ATRA’s annual golf tournament is always a big hit with die-hard enthusiasts who look forward to strolling along the links in the dry Vegas climate. But this year, the tourney took place on Thursday morning instead of opening Expo.
Once again the tournament was organized by JDS Worldwide under the leadership of Joe De Santino. It began bright and early at 8AM on Thursday at the Angel Park’s Mountain Course, a beautiful backdrop for this early-morning event.
One of Joe’s goals for the tournament is for it to be more than just a “good walk, spoilt.” He believes in taking advantage of the program to make a statement on behalf of the industry… to help someone less fortunate. His choice? The Ronald McDonald House: a charitable arm of McDonalds that helps the families of children being treated for serious illnesses.
“As a two-time cancer survivor myself, I like to lend my support to anything having to do with helping people face this terrible disease,” says Joe.
“I did a Google search for charitable organizations in Las Vegas. Most of them help fight gambling or drug addiction. But when I came upon the Ronald McDonald House, there was no question where we needed to put our support.”
After paying all the expenses, including the greens fees and the bus ride to and from the course, there was about $500 left to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.
In addition, the 2nd and 3rd place teams donated their winnings, as did the Closest-to-the-Pin winner, for a total of about $1400 to the cause. A nice cap to an enjoyable event.
The tournament was held shotgun style: Each team began play from a different hole at 8AM, which helped speed things along. And they played scramble format: Everyone drives off the tee, but they play the rest of the hole from the best drive, once again saving time on the course.
The winning team, with a score of 59 — 12 strokes under par! — was the team of Noel and Jay Shingala, Manish Batra, and Kevin Blumenthal. They received a $500 prize. This was Manish’s second year in a row on the winning team.
Second place winners were Dennis Hansen, Kaare Hunt, Laurie Hunt, and Angie Fredick. In third place were John Sollazo, Frank Miller, Tracy Hicks, and Tracy Karvala. And the highest scorers of the day were Tim Ellay, Bill Fontazz, Tom Hardies, and Chad Lester.
Kaare Hunt had the longest drive, and Tracy Hicks hit the shot that landed closest to the pin. Both received prizes for their outstanding play.
But maybe the best part of the event was the opportunity to make new acquaintances and meet up with longtime friends that players hadn’t seen or spoken with since the previous year.
More than anything, that camaraderie is what Expo, and the golf tournament in particular, is all about. It’s an exercise in friendship and a true meeting of the minds for the best of the best in the transmission world.
According to GEARS Managing Editor Rodger Bland, it was a wonderful part of the nonstop event that was the 2018 Expo. “Joe did a terrific job of putting the golf tournament together under difficult circumstances. And his idea of coupling it with a charitable donation was inspired,” says Rodger.
Afterward, everyone got together at the patio area for lunch, followed by the “longest putt” contest then they loaded back into the bus to be carted back to Bally’s Hotel and Casino to join the rest of the Expo crowd. A marvelous start to a successful Expo event.