Going Clubbing: An Un-Fore-Gettable 15 Years

21 October 2019 By Laura Shaughnessy, By Aileen Mack

The 15th annual Awlgrip Captains’ Golf Invitational was a swinging success in Plantation, Florida, on October 19th with its Happy Campers theme. Jacaranda Country Club hosted yet another fantastic event that welcomed more than 100 captains and industry sponsors, which included Awlgrip, Northrop & Johnson, Dockwalk, Global Marine Travel (GMT), Interlux, MHG Insurance, Avmar Yacht Payroll, Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC), Aqua Promotions, Marshall Islands Registry, YachtSign, Private Insurance Services, Viasat, and prize sponsors Engel Coolers and Planet Massage.

In addition to the fun, socializing, and activities, some impressive golf scores were made. First place went to Captains Darren Walker, Shane Williamson, and Andrew Julian. Second place went to Peter Bronkie, Brian Olivie, Billy Blackwell, and Adriaan Vorsher. Third place was determined by a tiebreaker on hole 7 among three teams (two pars and one birdie), but in the end went to Captains Rick van de Vikingen, John Cummings, Tommy Kocher, and Andy Downs. For hole 3, closest to the pin went to David Waller. The longest drive on hole 18 went to Neil McIntosh, and the shortest drive on hole 1 with 45 feet was awarded to Ian Shaw. Capt. Peter Pexton took home the award for straightest drive on hole 18. Aqua Promotions had their own closest to the pin award on hole 8. First place was awarded to Capt. Ken Gibson, second to (semi-retired) Capt. Craig Turnbull, and third to Capt. Brook O’ Neill, who were all under 10 feet from the pin.

Although the main focus of the tournament is golf, there’s no reason you can’t look great while playing. The team that embraced the spirit of the tournament in their neon-splattered outfits complete with headbands and colorful socks to match were Ryan Godbeer, Gerard Rutishauser, Jamie Dangerfield, and Tim Hart. Capt. Tommy Rocchi was recognized for his full late 18th-century captain’s attire replete with a real sword as the best dressed player.

Dockwalk once again challenged captains to go back to their roots with a timed bowline tying competition. While there were some quick knots, dragging bowlines, and impressive eyes-closed knots, Capt. Frank Gnozzio’s 1.9-second knot won him the Golden Bowline award and a $500 gift card to restaurant Valentino Cucina Italiana. To close off the night, the raffle winner of a brand-new Breitling watch was Rainy Venter.

But it wasn’t all fun and games — superyacht captains are no stranger to giving back, what with all they’ve done to help the victims in The Bahamas who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Dorian. That’s why it should come as no surprise that this year, Awlgrip put their support behind YachtAid Global’s (YAG) “Operation Topaz,” which coordinates yachts in transit to help with the Abacos’ recovery efforts.

“Yachts have not only been orchestrated to shuttle supplies to devastated areas, but dozens of abandoned pets have been successfully evacuated to safety. And though the non-stop news coverage has ended, the recovery process is far from over,” says Northrop & Johnson’s Wes Sanford, the organizer behind the golf invitational’s spirited success. The tournament  will be donating $6,000, including a $1,000 donation from Avmar and $1,000 from Sanford. It’s not too late to donate to YAG, check out their site:

For the last 15 years, this event has hosted wonderful days of golf and provided countless good times for all those who attended. Thanks to Wes and Kelly Sanford, Sharon Wellnitz, the sponsors, and players, it continues to be a well-attended and popular event in the lead-up to the Fort Lauderdale boat show. Here’s to another 15 years.

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