St. Luke's student raises nearly $15,000 for MS Society with golf marathon
Updated 1:16 pm, Monday, July 28, 2014
St. Luke's School student Jake Lustig spent a whole lot of extra time at the golf course on July 7, but it wasn't just because he wanted to sharpen his skills.
Lustig and a group of seven other determined young golfers visited Mahopac Golf Club two weeks ago to play the sport they enjoy for a good cause.
You've probably heard of marathons where people run miles and miles for charitable causes. Well, on this day the ambitious group of eight held a golf marathon titled, `Jake For Jake,' at Mahopac Golf Club. The unique marathon, which saw the participants play six rounds of golf in one day, raised money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter in honor of Wilton resident Greg "Jake" Jacobson.
Lustig, a rising sophomore at St. Luke's in New Canaan, was the golf marathon's mastermind.
"My mother (Lori) reconnected with an old friend (Deidre Jacobson Ostrowski) and she learned that one of her brothers by the name of Greg Jacobson has MS," Lustig said. "He played at Williams College and I went to a golf camp there last summer and had a great time. I wanted to contact him and talk to him about doing something to benefit MS."
An All-American golfer at Williams College, Jacobson was a fixture in CSGA events for years, competing in the Connecticut Open, the Connecticut Amateur and the Connecticut Mid-Amateur numerous times. A competitor on the Space Coast Mini Tour, Jacobson excelled at Ridgefield Golf Club, winning several club titles, while setting a course record.
Jacobson's promising golf career was halted when he was diagnosed with primary multiple sclerosis in 2011 -- a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, optic nerves). Primary multiple sclerosis is a debilitating form of the disease in which motor function decreases in individuals over time.
Lustig, a member of the St. Luke's varsity golf team, met Jacobson in February and the two talked about the sport and, of course, multiple sclerosis.
"When Jake approached me in February and asked me, `How can I help with your MS?" It was such an interesting question from a high school freshman," Jacobson told the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. "I responded, `Well, I doubt you're a scientific research doctor yet, but anything you can do to raise awareness and support the critical need to find a cure for MS would be great."
Lustig, a Somers, N.Y. resident, told me that he went home, thought about it for a while and suddenly, the idea came to mind.
"In late March, early April I decided on having a golf marathon to help MS," Lustig said. "Greg holds his own tournament to benefit MS, so I wanted to do something on my own."
Mahopac Golf Club, Lustig's home club, generously agreed to host the marathon, then Lustig went to work -- sending out mass e-mails to public and private courses to promote the event and recruiting players and donors. I knew six rounds of golf was an extraordinary amount to play in just one day, but when Lustig broke down for me how much walking was involved I surprised. Lustig walked the course each round, covering 22 miles. His day began at 6 a.m. and ended close to dusk.
"Everyone was tired, but we all felt great, knowing that we were playing for a great cause," Lustig said. "We all had breakfast before it started and ate bag lunches during the middle of the day out on the course. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment, knowing that I did something big."
Some of the different categories of donations included the Par Pledge -- a per-hole pledge, a fixed pledge and the Eagle Pledge -- which doubled the pledge if Lustig shot an even-par or better for the entire day. Lustig raised $6,500 himself and with checks still coming in, the amount raised for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, could reach as high as $15,000.
Also playing in the six-round marathon event were: Ally Steffen, Kelly Callahan (Larchmont, N.Y.), William Santora (Stamford), Ajay Fernandez (Stamford), Tom Barzellato (Somers, N.Y.), David Morrissey (Rye, N.Y.) and Frank Schursky (Rye Neck, N.Y.). Due to the marathon's success, Lustig already plans on coordinating the golf marathon next summer.
"Hopefully, we'll get more people to play next year," said Lustig, who told me that he's learned plenty about the disease the past few months. "If we could get 12 golfers participating that would be great. We're very thankful to Mahopac Golf Club for hosting the marathon."
Jacobson was grateful to Lustig and everyone involved in the `Jake For Jake' golf marathon.
"Multiple sclerosis sidelined me, it has robbed me of a lifestyle I loved," Jacobson said. "Although MS has deprived me of many things, it can't rob me of my unrelenting determination to help ensure science keeps moving forward toward better treatments and what I want most, a cure. To know that other people are willing to help me meet that goal is truly touching."
At Salem Golf Club (North Salem, N.Y.) on Sept. 29, Jacobson will hold the second annual The Jake 2014 Best Ball Tournament to benefit National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. The tournament includes a men's and women's division. Individual players, teams of two and foursomes are welcome to register for the event. Mike Reilly (email@example.com) is the tournament chairman.
Kudos to all of the participants, donors and those who volunteered at the Jake for Jake golf marathon. Once again, golf provided the perfect means to raise money for a charitable cause.
CSGA ANNOUNCES 2014 WIDDY NEALE SCHOLARSHIP
The CSGA recently awarded 12 scholarships to employees at Connecticut golf clubs. The scholarships are given in honor of its long-time Executive Director William "Widdy" Neale. The program recognizes graduating high school seniors who serve the golf program at CSGA member clubs and are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities. The CSGA scholarships are four-year awards.
The 2014 recipients include: Maxwell Anderson from West Hartford. He works at Wampanoag Country Club and will attend Providence College. David Andrews of Fairfield (Brooklawn Country Club, Miami of Ohio), Cheshire resident Daniel Ford (New Haven Country Club, Elon University), Madison Hanlon of Wolcott (The Farms Country Club, Mount Saint Mary College), Michael Jezierski from Thompson (Raceway Golf Club, Worcester State University), Nicholas LaMothe from Torrington (Fairview Farm Golf Course, Holy Cross College), Norwich's Francis Lee (Norwich Golf Course, Franklin and Marshall), Eliza Lynch of Trumbull (Tashua Knolls Golf Club, University of North Carolina), Nathan Marcus of Ellington (Ellington Ridge Country Club, UConn), Cooper McLean from Newtown (Redding Country Club, West Virginia University), Nicholas Nemergut of Goshen (Washington Golf Club, University of North Carolina) and Joshua Torres of Wethersfield (Wethersfield Country Club, Central Connecticut State University).
SIMIONE PAIR WINS FATHER/SON TITLE
Chris and William Simione captured the CSGA 78th Father & Son Championship Monday at Lyman Orchards Golf Course. The Simiones (Farms Country Club, Connecticut Junior Golf Association) combined to shoot a 2-under-par 70.
They edged Ryan and CJ Karbowicz of Farmington Woods Golf Course, John and James Abbott (Timberlin Golf Club) and Len and Greg Horvath (Manchester Country Club) all of whom shot a 1-under 71.