, one of the section’s premier events, has been moved to Hiland Park Country Club in Queensbury this Monday and Tuesday due to extremely wet conditions last week.
Edison Club’s Marianne Springer, 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. Brian Pesavento finished second with a 308. Jim Leonard carded a 319 to win the maiden flight. Nan Lanahan won the women’s club championship with an overall rating of 170 over two days. Diane Fowler was the net champion with a 149 after winning a playoff against Ann Capobianco.
RPI’s Matt Buckley has been named to the Golf Coaches Association of America Northeast All-Freshmen team. Buckley finished fourth in the Liberty League Championship and was named Liberty League Rookie of the Year. He averaged 75.5 strokes per round.
The NEWGA Senior Championships are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Country Club of Troy.
A charity golf excursion for the City Mission of Schenectady will be held at the Mohawk River Country Club & Chateau on September 25th. Green fees are US $ 50 and a minimum tax-deductible donation of US $ 40 to the City Mission of Schenectady is requested. Contact for more information [email protected]
Rotary clubs from across the capital region are sponsoring the 23rd annual Gift of Life International Golf Tournament on September 20th at Pinehaven Country Club. The proceeds will help bring children from around the world to Albany Medical Center for necessary pediatric heart surgeries that cannot be performed in their home countries. To register to play or sponsor the event, visit www.gifttolife7190.org or call Richard Suker at 518-858-8839.
HOLES IN ONE
Sherm Bowman’s most recent hole-in-one at Hales Mills Country Club had a pretty interesting twist. Shortly before Bowman collected his first career ace, his playing partner Dave Seward also collected a hole-in-one on the same 145-yard hole over water. That’s two aces in two swings. According to the PGA, less than two percent of golfers get a hole-in-one in any given year. The odds of two players from the same foursome playing an ace on the same hole is 17 million to one. The likelihood of back-to-back swings leading to aces is roughly 64 million to one.
The Shaker Ridge Country Club had a busy season of honor shots. Here is a list that has been catching up for the past two months.
In July, Steve Meleco used a 9-iron to crack the 122-yard hole, Jerry Corcoran hit a hybrid on the 140-yard hole 16, Sara Spychalski punched a 7-iron on the fourth hole and played 96 Yards and Pat Dwyer hit a 3 hybrid for an ace in the 175-yard 12th hole.
In August, Rich Barlette Sr. pitched a pitching wedge on the 111 yard fourth hole, Robert Norton pitched a pitching wedge on the same hole for his hole-in-one, and John Seligman made the fourth hole as well.
Scotia Seniors League’s Bob Farstad scored his first hole-in-one with a 7-iron on the 120-yard 14th hole at Mill Road Acres.
John Lee conquered the ninth hole while playing in the Handicappers League at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Reach Bob Weiner at below [email protected]
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