GOLFERS WITH A CAUSE

by Ani Ivanova

Rotary Club Sofia International's first golf tournament helps children

If you're a golfer, you're sure to have heard of it. If you're not, Vagabond is here to tell you all about the golf event that made a difference.

Established in 2005 and comprising foreign and Bulgarian business leaders who volunteer in various humanitarian projects, Rotary Club Sofia International, the only international Rotary among 80 Rotary clubs in this country, has a tradition of fund-raising to the benefit of Bulgarian orphans. This time the Rotarians opted for something completely different from their previous concert in the Hague and last year's Christmas event for 160 orphanage-raised children. On 1 November 2008 Rotary Sofia International held its first ever golf day in Bulgaria at St Sofia Golf Club & Spa, at Ravno Pole.

A golf course in a perfect condition, beautiful weather and a worthy charitable cause attracted 53 players and as many Rotarians and guests who enjoyed a day of Texas Scramble, a fun event that usually makes for low scores. Two teams performed exceptionally well – that of Alexander Evtimov, Ivan Trasiev, Emil Markov and Thomas Coreno returned a 59 nett; and the team of Dimitar Radev, Philip Clayton, Thomas Nelson and Ron Finlay, also on 59, won the tournament on a count out. Nearest the Pin was won by Stefan Ebner on hole 15.

Prize-giving was a festive affair, with food and drinks sponsored by half a dozen local companies. One lucky winner got an annual subscription to Vagabond, two more took home Vagabond Media's Hidden Treasures of Bulgaria book, to mention but a few of the prizes. An auction held for golf-art posters raised more money for charity.

The fund-raiser brought in 18,000 leva, exceeding by far the organisers' expectations. Rotary Sofia International will distribute the funds to five orphanages in Sofia: the Asen Zlatarov, St Ivan Rilski, Hristo Botev, Slaveykov and Gorna Banya homes. The children there will receive some much needed psychological counselling as well as physical disabilities rehabilitation equipment.

Both golfers and guests agreed that the day was a great success. Iain Grieve, President of Rotary Sofia International, was extremely happy with their first charity golf event in Bulgaria.

Golf may only be picking up here in Bulgaria but it lived up to the hope of organisers bringing support to the socially disadvantaged. The question the Rotarians were asking themselves when they first thought of the idea – Can golf help Bulgarian orphans? – now has an answer.

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