LB Shelton Quarles knew a little rain wouldn't wash out his inaugural charity golf tournament
The Avila Golf and Country Club was a popular destination on Monday morning, as eager golfers began arriving at 11:00 a.m., ready to take part in the first-ever Shelton Quarles IMPACT Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic. Unfortunately, the skies seemed just as eager to let loose with a thunderstorm over the Tampa club.
Still, hopes for a sunny day were high, and Quarles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Pro Bowl linebacker, was prepared to make the event a success, come rain or shine. Quarles is one of the Bucs' most community-minded players, and he is determined to use the nascent IMPACT Foundation to tackle the problems of families in need.
The rain did come in several heavy bands late in the morning, but the tournament was able to proceed after a short delay. By early afternoon, the sun was beginning to show through sporadic rain clouds and the players were anxious to get onto the course.
The eventual shotgun start was well worth the wait. Each group consisted of four players and one celebrity. The pool of tournament players included Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, General Manager Bruce Allen and linebacker Derrick Brooks. Each group started at various holes throughout the course, competing against one another for the obvious: low score and a win.
Surprises waited at each hole. If there was not a snack sponsored by a local restaurant, there was a prize to be won. Games such as "Ball in the Woods," "Ball in the Water" and "Ball in the Weeds" gave even the not-so-accurate golfers a chance for added rewards. Each shot shanked, sliced, hooked or sculled into the woods, water or weeds led to the golfer's name being entered into a drawing for various prizes. It was one of the most appreciated new concepts of what is an otherwise well-known concept.
The tournament came to a halt at dusk, at which time the groups had played as many holes as they could. The players left the course and headed back to the clubhouse where they enjoyed a buffet-style dinner, followed by an awards ceremony and silent auction results. Overall, despite the rain, the tournament seemed to be a great success, enjoyed by everyone.
"Overall I think the event was successful," said Quarles. "We were able to raise some money in order to impact some people and some needy families. Hopefully, we had enough interest in the tournament this year in order to keep this going whether I'm playing football or not."
The money raised from the Shelton Quarles IMPACT Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic will be used to implement programs to help needy children and families throughout the Bay area during the upcoming year.