Golf is currently off the table during the latest lockdown in Ontario, but organizers of the 29th annual Betty Thompson Golf Classic – Golfing for Women’s Health event hope to have the all-clear ahead of the May 27 outing.
Golfing proved to a be popular pastime last year as the pandemic set in, allowing people to get outdoors. The current prohibition is expected to be short-lived, which is good news for the Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo. The group hosts the longest running all-female golf tournament in support of women’s health, which is set to return after taking 2020 off because of the pandemic.
Because of COVID-19, the club has moved the event to Merry-Hill Golf Club in Breslau.
Valerie Meyer, co-chair of the Betty Thompson Golf Committee, says there are also changes to the event from years prior in order to facilitate safety protocols and social distancing.
“We had to cancel it (last year’s event) like six weeks before because of COVID-19. And by that time, we had already received a lot of sponsorship money from different businesses, so we went back to them and we asked them if they would like the money to come back to them, or would they like us to still continue to do what we were doing. One hundred per cent of the money that we raise goes towards women’s health programs in Waterloo Region, so it all stays here, and they all agreed to let us keep the money and do what we wanted to do. So, we raised over $23,000 last year,” said Meyer of the club’s reason for continuing the event this year.
“Even though golf courses are closed right now, we’re pretty confident they’re going to open up again on May 20, because all the epidemiologists and the scientists don’t believe that they should be closed because it is a very safe, outdoor activity. So, our event will be held May 27.
“We had to cancel it last year, and up until that time we always had your typical tournament event which was 18 holes of golf, a shotgun start, sit-down dinner and a silent auction. You can’t do that anymore, so now it’s a new look and new format. We’ve moved over to Merry-Hill Golf Course, and now it’s nine holes of golf with set tee times… for the morning and the afternoon. So, that includes for nine holes of golf, a cart and they get to take away a box lunch for $85,” Meyer added.
Started first to honour, then memorialize, Betty Thompson – a long-time local broadcaster and founding member of Zonta KW who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 – The event has raised more than $1 million to date and the club already has their sights set on doubling that amount. The group hopes to raise around $35,000 from this event.
Meyer says the group has limited the number of registrants allowed to take part to 100. As of right now, there are just about 20 spots left to register for the event.
Donations can also be made to the event for those who do not wish to golf.