Southwest Florida golf column: Alico plays role in PGA HOPE program for area veterans

The South Florida PGA Foundation has completed the second season of PGA HOPE and one of the sites is here in Southwest Florida.

PGA HOPE stands for “Helping Our Patriots Everywhere” and is designed to introduce golf to veterans in order to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. The free program is six weeks of instruction, and all told, has impacted over 90 veterans in the South Florida.

Alico Family Golf in Fort Myers was involved with the program for the first time, and it’s the first time it was offered in Southwest Florida. Atlantis Golf Club in West Palm Beach and International Links of Melresse/The First Tee Miami were the other two sites.

PGA professionals Brian Yarusevich, Kraig Feighery, John Murray, Ethan Fowler, Sara Dickson, Jessica Carafiello and apprentice Blaine Lytle were the instructors at Alico. Yarusevich worked with local VA Centers to recruit the veterans. The class had a total of 15 participants. As a result, Alico Family Golf has offered to host a Monday league on their short course for participants.

“We are very grateful for the PGA HOPE program,” Feighery said. “This program was made possible by local Lee and Collier County PGA professionals who are committed in growing the game of golf no matter what. We salute our veterans for their service to our country and we hope to grow the game of golf for all.”

Chubb Classic looking for volunteers: The 30th annual Chubb Classic, Naples’ PGA Tour Champions event which is Feb. 14-19 at The TwinEagles Club, is searching for volunteers. For a $75 registration fee, all volunteers receive a tournament-branded golf shirt and outerwear piece, a visor or hat, four daily grounds passes for family and/or friends, free lunch during working shifts, and general grounds access all week with volunteer badge.

Volunteer registration is available at chubbclassic.com, and the website has descriptions of over 20 different volunteer committees, ranging from marshals to on-site hospitality. Committees assisting with Taste of SW Florida, a two-day food festival held in conjunction with the golf event, are also available.

The tournament also announced that tickets are available at the PGA Tour Superstore in Naples, just west of Coastland Center Mall. General admission tickets, parking passes and Talon Club hospitality tickets are among those available for in-store purchase.

Daily general admission tickets cost $15 and are valid for admission any one day of tournament week. Weekly general admission tickets cost $30 and are valid for admission all week, Tuesday through Sunday. Kids, ages 17 and under, will receive free general admission with a ticketed adult.

General admission parking passes are also available for $5 per day or $20 for the week (Tuesday through Sunday). Talon Club hospitality tickets are available for $125 daily, valid any one day Friday through Sunday, or $325 weekly, valid throughout championship play Friday through Sunday. Talon Club hospitality tickets include on-site VIP parking, appetizers, beer and wine.

For additional information on the Chubb Classic or volunteer opportunities, go to ChubbClassic.com or call the tournament office at (238) 593-3900.

Addison Klonowski: The Naples junior golfer finished third in the 11 & Under Division of the 69th Donald Ross Junior Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Nixon, Ross receive advanced certification: Jeff Nixon and Joshua Ross of Stoneybrook Golf Club in Estero have completed the requirements to achieve advanced certification through the PGA Certified Professional Program 2.0 (CPP 2.0), an achievement that is aimed at further enhancing the skillset of PGA professionals and advancing career opportunities.

Serving as the PGA’s enhanced, all-digital training and education curriculum, PGA CPP 2.0 is a state-of-the-art platform that ensures that PGA members have the skills, competencies and training demanded by employers and customers throughout the golf industry.

PGA CPP 2.0 is an intuitive program available on PGA.org that offers certifications in Golf Operations, General Management, Player Development and Teaching & Coaching. Nixon received his advanced certification in Teaching & Coaching, while Ross received his in General Management.

Worthington Fore ALS: Worthington Country Club in Bonita Springs will have its third annual Worthington Fore ALS Fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 21.

This year’s event is in support of Madeline Kennedy, a Worthington resident diagnosed with ALS over four years ago. The golf and tennis day will culminate with a dinner, raffles, live and silent auctions. The previous two events have raised over $37,000 and $44,000, respectively.

Anyone wishing to support this effort may do so online at http://community.als.net/WorthingtonforeALS All proceeds will go directly to ALS Therapy Development Institute and be shared with Mass General Clinical Studies.