Chi Chi To Open Charity Classic with ‘Clinic of Champions’
An entertaining “Clinic of Champions,” conducted by Chi Chi Rodriguez himself, will mark the opening of this year’s Chi Chi Charity Classic. The event will take place on Sunday and Monday, in November at Chi Chi’s namesake golf course on McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater. The golf course will be closed to outside play since organizers expect to have 250 to 300 participants.
This is Jessica Majeski’s third year helping run the event, currently marking its 33rd anniversary. It is considered to be the signature fundraising event for the programs of the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy. She and her new tournament co-chair, Jim York, are working hard to broaden the group of Chi Chi’s personal friends and supporters to include more local business people.
The two-day team scramble event also hosts a special Sunday evening dinner provided by Romano’s Macaroni Grill Catering. The Nielsen Company is donating the use of its Oldsmar facility for the dinner event. The featured dinner speaker will be Julie Weintraub, Senior Vice President of the Gold and Diamond Source who as a young child benefited from an Academy program. A Continental breakfast will be served each morning and an awards luncheon is scheduled for Monday after golf.
Winners of the event will receive authentic Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course flags autographed by Chi Chi. Chi Chi is a crowd-pleaser at both regular PGA and Senior PGA tour events and is known for his contagious smile, wielding his putter like a sword and for his generous and giving spirit.
Charity Classic co-chair Jessica Majeski became interested in helping the Chi Chi Foundation after she told St. Petersburg artist, T.W. Curtis, that she would like to become involved in a charity “close to home.” And did she become involved! After seeing the quality and purpose of the programs at Chi Chi’s, she volunteered to help wherever needed. She was asked to co-chair the Classic in her very first year.
“Golf has had a huge impact on my life,” Jessica explains. “When I was growing up in the Detroit, Michigan, area, I was a caddy at the Red Run Golf Club in Royal Oak. That led to my becoming an Evans Scholar at the University of Michigan and I am still nvolved with the Evans Scholar program. Her day job is as a Financial Representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.
The Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation was built upon an idea that was conceived when Bill Hayes, a teacher, golfer and part-time detention officer, invited professional golfer Juan “Chi Chi” Rodriguez to give a golf clinic to the youngsters in a juvenile detention center in Florida. The two men agreed that there had to be a better way to help adolescents succeed. They enlisted the help of Bob James, founder of Raymond James Financial, Inc. and the three men created the Foundation.
The Foundation’s Academy serves as a Pinellas County Public School for “at risk” boys and girls in fourth through eighth grades. In addition to learning regular school curriculum, students attending the Academy receive character education and other lessons they can learn from the game of golf. The goal of the Academy is to prepare these students, who might have otherwise dropped out of school, to be ready to return to their regular high schools. More than half of the students 8 to13 year-olds benefit from the Boys and Girls club after school enrichment activities. This program is supported by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Pinellas as well and they provide one on one mentors for the program.
Chi Chi’s Academy also supports a variety of summer and weekend golf programs through The First Tee of Clearwater and the Boys and Girls Club. Every year, these programs using The First Tee curriculum prepares 1,000 youngsters with an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values and character education through golf.
Like Jessica Majeski and Jim York, many individuals from the local community volunteer to help with the various programs at Chi Chi’s. In addition to fund-raising programs like the Charity Classic, the Academy’s educational programs are funded by two sources. There is the 140-acre public Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course and across the street there is the newly renovated 30 acre Chi Chi Sports Complex, both of which operate under a long term lease with the City of Clearwater. For more information please visit the website at www.chichi.org or call 727.726. 8829.
Article written by Jackie McCallum for Destination Tampa Bay Magazine
Classic Event occurs in November each year