BRAWLEY — Golfers began with a scramble Saturday morning to play at the 5th annual Imperial Valley Community Foundation golf tournament at Del Rio Country Club in Brawley.
Robert “Bobby” Brock is president and CEO of the Imperial Valley Community Foundation. “We have about 100 folks on the course today enjoying themselves and having a good time. The weather couldn’t be any better,” Brock said. Temperatures registered in the lower 70s.
“We are very fortunate to have the support of our sponsors and donors to help make this a success,” Brock said. Sponsors’ names on signs were visible at strategic locations around the 18-hole golf course at Del Rio Country Club.
According to its brochure, IVCF encourages, supports and facilitates philanthropy. “IVFC helps donors and their families focus and direct their charitable giving to make the greatest impact on the causes closest to their hearts. The community foundation is a useful resource and liaison for donors and nonprofit organizations,” the brochure read.
“Our hope is to gain awareness and offer some marketing to help people understand that the community foundation is out here to support the community,” said Brock.
For Clifford Caldwell, director of the Foundation, the tournament was to encourage people to get outdoors, enjoy golf and see what the foundation does. According to Caldwell, he has played golf for many years, but he was not playing Saturday. Instead, his duties included manning the putting and chipping tournaments located next to hole number one — a mere few steps from the dining hall, bar, store and office.
“Golf is an enjoyable game. It is just fun to put on a tournament and watch people enjoy themselves and get out here, because people don’t socialize as much as they used to. It is nice to just to see them get out and actually talk to each other and enjoy,” Caldwell said.
Although there were seasoned golfers in the tournament, a few were novices. For Caesar Garcia, a resident of El Centro, this was his first time to be on the tee box, fairway and the greens.
“Today is my first day out here, golfing. A lot of family and friends played golf, but I thought I’d give it a chance today supporting the foundation that Bobby Brock put together,” Garcia said. His friends were helping him with the nuances of the game.
“Every swing is pretty much my first swing. So I’m learning to use the clubs and which ones to use for what kind of shots. It’s all brand new to me today,” he said.
Cory Illiott is a seasoned golfer and a resident of Imperial and Kona, Hawaii. “We are five under right now. Five under par. We’re doing really well,” Illiott said. “Surprisingly enough, its been so hot here and I haven’t played golf in three months and I have an unbelievable round.”
Illiott said he’s played golf since he was in high school. Four years ago, he retired from his career as a commercial refrigeration contractor, and continued playing golf and fishing during his spare time. Today, he owns a catfish farm called Imperial Catfish located between El Centro and Holtville.
“I’m having a great time and hopefully, we win. Retirement is awesome. I love it. Nothing but golf and fishing,” Illiott said.
“I’m grateful for all the support for this event. This is our biggest event yet, five years running,” Brock said of the foundation’s tournament.