Women In Film readies for 7th annual Celebrity Golf Classic

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Ladies Professional Golf Association member Vicki Fergon will be on hand to offer swing advice or even shoot tees for participants.

By Stephen Dorman/Special to The Malibu Times

The Malibu Country Club will host the 7th Annual Women In Film Celebrity Golf Classic beginning at noon July 10. In addition to the tournament, there will also be a silent and live auction along with an awards dinner, where participants can bid on a wide range of items including vacation packages, Emmy Award tickets, and signed memorabilia from Ronald Reagan, Ray Charles and many others.

After allowing more than 140 golfers to compete in the event in previous years, organizers decided to scale that number back a bit this time around.

“We always have a solid turnout for this event,” MCC Director of Golf Dan Meherin said. “However, the first couple of years we had 144 players and the pace was way too slow. It looks like we’ll cap it at about 128 to 132 for this one.”

This year’s tournament features teams of four and a shotgun start-all groups tee-off simultaneously at different holes throughout the course. There will be a scramble scoring system, meaning despite individually teeing off each player repositions their ball to where the best shot sits and plays from there. This type of format not only builds camaraderie, but also allows even the least skilled golfer the opportunity to succeed.

If a player is having difficulties they can always ask Honorary Chairwoman Vicki Fergon for a few tips. Fergon, a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association since 1977, will be positioned at a hole yet to be determined for the second consecutive year. There she will offer swing advice, and, if you so choose, will even play your tee shot for you. That’s not a bad proposition considering she has three LPGA victories to her credit and once fired a career-low round of 62, a score that tied a then LPGA all-time 18-hole record.

“I love working with Women In Film,” Fergon said. “It’s a great organization with great people-I actually know some of the actors and actresses involved. My hope is that I can continue working with them in the future.”

Women In Film is a nonprofit organization designed to “empower, promote, nurture and mentor women in the industry through a network of valuable contacts, events and programs,” according to its mission statement. The 31-year-old organization has 48 chapters worldwide with more than 10,000 members, including more than 2,500 in the Los Angeles area. Its founder, Tichi Wilkerson Kassel, a former editor-in-chief of the Hollywood Reporter, along with eight other women who had ties to the film and television industry, opened the first WIF branch in 1973. Six years later WIF welcomed its first male member.

Since its inauguration the organization has consistently organized fundraising events to raise money and awareness for issues such as breast cancer, domestic abuse, literacy and AIDS, among others.

“We’re a nonprofit organization that is trying to hold open all doors for future generations,” Vice President of Membership and event Chair Candace Bowen said. “We are not a charity. What we do is have other nonprofits come to us and pitch their problems and we help them find solutions.”

While WIF is able to supply funding for grants, mentor programs and scholarships, its greatest asset lies within the organization’s Hollywood ties. Iris Grossman, the current WIF president, spent nine years as the senior vice president of talent and casting for Turner Network Television (TNT), and WIF Vice President Hollace Davids currently works for Universal Pictures as a senior vice president of special projects. It is these types of industry connections that allow WIF to produce an average of five public service announcements per year that are aired on various television and radio outlets around the globe.

Bowen admits that the tournament itself has yet to become a big-time moneymaker for the organization, but said corporate sponsorships continue to grow as years go by and that the future looks bright.

“It’s a fun game, but at the end of the day we’re trying to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “As long as [the tournament] doesn’t cost us, even if we just break even, we’ll keep doing it.”

More information about participating in the event or becoming a sponsor can be obtained by contacting Candace Bowen at candace@malibuonline.com or by calling 310.457.8664.