Desert pros tackle the difficult 17th hole at PGA West to raise money for first tee

by | Nov 10, 2021 | Golf Courses

It wasn’t just the chance to play against other desert golf pros that drew Lehua Wise to the indiGO Stadium Shoot Out on Tuesday, or the chance to be the only woman in the 16-player field at the event made for televsion.

“It was for the First Tee too,” said Wise after attending the very first event to raise funds for the Coachella Valley’s First Tee. The entire contest with 16 pros from local golf courses took place at the legendary par 3 hole 17 on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Targeting the island green on the hole known as Alcatraz, the match-play bracket event brought in $ 2,500 for the first tee, money needed for the junior golf program, the executive director said.

“It’s huge and it’s amazing because it doesn’t take a lot of our time, talent, and resources to do it, because they do it all for us,” said Teal Guion, executive director of the local First Tea Chapter. “It’s one of those magical things.”

Participants react to the crowd during the indiGO Stadium Shootout on the PGA West stadium course in La Quinta on November 9, 2021.

The event was organized by KESQ Television and hosted by sports presenter Blake Arthur, with sponsorship from indiGO Auto Group, PGA West and The American Express PGA Tour Event, which will be held at PGA West in January.

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“It really comes down to the first tee,” said Ben Dobbs, executive director at PGA West. “We are very familiar with what they do. They do a lot more than just teach golf. They teach life skills. Opportunity to host some kind of event at the beginning of the season to bring together the professionals who don’t get together enough. “

Sixteen professionals from local golf courses attended the event, from teaching professionals to professionals with tournament experience. Paired in single-elimination matches, the participants played the 17th hole from the tee to the green. If the pair were tied on the hole, they would return to the tee to play a competition for the pin to determine the winner of that match.

The three-hour shoot-out event will be reduced to a half-hour special that will be shown on November 21 on KESQ, where the winner will be announced.

Water demands a lot of golf balls

While the day featured many good shots from three different tee boxes of 131, 146 and 168 yards for different rounds, the event also featured shots in the water to the left, right, and long of the green, as well as shots that ricocheted off the rocks that made the famous Putting surface.

“Every stroke on this hole is dangerous when you look down on it,” said Wise of the La Quinta Hideaway Club, which recently won the Southern California PGA women’s championship for the fourth time. “It’s an iconic hole and such a fun event.”

For Guion, the $ 2,500 raised through the event is another step in funding programs not only at the Palm Desert Golf Center, home of First Tee, but elsewhere in the desert. The First Tee hosts four major fundraising drives in the desert each year, but Guion says that just isn’t enough.

“We need the help of the entire Coachella Valley. There are 63,000 children we are trying to reach right now, ”she said. “We’re really working on expanding the school programs in the Palm Springs Unified School District. We are slowly putting on it every check I get, and we expand and add. There are four schools (in the program) and the goal is to get all 16, but it’s about $ 8,000 to add to each school. “

Golfers Lehua Wise (left) and Bryan Newman hug during the indiGO Stadium Shootout on the Stadium Course of the PGA West in La Quinta on November 9, 2021.