Many high school teams couldn’t afford to play without financial help

Published in the June 8 – 21, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Marty Cheek

Photo courtesy CordeValle Evergreen High School girls golf team.

Photo courtesy CordeValle
Evergreen High School girls golf team.

With the U.S. Women’s Open championship coming to the South Valley starting July 4, the eyes of the sports world will be on the South Valley region and the exquisite CordeValle resort golf course in the west foothills of San Martin. The extensive media coverage expected for that week should let the world learn that the CordeValle Youth Golf Foundation promotes the game to various students throughout the Bay Area who might not be able to participate due to financial ability.

“We’re trying to grow the game of golf,” said Ray Otis, head golf professional at CordeValle who is involved in organizing fundraising golf tournaments for the foundation. “As a golf professional, that’s kind of our number one concern. The more people we get involved, the more people will be playing, hopefully for the rest of their lives.”

One of the key focuses of the foundation is to help underserved young people in the Bay Area discover the pleasure of a day out on the greens. Many local high schools have clubs and teams for students who want to play golf. Often, however, they don’t have the funds to help young people whose families can’t afford the expenses of the game.

“Not everyone from all these high school teams would have the opportunity to play golf without the foundation’s help,” Otis said. “We hear from people every year that without this opportunity, they wouldn’t be able to play golf. It’s just a good thing we’re trying to do and help out people learn the sport.”

At the end of 2015, the CordeValle Youth Golf Foundation, CordeValle Resort’s nonprofit organization dedicated to youth of all income levels, donated $100,000 to junior golf programs at high schools and local youth organizations throughout Santa Clara County. From Milpitas High School to Gilroy High School, more than 40 local schools and golf organizations received funding to support and promote boys and girls golf programs. Live Oak and Sobrato high schools in Morgan Hill received funding for its youth golf programs for students.

Photo courtesy CordeValle Independence High School girls golf team.

Photo courtesy CordeValle
Independence High School girls golf team.

“The CordeValle Youth Golf Foundation is committed to expanding opportunities for youth of all income levels to have access to the sport of golf,” said CordeValle President Luca Rutigliano. “Through the discipline and challenge of golf, we provide youth in the community with a safe environment and a positive life alternative that builds confidence and character, ultimately helping them succeed in our community and in life. Each year we receive dozens of applications from local programs, we are thrilled to see the sport of golf grow and do our best to support as many of the organized programs as possible throughout Santa Clara County.”

To be eligible for the funding, each high school or nonprofit organization must spend no more than 15 percent of its total budget on administrative and overhead costs. Administrative and overhead costs include salaries and insurance costs. All applications are reviewed and must meet the minimum requirements to be considered for a grant, Otis said.

The foundation was started in 2004 and works with the CordeValle resort to directly support successful youth golf programs throughout the Santa Clara County. The foundation is funded through a $50,000 annual contribution from CordeValle Golf Club and raises an additional $50,000 per year through CordeValle’s public charity tournaments. It makes these charity funds for grants by sponsoring about six tournaments throughout the year — usually two in spring, two in summer and two in fall. Participants in the tournament pay $150 to play CordeValle’s course and this includes golf fees and cart fee. A lunch is held to start off the tournament and awards and prizes are given out at the end of the event.

“We just wanted to give people the opportunity to come and play CordeValle who weren’t otherwise staying on our property or were one of our members,” Otis said. “It’s a beautiful place. The gist of it is to get people out here to play golf, and the proceeds from that go to support school golf organizations in Santa Clara County. It helps people do good for the community.”

The majority of people who participate in the fundraising tournaments are local golfers from the Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister area, but a few people from up in the Bay Area including from the Peninsula and the East Bay also come down for a day on the green.

“I think some people have figured out that when they have some friends in town, it’s a great opportunity for them to play the course,” Otis said.
CordeValle will host the 71st U.S. Women’s Open Championship, July 4 to 10. The U.S. Women’s Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association. It will bring a field of the world’s best professional and amateur female golfers to CordeValle. It will also provide the chance for Bay Area young people to get up close and maybe even meet some of the players.

There are opportunities for the young people to volunteer doing various activities at the championship and get up close to the professional players who might inspire them with a passion for the game. Juniors 17 and young will also be able to get into the championship for free with a paying adult.

“We want the game of golf to grow and give the opportunity to more young people to play golf,” Otis said. “All those families with children who are looking for the chance to see the best players in the world, this is an opportunity to do that.”


What: 2016 U.S. Women’s Open
When: July 4 to 10
Where: CordeValle Golf Resort, San Martin