Jarrod Lyle Charity Golf Day
Earlier in the year, I remember reading an article about how Jarrod Lyle was again in hospital and fighting a mystery blood illness that was keeping him bed ridden. I remember thinking at the time, "My god, how much does this bloke have to go through?"
The story included a line that said his family was struggling with the costs involved with his lengthy hospital stay and as I investigated further, I came across a page on Facebook that Evan Gale had started to donate money towards this cause. After speaking with my business partner, we both decided to do what we could to help.
We only started our website DaddyShack as a bit of a joke to begin with. We sat around the dinner table at my house a few years ago now and joked about how the greatest golf movie ever, Caddyshack, should be turned into some sort of golfing website for dads and DaddyShack was born. After doing not much with it for the first few months, we decided to start a golf day and see if we could grow it into something that dads, as well as others, could come and play. No restrictions, no affiliations, no join our exclusive group to play and no Holden Scramble style 35 under winning was what we wanted.
The result was the DaddyShack Cup and we thought we could run this and help raise money to donate to Evan Gale's Facebook page. We started with a small ad on Facebook and we had 54 slots in the afternoon field to offer up. It had taken us over a month on the last DaddyShack Cup to fill on 31 spots, but after putting the ad for the Jarrod Lyle day up, we sold out all 54 spots in just 3 days. It just goes to show what Jarrod Lyle means to the average golfer around Australia. The Eynesbury golf club and in particular, Brad Alton the pro, chatted with me after I told him we had sold out and he suggested to open the whole day up and make it as big as we possibly could.
This of course was the perfect way to raise money for Jarrod Lyle's family. I had met Jarrod several times and always at charity golf days. Although he was not playing a lot on the PGA Tour, he was always popping up at charity events and hitting drives for groups, selling Leuk the Duck merch, making speeches and just basically brightening the days of every golfer that he spoke with. You just could not help but like the guy, especially knowing what he had been through. This was obvious as we started to get sponsors left and right to help us with the day. I don't think you could ever get a more loved person in the Australian golf landscape than Jarrod Lyle.
We had almost sold all spots on the day when the news came through that Jarrod was leaving hospital to start palliative care. From the message released by his wife on Facebook, it seemed that he was a lot more ill than we all knew, so we tried reaching out through social media, radio and TV to try and get as much help as we could to raise awareness of the golf day ahead. Unfortunately, radio stations, TV shows, social media celebrities and pro golfers did not help us out.
Again and again we were completely ignored by everyone we tried to reach out to. Radio producers returned emails telling us that they wished there was something they could do, but could not. Social media celebrities refused to even click one button and re-tweet our cries for help and one golf pro even went as far as accusing me of trying to get signed sporting memorabilia to line my own pockets! The frustrating part of all this is we could've raised so much more money with just a little help from any of these people.
It did not matter, because the wheels were put in motion by everyday people. Local businesses and members came forward to donate whatever they could to help us out. Golf Genius donated their software for the day and the lead up with entries. Our many emails to various places started slowly to bear fruit and we got the prizes we needed to host a good day. The hole sponsors came from not big companies, but small local guys who had their hearts in the right place. We realised that these days were not built on the need for huge world wide exposure, but by the golfers who played in them. There was even a golfer with a Leuk the duck tattoo!
Of course, we all now know that Jarrod was extremely sick and his passing was at least quick and not drawn out for weeks and weeks. It was now our mission to make as much money as we possibly could for his girls. All 168 spots were completely sold out before we knew it and the emergency wait list was even crammed with people looking to play. The sponsors were ready, the players were ready, the prizes were donated and all we needed now was the winter weather in Melbourne to behave itself and give us some sunshine.
7 day forecasts are sometimes very annoying. From 7 days out all it said for the day of the tournament was "Rain", but day after day it got better. It went from 100% chance of rain to 70%, then 40% and finally to 30%. By the time it was Friday, it was saying "possible showers", which was awesome. As I posted in a Facebook photo taken on the morning of the tournament, it seemed Jarrod was looking over us as the sun broke through in the morning and even though it was cold in the afternoon, the big black clouds seemed to just miss us enough for us all to stay dry.
The auction items fetched some great prices and the signed Jarrod Lyle flag was the biggest hit of the day selling for $2000. Donations around the golf course from the hole in ones, jump start on the 16th hole and Mulligan cards ended up tallying into the thousands and when combined with the entry fees and auction items, we are happy to announce that we raised $13,565 for the Lyle family on the day.
We could not be more proud of the golfers that attended the day. The members and guests of the Eynesbury golf club who opened their hearts and wallets to help us facilitate this total. The sponsors who gave of their products or time so eagerly and the crew of the Eynesbury golf club who made the day run so smoothly from start to finish. Also, a massive thanks to all of the PGA Pro's and assistant pro's who turned out in numbers to give their groups a leader on the course. The day would not have been the same without you all.
What does this all mean going forward? As far as we are concerned, we believe that everybody knows someone who is going through the fight of their lives with cancer or a related illness associated with cancer. We lost one of our members recently at Eynesbury and had a day for him as well which raised much needed money for his family. We know that in the future, it will happen again and again and we want to be part of the solution. The day started here will be back again next year in some way, shape or form and we will be raising as much money for the fight against cancer as we possibly can.
If we ask again for your help next year, please remember this day and give so we can help out all those golfers out there who are in need. They may not be as famous as Jarrod Lyle, but all their lives matter enough to at least go crazy on the golf course for one day of the year and take the time to remember them. Remember who they were and why they loved the great game of golf so much. One thing is for sure, I'm betting they would love a golf day to be played in their honor. Wouldn't you?
If you would like to help us for next year in any way, please contact us through our email firstname.lastname@example.org
There were a few close shots on the $5000 hole in one hole, but none went in.
The prize will return on the next DaddyShack Cup day