This year's event saw a boost in attendance over last year's.
On a mild but windy day at the Club de Bonmont course Jan. 24, community residents served hot dogs and drinks, worked the holes and did much of the other work needed— chipping contests, putting contests — to help the Flagler County Education Foundation raise approximately $13,000 at this year's annual Golf Classic.
Compared to previous years, said Plantation Bay resident Anita Gentile, this year's event was much much larger.
Since 2012, Gentile has coordinated the volunteer team of 36 Plantation Bay residents, all golfers, who helped coordinate and staff the event. It began this year with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. and lasted until about 3:30 p.m., when golfers began returning to the Club de Bonmont for prizes and a raffle.
"I was out on the course the whole time making sure volunteers were happy," Gentile said. "I had one gentlemen who cooked hot dogs for five hours on the grill. It all ran pretty smoothly. The biggest things was coordinating everything ahead of time." That took about two to three months of preparation, Gentile said.
But many of the volunteers, she said, have been doing this since 2012: They know how to do it right.
A total of about 136 people attended the Classic as golfers, each paying $125 to enter.
John Fanelli, the principal of Buddy Taylor Middle School, played the Classic and said he sees the money raised by the annual event show up in classrooms in his school.
"They give a lot of grants to our school," he said.
Fanelli was among a number of educators who took up a golf club at the Classic to raise money for their students.
"It was well-planned, the course was in great shape, and the Education Foundation did a tremendous job," said Earl Johnson, the school district's executive director of leadership development and former principal at Matanzas High School. Johnson has played the Golf Classic each of the three years he's been in Flagler County, he said.
Education Foundation Director Joe Rizzo said the tournament brought out about 40 more people this year than it did last year. The volunteers, he said, helped make it happen.
"They just put together a really great effort," he said.
The money raised will go the the Education Foundation's general fund, which is used to fund scholarships, innovative grants programs and life essentials for students, such as the STUFF Bus program that distributes supplies to kids who can't afford them.
A separate effort to collect items for the STUFF Bus was also underway at Plantation Bay ahead of the event, coordinated by Gentile.
"We are always looking for support for the school system, whether it's time, treasure or talent," Rizzo said.
Other local residents praised the smoothness with which the event was carried out.
"It's the best organized tournament, and I've played in hundreds of tournaments," said Bunnell resident Andrew Trotter. Trotter has been attending the Education Foundation's Golf Classic since 2011.
School Board member Trevor Tucker has played the annual Golf Classic for 12 or 13 years and has seen the attendance fluctuate with the economy.
"Between 2000 and 2006, you had pretty full groups, then when you had the recession, it got a lot slower," Tucker said. "The past three years, attendance has been good."
The event, said Rizzo, brings a lot of positive exposure to the Education Foundation's work. "It's a chance to build relationships and build some support," he said.