Golfers brave the heat during Monroe Chamber’s annual tournament

A golfer attempts a putt during the Monroe Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament at Whitney Farms Golf Course Tuesday.

MONROE, CT — Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni and Treasurer Janice Butler emptied ice buckets into the beverage cart Tuesday morning, while registration for the nonprofit’s annual golf tournament took place in an open bay at Whitney Farm’s Golf Club. It was a day when 72 golfers participated in the sweltering heat.

Giovanni praised fellow Chamber members for their cooperation and teamwork to make their organization’s main fundraiser a success.

“It speaks to their professionalism and commitment to the greater good of our town,” he said. “This is how we raise funds for scholarships for our Masuk High School seniors, so when they leave us, they can go to their next learning opportunity and brag that their town supports them fully.”

Every year, the Monroe Chamber of Commerce awards $1,500 scholarships to two deserving students. “We try to fund students with financial concerns,” Giovanni said, recalling an instance years ago, when a student whose family faced foreclosure of their home received a scholarship.

Town Councilman Sean O’Rourke, left, with, from left, First Selectman Terry Rooney, James Weinberg, Monroe Chamber President Ray Giovanni and Monroe Chamber Ambassador Lee Hossler.

“We’ll probably make $12,000 profit this year,” he said. “We also use it to sponsor community events, like ‘lunch and learns’ where we provide the food. And we pay for the ‘welcome to Monroe’ signs and support town causes, including Project Warmth and the Monroe Food Pantry.”

Among Tuesday’s golfers was Jim Weinberg, managing director of Clarksons Platou, the event’s title sponsor.

Giovanni expressed his gratitude to Clarksons Platou, a global shipping company, which often brings around 30 employees to golf, many from different countries such as Australia and Saudi Arabia.

“It adds an interesting dynamic to our event,” Giovanni said.

Unfortunately, he said a contingent of 10 players from Houston could not fly out Monday, because Hurricane Beryl canceled their travel plans, according to Giovanni.

Aside from rounds of golf, the tournament also offered players and foursomes hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch inside the clubhouse, cold refreshments from the beverage cart, dinner, raffle prizes and awards.

Monroe Chamber board member, Previn Patel, left, with Vice President Jan Snyder.

Giovanni said the Chamber enjoyed strong support from its sponsors. “All of our sponsorships were taken,” he said. “Everybody opted in.”

Among the other sponsors, Union Savings Bank sponsored the refreshment cart, Spadaccino and Leo P. Gallagher and Son Community Funeral Home sponsored the dinner, Newtown Savings Bank was the golf carts sponsor, Jensen Tire & Auto Marine sponsored the lunch, and Golf Oasis sponsored the Hole-In-One prize of $10,000.

Just after 11 a.m. players seated in the rows of golf carts were eager for the shotgun start to get the annual tournament underway. Bill Street, the club’s golf pro, held a microphone while going over the rules. He encouraged everyone to hydrate and stay in the shade whenever possible.

Giovanni and First Selectman Terry Rooney also took turns pumping up the golfers before they headed off to the greens.

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