March 06, 2007 -- MARK REINHILLER REDLANDS -
Dave Stockton did not need an airplane or another form of mass transit to reach
his golf date Monday. Instead, he easily could have strapped his clubs to the
back of a golf cart from his home and whisked himself the length of a long,
par-5 to his destination at Redlands Country Club.
The Champions Tour veteran, along with sons Dave and Ron and a few of his fellow professionals, served as host for the sixth annual Unforgettables Charity Golf Classic, held at the storied private course. The Inland Empire foundation works to provide low-income families the means to afford a dignified funeral for their children.
Some 128 golfers and sponsors took part in the event. Along with a round of golf, Stockton and his friends also conducted a skills clinic.
Stockton and sons, along with fellow Champions Tour members Don Pooley, a Riverside native; Helendale resident Mark Johnson; Morris Hatalsky and Troy Martin - a former pro who caddies for long-time professional D.A. Weibring - took part. All four tour players will participate in this week's Toshiba Classic, a tour event held at Newport Beach Country Club.
That Hatalsky, who replaced an ailing Gary McCord, arrived in Southern California a day earlier to help out
Stockton and the foundation speaks highly of the pros' camaraderie.
"We all help each other out at events throughout the country," Stockton said. "For Morris to come out a day ahead of his schedule and support what we're doing for the charity is pretty special. These guys do it on their time."
Lessons in wedge, iron, hybrid and driver were displayed during the clinic, but Stockton left those in attendance with parting words of "owning a sense of humor, self talk and not blaming yourself if you miss a shot" when playing.
"It's the one sport that everyone can play," said Stockton, who helped out one group with a 40-foot putt for birdie on the par-3, No. 5. "And I love the scramble format. People are going to miss shots, but you can still end up winning. Everyone has a good time and we all help out a worthwhile charity."
During this year's event, the charity will surpass the $500,000 all-time mark , including Sunday's silent auction. According to Karen Wilson, executive director for the foundation, the tournament is one of four annual events - a fall gala, a New Year's Eve walk in Loma Linda, and a wine event in Temecula in May to draw awareness and raise funds.
"We're just so fortunate to have Dave and his friends play and help," Wilson said. "To spend their time and efforts with us goes a long ways to help and support our mission."