Posted on 20 June 2012 by Keith Lacey
Lee Sapach and Drew Bolokoski are going to play more golf in 16 hours than many amateur golfers play in an entire summer – but it’s all for a great cause.
On Tuesday, July 3, Sapach, the former head professional at the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club, and current general manager, and Bolokoski, who was promoted to the head professional position a few months ago, will team up to play as many holes of golf as possible to raise funds and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Last year, the dynamic duo finished an incredible 276 holes of golf between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. and they hope to top that mark on July 3.
“I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been that tired in my life,” said Sapach. “Every muscle in your body aches, but it’s all for a great cause, so it’s a great thing to be part of.”
Bolokoski, who will be taking part in the event for the fourth time, agrees.
“You can’t stop the whole day or your body will just seize up and you wouldn’t be able to get back out there,” he said smiling. “You play seven or eight rounds of golf and realize it’s only noon and you still have nine hours to go.
“We usually start off pretty quick, but we certainly slow down quite a bit in the afternoon and into the evening. But to complete 276 holes of golf in one day is pretty amazing and it’s a fun thing to be a part of once a year.”
Last year, dozens of golf professionals from across the province volunteered their time for this fundraiser and helped raise almost $100,000 during the PGABC Golfathon for ALS.
ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects a person’s motor neurons that carry messages to the muscles, resulting in weakness and wasting in arms, legs, mouth, throat and other parts of the body. Typically, the person is immobilized and dies within two-to-five years of being diagnosed.
It’s a long day, but one to remember because there is so much support from fellow members and the fact you know you’re helping raise money for a very worthwhile cause, said Sapach.
“It’s amazing to be out on the course around 5 a.m. and watch the sun rise over Anarchist Mountain,” he said. “The first few hours are no problem at all, but it certainly gets harder on the body as the day moves on.
“Last year, I was exhausted and had blisters all over my feet and was sore all over, but I took the next day off work and I was fine. The year before, I tried coming in to work the following day and I could barely function. I won’t be making that mistake again.”
There’s tremendous support from staff and members during the event, said Bolokoski.
“We have volunteers on the course letting the golfers know that we’re coming through and everyone gets into the spirit of things and wishes us good luck,” he said. “A lot of the members and staff throw in a few dollars to help the cause, so it’s a really nice thing to be a part of.”
Last year, Sapach and Bolokoski raised over $2,000 in pledges and donations.
They expect to quadruple that total to more than $8,000 this year as Sapach’s wife Jolly Gill, and Alana Egli, who works in the pro shop, have approached numerous local businesses asking for support, with great results, he said.
“To go from $2,000 last year to more than $8,000 this year is just awesome,” he said. “Jolly and Alana worked really hard and the amount of support they received from the local business community was impressive.”
Even though they are both golf professionals, this event isn’t about posting a good score, but simply about achieving the mission of playing as many holes of golf as humanly possible to raise as much money as they can as a lot of the money raised is based on pledges for numbers of holes completed, said Sapach.
“We would normally worry about our score every time we get on the course, but this event is all about survival and getting in as many holes as we can,” said Sapach. “We managed to finish 276 last year and I don’t know if we can do that again, but we’re sure going to try.”
A 50/50 draw will also be held at the course on July 3 with half the money going to the cause and the other half going to the lucky ticket holder.
Members of the PGABC are proud of the significant amount of money they have raised during this event over the past several years and he hopes to keep taking part for many years to come, said Sapach.
“Lee and I are good friends and that helps a lot,” he said. “It’s a very long day on the golf course and you want to spend that time enjoying yourself and we do. Despite the sore feet and exhaustion, it’s a really fun event to be part of.”
Wendy Toyer, executive director of the ALA Society of B.C., said the support of the PGABC and its members is much appreciated.
“When someone faces the most frightening diagnosis imaginable, it means so much to know there is hope and they are not alone,” she said. “I am constantly struck by the courage and tenacity of those we serve. They want to keep going, they want to help others, they want to contribute and they want to stay active.
“People living with ALS can do all of that if they have the right support. We must redouble our efforts across Canada to enhance our research effort and expedite investigations we know can bear fruit within years if not months. We now know that for many ALS patients living today, real breakthroughs can take place in their lifetime. Now more than ever, we need your help.”
Anyone wishing to help the cause can donate by going online at www.golfathonforals.ca or make a donation at the pro shop at the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club.