Senior’s golf tournament puts the tee in charity


Senior Ryan Calcagno makes a shot at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Logan Swain, Staff Writer

Golfing has long been senior Ryan Calcagno’s passion. This year he’s found a way to link that love to community service. Calcagno is organizing a charitable golf tournament, which will be held at Ancil Hoffman Park on Monday, November 7.

“It is raising money for my coach’s junior golf academy, Trendsetter Golf,” Calcagno said, which offers a range of classes and programs to instruct youths in the sport. “We teach golf, but we also teach important aspects like sportsmanship, integrity, [and] communication with each other.”

Part of the money raised by the tournament will create a scholarship to pay for golf lessons for a student who would not otherwise be able to afford them, so that “they can learn these life lessons through golf as well,” Calcagno explained. The rest will go towards buying golf equipment, which is often very expensive.

Calcagno sees this as an opportunity to give back to an organization that has meant so much to him.

“This one’s very special to me,” he said. “I’m one of my coach’s first students, about four to five years ago, and so I’ve seen the academy built from the ground up.”

The main event will be an 18-hole shotgun competition.

“You have everyone start at the same exact time, on different holes throughout the course, and they finish on different holes,” Calcagno explained.

Whichever team wins the competition will get a free round of golf at Catta Verdera Country Club. The runner-ups will get a free round at Ancil Hoffman. 

Aside from the main competition, the tournament promises to be jam-packed with exciting contests and activities.

“There’s going to be prizes throughout the day, there’s going to be contests on the tournament, on holes, and then there’s going to be winner prizes as well,” Calcagno said. “There’s also going to be an auction.”

One of the events will be a closest-to-the-hole contest, where the golfer who hits the ball closest to the pin gets $100. Another contest will be the long drive, where the golfer who hits the ball the furthest gets a special prize: a gas package, which, as Calcagno said, “includes a gas card, a propane tank, and then a hat from Interstate Oil Company.”

A BBQ lunch will follow the contests.

From the very start, Calcagno has received an outpouring of support for his endeavor.

“The first signup I got was a student here’s dad,” he said, who paid to sign up his entire golf group, numbering eight people, for the tournament.

“I saw eleven hundred dollars just right off the bat, and that was the first thing I saw,” Calcagno said. “That was really cool, seeing, ‘Hey, this could actually be something.’”

Experiences like these have been par for the course. Once the donations started rolling in, they didn’t stop coming.

“I would just get these donations from people I’ve hardly known for a hundred bucks,” he said. “It’s just really cool to see that.”

Still, the experience hasn’t been all fairway and green for Calcagno.

“Staying on top of people,” he said, “is the biggest challenge.” Calcagno has had to follow up with prospective participants who renege on their promises. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll get three groups to play,’ and then they never say it again.”

The effort Calcagno has put into the tournament is proof of his drive.

“It’s been a lot of time,” Calcagno said. “Mainly at home, late nights, just emailing people.”

There’s also a lot of work that goes into making the tournament engaging for the players.

“You can’t just send them off without having any fun games on the course,” Calcagno said. “It’s not easy, there’s a lot of logistics in it. You have to get out the number of players, you have to figure out if you’re giving them food, you have to figure out your hole contests.”

But the challenges he’s experienced have helped him grow. Calcagno said he learned a lot about how to communicate with adults and ask them for donations. “I’d say I couldn’t really do that before.”

So far, the project has been a hole-in-one. Calcagno’s efforts are quite literally paying off, with the golf tournament already seeing enormous financial success.

“The rough estimate is around five grand,” Calcagno said, referring to the current quantity the event has raised. Most of this money has come from donations. “You don’t make a lot off the players that are playing, because you have to pay the golf course to host the tournament.”

While registrations for the tournament have closed, you can still chip in by donating at