As people all over Ridgefield begin their spring cleanups and manicure their lawns, it reminds us all of one thing: golf.
And for those who love to play golf, there are plenty of upcoming opportunities to enjoy the sport while also supporting one of Ridgefield's nonprofit organizations.
Over the next month, the idyllic rolling hills and tree-lined fairways of the Ridgefield Golf Course will be the site of three charity events: the Boys and Girls Club's annual Golf Outing on Wednesday, April 28, Ridgefield ABC's annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser on Wednesday, May 5 (rain date is Wednesday, May 12) and the Ridgefield Lions Club's annual Golf Tournament on Wednesday, May 19 (rain date is Wednesday, May 26).
According to Director of Golf Frank Sergiovanni, the town golf course hosts about 12 to 14 charity events per year, with eight planned for this spring and six in the fall.
"It is a municipal course owned by the taxpayers, so we limit our functions to resident-sponsored civic events," he said.
Not to inconvenience the regular players, the golf course, like most courses, does not hold any events on weekends or during peak season, which is July and August.
For the Boys and Girls Club, this is their oldest and second largest fundraising event, second only to the annual fall Gala, according to Boys and Girls Club event co-chair Jason Landon.
Though the number of participants last year fell to 80 from a typical 100, Landon hopes to get at least 80 again this year and notes that "a lot of great businesses have stepped up." They have locked in Diageo as the title sponsor this year, as many Diageo executives live in Ridgefield.
"All of the money goes to the operating budget to support our programs and activities," Landon said.
Some of the kids who are members of the Boys and Girls Club get involved in the fundraiser by helping to stuff envelopes with letters to send to local businesses.
One week after the B&G Club event, ABC will host its tournament, which benefits the students involved in the ABC program, according to Board of Directors member Jerome Walters.
"We use the money for the girls for tutoring, extracurricular activities, weekend cultural activities, college visits for junior and seniors," he said.
Founded in 1987, the Ridgefield chapter of ABC hosts the annual golf tournament and two other popular events, the Winter Gala and the Jazz Festival.
Though two years ago the number of participants fell to 80, last year they had 106 and hope to have a number somewhere in that range, according to Walters.
GE Capital has been the title sponsor for the last three years and the Ludwig family will sponsor the post-tournament dinner at the Wicklo Maple Hill Farm property in town.
The Lions Club annual golf event, in its 15th year, is another long-standing Ridgefield tradition.
"The money is raised locally and used locally," event co-chair Gary Smith said.
The event typically raises $10,000 to $15,000 per year, according to Smith, and all that money goes back into the community.
Some of the programs that the money supports are for people who have sight impairment or disabilities—the Lions use the money for glasses, eye exams, donations to an eye research center at Yale University or scholarships for sight-impaired people.
Local businesses can offer varying levels of sponsorship, including sponsoring a team, a hole or a cart.
The Lions Club event also typically has about 100 participants per year, Smith said.
All of the events have a light-hearted spirit with an upbeat vibe, according to Sergiovanni, who also hopes to see good turnouts for all of them.