Innovative fundraising: Who’s your caddy?

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When it comes to golfing, the participants of the Who’s Your Caddy? Ladies-Only Golf Tournament can’t be accused of taking the game too seriously.

“Among the instructions we give to the foursomes at the opening ceremony is that when it’s 4:30, it’s time to put down the clubs and head to the clubhouse,” says event chair Sherry Robinson. “And for the most part, that’s what they do. They have fun golfing, but they have even more fun just being there for the day!”

This June was the fourth annual tournament and the first time it had been held at Cherry Downs Golf and Country Club in Pickering. Unsuspecting staff at the course wore curious and surprised looks as the day progressed and the participants arrived for the event. As the 1 p.m. tee-off time approached the participants were clearly more concerned with preparing their golf apparel than they were with golf clubs and practicing their swings. And not for mere fashion sense.

When Ms. Robinson and special guest emcee Joe Tilley of CTV Sports opened up the festivities for the introductions prior to tee-off, they were surrounded by foursomes dressed in costumes and themes obviously ready for hijinks on the course. One caddy dressed in a ‘nerd’ costume, with pants pulled up to his armpits, pocket protector and broken glasses, was accompanied by a team of women wearing “I love Nerds” T-Shirts. Other golfers sported matching World Cup jerseys, or yet others were dressed as modern-day queens with their caddy ‘king’ wearing the crown, while many more wore hilarious matching apparel, each team trying to outdo the other.

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“Everyone keeps their team theme a closely guarded secret up to tournament day,” Ms Robinson explains. “I would say the title of ‘Best Team Costume’ is easily the most prized of the many awards we hand out.”

The event, organized by the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation, and guided by an active volunteer committee, supported the surgeons of Rouge Valley Health System this year.

The caddies acts as golf advisor, finder of lost golf balls and also can be called upon to take a few shots whenever needed. Activities for this year’s 9-hole round included delicious food and treats at various holes, along with hand massages and spa giveaways at some tee decks. Team and individual prizes are up for grabs and aside from eye-catching costumes, there are prizes for ‘best decorated carts’, ‘best photo op’ and a number of other fun contests, which often have nothing to do with golf.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament will support the purchase of a portable xiscan, a diagnostic tool needed for Rouge Valley’s orthopaedic and plastic surgeons.

Dr. Allan Eckhaus, a plastic surgeon at RVHS, explained to the ladies during the awards presentations and dinner just what the machine is used for and how it will help many patients at the hospital.

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He explained a xiscan, or mini c-arm as it is known, is a miniature and portable x-ray machine that can be of great help with hand injuries, bone fractures and foreign bodies that have become embedded in the skin. “It can be wheeled around the hospital to inpatient rooms, the clinics or the image with ease,” he said. “It can operated by any of the doctors without the need of a technician. It shoots live x-rays that produce clear images in video or still photo format.

It allows doctors to set fractures with the live feedback of the x-ray to check the accuracy of the position of the bones. And as instrument that would be used daily, it will have great benefit to many patients over the course of the year, he added.

“It would be hard to think of anyone who didn’t know someone that had an injury over time, that might benefit from the use of the mini-c arm,” he said.

Dr. Eckhaus was also a caddy for the day, his first time. He was surprised at the lengths people went to in dressing up for the fun and hijinks.

“During the caddie introductions, in walked a gentleman dressed in a Chiefs hockey jersey, paying homage to the movie Slapshot, with an old Wayne Gretzky style helmet and a golf bag full of old clubs, to reference Happy Gilmore,” he said. “I immediately congratulated him on the best outfit of the day.”