A shortage of donations and participants has forced Saddleback College to cancel its annual golf tournament, which raised funds for the athletic department.
Assistant Athletic Director Jerry Hannula said the event is expected to return, but it is unclear whether or not the tournament will take place annually or every other year.
Originally, the fundraiser took place every year on the first Thursday of June.
The event ran into issues this year when organizers moved it from its traditional date in June to Oct. 6 after feedback from students, staff and participants showed that they would be unable to attend during that scheduled weekday.
“We had enough to try and move [the tournament] to a weekend, which is nearly impossible,” Hannula. “We were able to secure a weekend in August, but it was during a bye week of football”.
The fall date would have been convenient aside from the fact that the department puts much energy into their other work as the start of school approaches, and there is not a lot of time to put aside to devote to such a large event, Hannula said. The deadline for the early bird entry into the tournament, which would cost $175, was Sept. 19. As the deadline approached, entries fell well short of the expectations.
The athletic department teams up against many other programs at Saddleback to raise money from the community. The Foundation Gala, which took place last weekend, sells fundraising spots throughout the summer months, which is the same time frame that other athletics programs, such as football, are busy pushing for sponsors.
“The spring would be better because all the high school sports are over,” said Hannula. “Saddleback golf is the only one asking for community donations at that time. The tournament will not be back to the October date because the people on the [Saddleback] golf committee are all really busy this time of year.”
The department recently launched the Gaucho travel agency. Instead of paying commissions to sites such as Travelocity or Expedia, the athletic department is now connecting Saddleback teams and families to their own booking agent. Visitors to the Gaucho Athletics travel service website will get to choose which sport their travel fees go to.
“To us [the travel service] was a no brainer,” said Tony Lipold, Dean of Athletics. “Here’s an opportunity to travel and have the school benefit. The prices are very competitive to other travel agency companies. Everybody travels. People go online to and get the best deal. We had nothing to lose.”
Every year the department discovers new fundraising ideas to keep their programs running. Check out the Gaucho travel agency at www.saddleback.edu/athletics.