Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

How quickly the seasons turn — it feels like it was just yesterday when I was dealing with this last year.

No, I'm not talking about the back-to-school rush, although those kids sure grow up fast, don't they?

I'm not talking about the fall weather either — wait a few days and it will feel like summer all over again with the annual September heat wave.

No, I'm talking about the charity golf tournament season.

I'm not sure exactly when using a golf tournament to raise money for a cause started — certainly before I ever attempted to hit that little white ball. I suspect the pro circuit decided to benefit some charity, then development directors everywhere decided they could do that too, and get golfers to like them at the same time.

Long Beach is blessed with year-round golf weather, several golf courses more than capable of hosting events — and literally hundreds of charities. So there really are charity golf tournaments pretty much all the time.

The exception, at least mostly, is the summer. That's when golf courses don't have any trouble attracting golfers, and are loathe to give up a day for a tournament. (Some have figured out how to host two tournaments in one day, but that's a different column.)

So there is a bit of a bump when the kids go back to school.

Golf tournaments invariably take place on a school (work) day — those golf course managers aren't giving up a weekend. The most common tournament days are Monday and Thursday. I get lucky once in a while and there's a Friday tournament that I can actually play in without taking a vacation day.

In the next two weeks, I'll play in two tournaments — one tomorrow to support the Long Beach Salvation Army, and the other Sept. 27, when I have a spot in the Chamber of Commerce's Shaun R. Lumachi Memorial Tournament. That one, which raises money for scholarships, is on a Thursday, but I've been playing in it for 20 years or so, and I'll work the schedule around.

I've been trying to promote the Salvation Army tourney for a few weeks now, but I think there still are a few spots available. I wouldn't be surprised if, when someone showed up around noon Friday at Lakewood Country Club, they'd be able to join the tournament.

And now I've got two tournaments to promote in October.

The first is the Luke Tatsu Johnson Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday, Oct. 12, at Recreation Park Golf Course. This is the second annual for this tournament. Luke was a Wilson High School student and golfer who lost a battle with leukemia a couple of years ago.

His parents thought a golf tournament, raising money for Wilson golf scholarships and research into childhood cancers, would be a good way to remember their son. I couldn't agree more, and I'm still trying to find a way to play. You can sign up at luketatsujohnsonfoundation.org.

The other October tourney is on Oct. 29 at Old Ranch Country Club. I got roped into this one when Shirley Wild talked me into joining the Men's Alliance of the Steel Magnolias, which raises money for the Stramski Center. That's a clinic at Miller Children's treating challenged children.

This one's a Monday, so I won't be there, but you can play by registering at www.rrgt.org.

Notice the children theme? I, and apparently a lot of others, am a sucker for benefits helping children. Hard to beat — a day away from the office, chasing a little white ball, all for a good cause.

I hope you partake. Thanks.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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