The 49th annual Frontier Toyota Drive Safe Golf Classic raised more than $200,000 for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s emergency department on Monday.
The clear and sunny skies above The Oaks Club golf course in Valencia provided a perfect environment not just for the golf tournament, but for the event’s biggest spectacle — the helicopter ball drop.
Participants in the tournament were able to purchase golf balls for $20 each, which were then dropped from a helicopter that hovered at about 60 to 100 feet above one of the course’s holes. The balls were numbered, one through 1,800, and dropped onto the green.
Two balls made it into the hole, but officials at the event said that’s not how the $50,000 prize is won. An insurance company called Odds On Promotion randomly selects a series of numbers and if one of the selected numbers are within the closest 10 balls to the hole, then the prize money is awarded. There were no winners of the grand prize, with the largest prize given out being $2,000.
The point of the event, however, was to raise money for Henry Mayo emergency services and it did just that.
Dr. Bud Lawrence, medical director of Henry Mayo’s emergency department and co-chair of the golf tournament, said the funds make a true measurable difference in how they provide care.
“So really, what we have is we have philanthropic community members who are donating to such a great cause to help protect the community,” said Lawrence, “so that we can provide the absolute best care possible, which…is awesome.”
The tournament is set to mark its 50th year next year, and title sponsor Frontier Toyota has supported the event for the past 26 editions.
Lawrence said every golfer he spoke to had an amazing time and that this was one of the marquee events for golf in the Santa Clarita Valley.
One of those golfers, Amy Grant, was part of the 36 teams of four this year. As she spoke at the tournament’s reception at the clubhouse, she said her team played as best as they could and that everyone did their part.
“So, I’ve been volunteering for this event for over 30 years and playing on a team… with my colleagues and it’s one of the best days of our year,” said Grant. “We have so much fun, we’re so fortunate.”
Grant was later awarded with the straightest shot at the 18th hole and her team won second place with a score of 57.
Another golfer, Todd Stevens, said although playing golf is always fun, playing for a charity makes it even more enjoyable.
“It makes it even more fun because you have a team, you played together, and you all know it’s for charity,” said Stevens. “You’re trying to ultimately enhance and make better of things. It’s not like you’re being selfish, playing golf [for] yourself, you know, out on a weekend…this is just more fun, because you know it’s going to a good cause.”
Stevens and his team ended up taking first place in the tournament with a score of 55.