By Dalton Ray —
The 21st Annual Sports Administration Golf Scramble wasn’t expected to battle the snow, but the event went without skipping a beat. The fundraising golf tournament is organized and executed by SPAD students in the event management class taught by Dr. Chris Greenwell.
This is Greenwell’s 18th scramble and he said they’re never the same.
“Every year there are different challenges, this year it’s cold. Some years it’s sunny. Some years we have great support from the business community, some years we have to work for it,” Greenwell said.
This event allows students to get hands-on experience of event management.
“A lot of people think the class is about golf, it’s not. It’s about planning, organizing, communicating, working with people and in teams,” Greenwell said. “Hopefully they’ll be able to walk away with this and whether it’s a rugby tournament or taekwondo event, they can say, ‘I’ve got the skills and experiences to take this on.'”
The event raises money for the SPAD department as well as local charities. This year’s portion of the profits are going to Blessings in a Backpack, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Blessings in a Backpack currently feeds over 87,000 children in nearly 1,110 schools across the country.
Held at the University of Louisville Golf Club, the event had 21 teams this year. Local sponsors pitched in, including UPS, Chick-Fil-A and others.
Comedy Caravan sponsored the Heckling Hole where comedian Alex Reymundo interacted with participants and promoted his NumberJuan Tequila.
The class of 25 students is broken up into 10 committees with certain individuals selected into chair positions. The class is considered as the staff running the event.
SPAD graduate student Monica McConnaughey is one of the co-directors for this year’s scramble. Some of her responsibilities included making sure each group was staying on task and motivating groups throughout the semester. The learning curve is one adjustments for the group.
“For a lot of people in the class, this is the first event they’ve ever been apart of planning so learning that process. Also all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes,” McConnaughey said.
The never-consistent Kentucky weather kept the group on their toes.
“It was 80 degrees last week and it’s 35 and snowing today, so that’s been stressful in the past week. Checking the weather everyday making sure if we had to reschedule that we’re communicating that to our golfers,” McConnaughey said.
The weather didn’t play in the favor of the students, but that didn’t halt the event.
When golfers arrived into the golf club, they were greeted by the students and directed to the registration table. After signing in, the golfers could check out the gift shop to grab U of L golf gear, eat a complimentary breakfast or bid on the silent auctions items.
Auction items included signed memorabilia from pro football and baseball players, a vacation package to a golf resort in South Carolina, a gift basket from Herradura Tequila, specialized bats donated from the Louisville Slugger Museum and much more.
SPAD graduate student Trevor Carroll was apart of committee in charge of putting together the auction items. He said gathering the items was a team effort.
“It was a three-person committee and we drafted a letter talking about what we were doing for this event,” Carroll said. “We also talked about what it was going to — working with Blessings in a Backpack, contributing to the scholarship fund for the sports administration department. It’s a good cause … we just went to different businesses and asked for support.”
Tee-time started at 11 a.m. and golfers zipped off on to the course after a quick rundown of the rules just outside of the club. Teams battled through the snow and unforgiving wind.
Chick-Fil-A catered lunch at 1:45 pm. as teams reentered the clubhouse to thaw out and enjoy the free meal. The silence auction began soon after.
Senior SPAD student Aspin Gray was apart of the registration team. She said the group sent out about 200 emails to potential participants and sponsors. Selling the idea to come and play was the biggest challenge on her end.
“For the people, it was letting them know it’s worth their money. We did up the price this year and even though it is blizzarding outside, it’s definitely worth their money and we’ll have a good time,” Gray said.
The most exciting part of the scramble for Gray was the turnout.
“We were really surprised only two teams didn’t show up. We had a really good turnout this year,” Gray said.
The weather created less-than desirable playing situations, but the event went along smoothly with no bumps along the way.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal