Fundraiser concludes with golf tournament, auction


Ronald McDonald holds the flag aside while Tina Mullen putts on her team's first hole in the Ronald McDonald House Auction and Golf Tournament Saturday morning.

HEATHER RIGGS/Special to The Sun
Published: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 10:44 p.m.

The Ronald McDonald House of Gainesville concluded its 13th annual Golf Tournament and Auction Saturday to help provide for families with critically ill children being treated in the area's medical facilities.

Both the auction and tournament were sold out early, as this is the signature event for the Ronald McDonald House and one of the biggest golf tournaments in Gainesville, said Shannon McLain, public relations and marketing coordinator for the event.

Two-thirds of the budget for the Ronald McDonald House results from this event each year, McLain said. Proceeds come from registration fees, team sponsors and donations. Last year, the tournament raised $212,000, and there are hopes that this year's proceeds will exceed that amount.

Professional golfers from North and Central Florida's PGA and LPGA volunteered for the first time at the tournament, which took place at the Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club.

Approximately 60 teams of two to four players, each accompanied by a professional, participated in a game of scramble-styled golf, where players hit from the same spot using the best shot to move throughout the game. "It was a great cause to come out here and enjoy a day," said Ernie Hanewinckle, a PGA head golf professional from Dunnellon.

The Ronald McDonald House, located in Gainesville on SW 16th Avenue, within blocks of Shands at the University of Florida, provides a home away from home for approximately 1,000 families per year - to date helping about 27,000 families as their children are treated at Shands and by other local physicians and heath-care providers.

The players realize the importance of the house when they come out to participate in events like this, said McLain, who said she often hears comments from people about the success of the tournament and its cause. It's an event that is fun for all, but it always pulls the heart strings a bit, she said.

For more information on the Ronald McDonald House or for ways to help, call 352-374-4404 or e-mail info@rmhgainesville.org.

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