Though the summer is still young, preparations are underway for this year’s Laurie Bell Memorial Jet Open Charity Golf Tournament.
Newman University Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Maureen Rohleder provided some background on the event.
“Jet Open is an annual golf tournament to raise money for athletic scholarships and funding. It started 36 years ago and has been at several courses, but most of them have been at Rolling Hills Country Club, which is where this year’s Jet Open will be.”
The tournament itself is team-based with incentives promised to the winners, making for a fun day on the green.
“Teams are assigned a hole to start out at,” Rohleder explained, “and all teams are spread around the course so they finish around the same time. They play 18 holes with lunch included. There are prizes for several categories like the longest drive and closest to the pin. Awards are given to the top three teams in each flight.”
The golf tournament will take place Monday, Aug. 3, with one tee time beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the other at 12:30 p.m.
This year’s expected turnout is already building in numbers. Rohleder stated that “currently we have about a dozen (teams) signed up, but we have always been able to get 40-50 teams overall each year.”
Beyond the steadily rising number of teams, Newman athletics already has over a dozen sponsors, some of which include Dondlinger Construction, BG Products, Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Doonan Truck, Screw Machine, Midwest Single Source, Mommy’s Helper, South Central Sealing, Simpson Construction and others.
Continuing on the topic of fundraising, Rohleder said that Newman athletics always “shoots for the $100,000 mark.” Fundraisers are as helpful as ever today, as the athletics program is in need of a new baseball scoreboard, field upgrades, new technology and athletic scholarships.
Rohleder shared that there are always a few things throughout the event that she enjoys especially well.
“I’m looking forward to being back at Rolling Hills after two years at Crestview Country Club. I’m also excited about the changes in the kickoff party on Sunday evening, Aug. 2, which will be held in Fugate Gymnasium this year. We have added games and contests and a more family fun atmosphere along with the traditional silent and live auction.”
Regarding COVID-19, Rohleder is confident the event will see minimum changes, even with some minor precautions.
“Nothing on the course (will change) but lunch may be served in ‘to go’ containers and tables (will be) spread out more. At the Sunday party, the gym will help with the physical distancing and we may also have food served differently than the usual buffet style.”
As her closing remarks, Rohleder reinforced the importance of the Jet Open in addition to the delightful nature of its festivities.
“It takes the entire department and the Jet Open committee to pull this off each year, as well as volunteer help from student-athletes. It is well-loved by the attendees and we are hoping that the pandemic will not slow down this year’s goals for Newman athletics.”