In 1999 Past Presidents Joseph Steinbok, Milton Inniss and Peter Griffith organized a golf tournament at the Old Nine at Sandy Lane, sponsored by Diamonds International at the hefty price of $10,000 per team to raise funds for the renovation of the Pediatric Ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This extremely successful and profitable fundraiser was the brain child of Past President Andrew St. John, who chaired the committee. The tournament was opened by then Minister, the Honourable Philip Goddard. The current chairperson for the past few years is Past President Horace Cobham.
Players from corporate Barbados were very supportive and the event was sold out. The prize giving was held at Sandy Lane with a cocktail party, the attendant speeches and we all enjoyed the fellowship, players, and spectators alike.
The second year was equally successful in terms of funds raised, but marred to a certain extent by the weather. John Hadchity and Tony Mahabir were caught up in a torrential downpour on the back nine, oblivious to the fact that the tournament had been called off after nine holes. A course marshal finally caught up with them on the 14th hole soaked to the bone and informed them that everyone had been in the club house for at least an hour.
The third year we were afforded the opportunity to play at the new Country Club course which made it even more attractive to the top golfers in the Island. Sandy Lane provided the course, caddies and sponsored a junior team, 2 teams and caddies team. In addition to the development of junior golf, that year marked the first time in its history that an all-female team entered the tournament. Ground breaking, to say the least.
This fundraiser has now been in existence for twenty-one (21) years and is the most profitable fundraiser in the history of our club. Local companies provide sponsorship, which permits them to have a team of four (4), participate in a one-day golf challenge.
We are extremely grateful to the management and staff of Diamonds International, Sandy Lane and Apes Hill for their outstanding and long support to the Golf Classic and for their contribution and dedication to the ideals of Rotary. The tournament has also been played at the Royal Westmoreland Golf Club. For their outstanding support to Rotary West in this Classic, Derek Smith, one of the principal owners of Sandy Lane, Manager Colm Hannon and our sponsor Jacob Hassid, of Diamonds International, have all been awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship pin. We look forward to a longer and fruitful partnership in the future.