By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It rained throughout most of last week, but the weather cleared on Saturday just in time for the P.S. 8 Parent Teacher Association to hold its inaugural golf outing at Marine Park to raise money for the school.
“We wanted to do something to help raise some money and when we started talking about a golf outing it got a lot of interest pretty quickly,” said John Keegan, who helped to organize the event. “It was a great time, a wonderful day and we got some beautiful weather.”
This is just part of an ongoing effort by the PTA to get more parents and teachers involved in fundraising activities. Previously, many PTA members and other parents didn’t get involved in the many craft fairs and children’s parties. During the past three years some members have begun holding events like softball games, wine and whiskey tastings, and now a golf outing.
“There was an entire segment of the PTA population that was left out of a lot of events,” said Tony Lacitignola, another member that helped organize the event. “When we started asking about golf we got an overwhelming response from people that liked the idea. So we started by saying, let's see if we can get 40 players and we ended up getting close to 60.”
It’s hard for the organizers to find time to put events like these together, but the response this year was so overwhelmingly positive that Lacitignola said that that this would undoubtedly become an annual event.
“In Brooklyn Heights, there are a lot of people that would like to play golf, but they don't have the opportunity, the inclination or the motivation,” Lacitignola explained. “Here they have the motivation because it's for the school and since it's for the school they get a free pass from the wives and the kids.”
On top of the ticket sales, the PTA made money on extras like raffles tickets, with winners taking home golf equipment and Yankees and Mets tickets, as well as Devil Balls, which made the rounds more interesting and raised an extra $20 per foursome.
It also gave people a chance to check out the Marine Park golf course. The course did not have the most sterling reputation before owner Mike Giordano took over the place roughly five years ago. Since then the course itself has seen some big changes and the clubhouse has been expanded and renovated.
“This is really the only true links course in New York City and we’re trying to capture that,” Giordano said. “It’s the longest course in the city so it can handle high-end players. We want the course to reflect that.
The renovations are in the sixth year of a 10-year plan. The idea is to make the course and the clubhouse more aesthetically pleasing. As a public course, Giordano has taken steps to make it more accessible including installing new technology to help people learn the game and build their confidence.
“We’re building a technology center to get people who aren’t into golf into it,” Giordano said. “It’s not an easy sport to learn to play so we’re installing equipment to help make it more accessible and less daunting. Our goal is to get more women and kids, people who generally aren’t the biggest golfers, more involved because a lot of them feel like they’re missing out on something.”
The changes are already obvious. “Fifteen years ago this was a different course; it was real Brooklyn where you had to apologize to your clubs before you came,” Keegan joked. “Now it’s like a completely different course. They’ve done a tremendous job here. We’ll definitely be back next year and I imagine that we’ll have a lot more than 60 people next time.”
The PTA plans on having more events like this to raise money for the school including, potentially, a fishing trip next spring.