By all accounts, the 31st Annual Lorain County Community College (LCCC) Jack Nicklaus Scholarship Benefit at Elyria Country Club was a rousing success, with 137 golfers taking to the links to raise money for prospective college students.
“We don’t have all of the financials in as of yet, but it was a full field. We were totally sold out,” says Don Knechtges, who co-chaired the event with Kent Hageman, managing director and part-owner of the Hageman Masters Group of Morgan Stanley, and Todd Sommer of Sommer’s Mobile Leasing.
It’s the only golf benefit in the nation to carry the legendary Jack Nicklaus name. It has played host to PGA greats such as Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Mark Calcavecchia, among many others.
This year’s event was a homecoming of sorts for Robert J. Bourne, a graduate of Oberlin High School, former Ohio Amateur Champion and a PGA Master Professional. Since 1996, he has been the director of instruction at StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights.
“Bob is recognized as one of the most highly regarded instructors in our area and the country, and we were happy he was able to return home to Lorain County and join us to make this event special for our participants,” says Tracy Green, LCCC vice president for strategic and institutional development.
As in years past, PGA professional and television personality Jimmy Hanlin helped with the scholarship fund event.
“Bob Bourne is one of the best teaching professionals in the country,” says Hanlin. “So, we had select golfers come in early and videotaped their swing. Bob then offered a voiceover with a critique of their swing. People just loved it. They could take the video home and play it six months from now when they get back out on the course.”
Hanlin, who plays a perennial role with the event, set up on a par 3 and hit shots with the linksters.
“If I got a better shot, they could use it,” Hanlin says. “But if they got a better shot, they got a certificate showing that
they had kicked my rear at the event.”
While it was all fun at the event, the LCCC Jack Nicklaus Scholarship Benefit plays a very important role for the college and the LCCC Foundation.
“This event is the foundation’s largest fundraiser, and we appreciate all of our sponsors and golfers who contribute to making education more accessible for our Lorain County residents,” says LCCC Foundation Director Lisa Brown.
Brown shares that all of the proceeds from the golf outing support the Jack Nicklaus Scholarship Endowment Fund. In addition to the Nicklaus Endowment Fund, the LCCC Foundation manages more than 185 scholarship funds, each year providing more than 850 LCCC and University Partnership students with an affordable chance to advance their education.
“This fund is by far one of the largest we manage, and it is due to the longstanding generosity of our community. Scholarship support is one of the most significant ways community members can have a direct impact on students,” adds Brown.
The longevity of this event is also important to the foundation and college.
“It is one of the longest-standing golf events in Lorain County and Northeast Ohio. Our goal through this event is to make sure students from all backgrounds have the ability to succeed in college,” Green says. “One of the ways we are able to achieve this is through the generosity of the participants in this event. The LCCC Foundation plans to continue this tradition for many years to come.”
Major sponsors for the event included Morgan Stanley and Huntington Bank.