For many fed-related charities, golf’s on without the banquet

The 19th anniversary of 9/11 reminds us of how resilient Americans can be. The coronavirus pandemic has proved it again. Nearly every event has been affected in some way. Now, six months in, not everything occurs virtually.

For instance, charity golf tournaments. There’s usually a banquet of some sort afterwards. If the planners don’t allow enough time, banqueteers sometimes show up disheveled in their sweat-stained gold shirts to chow down and receive their prizes of golf balls or new apparel from the pro shop. This year, tournament holders are doing boxed meals and distancing measures.

In the federal market, golf tournaments are often fund raisers for good causes. For example, some chapters of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, AFCEA, use proceeds from golf tournaments to benefit their student scholarship programs. Other non-profits and dozens of contractors and federal credit unions also host golf tournaments for charities.

This year, many tournaments are proceeding without the sit-down-together luncheons and dinners because of the you-know-what. But they’re adapting.

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Here’s a case in point: This Monday’s annual golf tournament to benefit the Friends of Patients at the NIH, at the Manor Country Club in Rockville. This is the group’s main fundraiser. Like many organizations, Friends has increased demand for services this year but a tougher fundraising environment. It’s on rain or shine, but without the luncheon and speakers.

I mention this group because I support its mission. It was one of two recipients of money ($5,500) raised through a motorcycle ride I organized in June. The other recipient was the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund, which relies in part on a 5K run/walk each year, and also affected by the pandemic.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance rescheduled its Mutual Assistance invitational golf tournament from May to November in Myrtle Beach. The Coast Guard notes, “Arrangements have been made to ensure proper social distancing, including assigned tee times and dining facilities set up to maximize social distancing and minimize interaction amongst unassociated participants.” Besides that British “amongst,” it does sound a little sad for an inherently social event.

Anyhow, charitable organizations need support for their events. I’m not a golfer so I find other ways. But a lot of events postponed from spring and summer are happening in modified form this fall. 9/11 didn’t keep us down, neither should the coronavirus. We should all try to get a mask on and go.