More than just golf
WORTHINGTON -- It was 3:17 p.m. Monday afternoon, and Katie Lesnar had been on the Worthington Country Club golf course for a little more than 21 hours.
WORTHINGTON - It was 3:17 p.m. Monday afternoon, and Katie Lesnar had been on the Worthington Country Club golf course for a little more than 21 hours.
Still, despite the steamy temperature outside, it was still full steam ahead. That description is also applicable to the All Day FORE Africa event, which took place for the sixth time Sunday and Monday and once again grew in size and scope.
“We’re both on our 147th hole,” said Lesnar, who was golfing with Worthington Country Club golf pro Cory Pelzel. She added that three others - Kyle Wendland, Ben Koepsell and Logan Ellenbecker - also planned to complete a full 24 hours of golf, meaning that a total of roughly 800 holes would be played by the quintet when all was said and done.
As temperatures continued to soar toward the 90-degree mark, Lesnar remarked that the first All Day FORE Africa event also had hot weather.
“It’s pretty toasty today,” she said. “But, in the middle of the night, it was perfect weather - especially if you like a little lightning storm in the distance.
“We had lights on carts and glow balls. … We also had glow sticks on the flags and in the cups, so it was easy to see.”
It was also easy to see that far more than golf was going on Monday at the country club, as performers from the Kay Williams Prunty Dance Academy strutted their stuff and local musicians took a stage in the evening. Also part of the event was an appearance by Mike Malaska, the 2011 Professional Golf Association teacher of the year, who offered pointers to anyone interested and also gave a golf exhibition. Malaska is a business partner with Tom Walsh in GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness, which purchased Worthington Country Club earlier this year.
“He (Walsh) knows how to make the corporate side of it work, and I know the golf side,” Malaska said of their GreatLIFE partnership. “Anything he does, I’m involved, too.
“I’ve done hundreds of charitable events over the years,” Malaska added, noting that he’s done so through his own organization, Malaska Golf, as well as through Taylor Made Golf. “This is kind of my life.”
When it comes to working with a student on a golf swing, Malaska employs a back-to-basics approach. Explaining that “there’s a lot of information out there that extremely confusing and not even necessary,” he said he teaches by helping his students to learn the most elementary skills.
“In music, if every time you play a C chord, you’re off, you’re not going to do very well,” Malaska said. “You need to learn that basic skill. When I show people how to improve their golf swing, I make sure to work with them so that they’re developing the basic skills they need to succeed.”
Malaska has worked with numerous successful professional golfers, including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Lehman, but said “it’s a different mindset” working on the professional tour.
“I want to help the average golfer play better and help instructors teach better,” he said. “This is much more for me.”
While Malaska was at the country club to teach golf, dance instructor Prunty was on hand to watch approximately 35 of her students perform numerous routines. She said she was excited to part of the annual event for the first time.
“For the last couple of years, we’ve said, ‘We need to get our dancers involved,’” Prunty said. “This year we started talking about it again, and a couple of weeks ago started putting everything together. I honestly had no idea this many people would want to dance; I thought I’d get four or five people.”
Before Prunty knew it, she went on, she had 17 different dance routines scheduled to be performed as part of All Day FORE Africa.
“Our dancers got fundraising packets, too ... that was the best part of it, and the performing was icing on the cake,” she said. “I think it’s an important lesson, to learn how to give back.”
Lesnar was hopeful that the giving would help attain a goal of $40,000 for the event. A mere $25, she pointed out, would feed a Rwandan child weekly for one year, and she was proud to see so many people contributing on Monday.
“It’s so incredible to see how all the different ways there are to show support this year,” she said. “All Day FORE Africa has always been about kids playing for kids, and kids using their talents to make a difference.
“This year, we decided to combine a bunch of different events into one day. It’s so cool to see everyone use their talents to support this cause.”