Saturday marked the 50th annual Frontier Toyota Henry Mayo Golf Classic, which returned to its long-time regular home at the Valencia Country Club.
The classic was held continuously on a Monday at the Valencia Country Club aside from last year, when it was held at The Oaks Club at Valencia due to construction. Saturday’s tournament also marked the first full Henry Mayo tournament since the pandemic.
“I think our tournament is a little different because it’s a lot of fun,” said Marlee Lauffer, vice president of marketing and communications for Henry Mayo. “I’m sure other tournaments are as well, but we really make an effort to have something on as many holes as possible.”
Each hole had a different activity or gimmick for golfers to enjoy. One had a cannon that shot out a ball they could play, another served food and drinks such as margaritas, and chips and salsa.
The keynote event, however, was the helicopter ball drop — where up to 1,800 golf balls are dropped from a helicopter flown by Wayne and Connie Spears of Agua Dulce Airpark. Each ball was purchased for $20 and participants had the chance to win up to $50,000.
Renee Leon, manager for the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, said bringing the event back to its fullest potential allowed more physicians, and donors, to be able to participate. The money raised for the event primarily goes toward the emergency department — an obviously crucial component to any hospital, Leon said, but especially at Henry Mayo.
“The entire community comes together. The emergency department is really the front door of the hospital and no matter what type of insurance you have, or your age group, it is most likely you or a loved one will utilize the emergency department,” said Leon.
One golfer in the tournament, Deputy Keith Wells, who works in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Prevention Unit, said while the course was challenging it was fun and felt good to know it was all going toward a good cause.
“It’s been a blast. This course is gorgeous, I’ve never played here before but it’s a lot of fun. It’s not an easy course, but it’s been fun,” said Wells. “Obviously, anytime you can lend a hand towards something like (Henry Mayo), it’s fantastic. So I think it’s a great thing that they do here.”
Event organizers had not completed a total of how much was raised at the tournament, at the time of this publication, but estimated it would be north of what they raised last year: approximately $200,000.
The first-place team winner was Sodexo. Physician trophy went to Dr. Richard Goldman, Dr. Jerry Izu, Dr. MorrisYen and Dr. Mark Liker. The putting contest winner was Will Girard. Amy Grant won the female long drive and Easton Johnson won the male long drive. There was no $50,000 golf ball drop winner but $2,000 was awarded to Patricia Spellman and $500 to Michael Fox.