It was the first of a number GKTW fundraising events to take place during the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012, including the 6th Annual IAAPA 5K/1K Fun Run and Walk, Footprints from the Heart and the 3rd Annual IAAPA Motorcycle Ride. The activities raised over $80, 000 for the central Florida based charity.
And so to Hawks landing Golf Club at Orlando’s Marriott hotel, where at 7am on the 9th November, a rag-tag collection of 143 attractions industry people assembled. A smattering of the golfers play regularly (identifiable by the checked trousers, Tam o’ Shanters and wildly camp shirts) and the remainder at best dabble, for many this being their only such outing of the year.
I set off on the morning’s play in our little Banana Splits style buggy with my standard misguided optimism, which reason and experience told me would soon be quickly deflated, my game unravelling as I directed shot after miserable shot into the picturesque ponds , lakes and shrubberies surrounding the course.
Each hole was sponsored. At one we were greeted by team Picsolve, the image/photo company, who proceeded to ply us with cigars and margaritas, “forcing” drink after drink on us. This diversion was probably connected to the subsequent deterioration of our game.
The team immediately ahead of us comprised Amazing Picture’s Mark Simmons and Henry Tyson (my teammates from a previous year, see: Well Above Par: at IAAPA’s Charity Golf Event), Universal’s Kathy Griffiths and a childhood friend of Mark’s, who like his three teammates was depressingly good. Others teeing up included PGAV Destination’s Al Cross, Kurt Mack-Even (Mack Rides) and Markus Mack-Even (IMG Theme Park Attractions), Steve Drake, Tara Morandi and Tom Burnet of virtual queuing company Lo-Q, Barry Gertz and Michael Turner of water filtration and circulation company Neptune Benson, Miika Seppala of Särkänniemi Adventure Park, Franceen Gonzales of Great Wolf Resorts, Edward Pawley of Adventure World Warsaw, Terry Monkton of 3D/4D attraction company Simworx and John Davies of ticketing and access company Omniticket.
Sponsors of the event included Neptune Benson, Vekoma Rides Manufacturing, Herschend Family Entertaunment, theme park and attractions designer Jack Rouse Associates, Triotech and waterpark specialist Whitewater west. The afternoon’s hangovers were sponsored by Picsolve.
The tournament was won by the foursome of Six Flags’ Walt Bowser, John Andrews of Baynum Painting, and Bill Wright and Chas Kuhn, both of Ride Entertainment. The longest men’s drive was won by Jordan Hurley, of Formula One Driver, and the women’s by Picsolve’s Jessica McNaulo.
“I’m so pleased we continue to be a great international tournament—we have players from many, many countries, who enjoy this day as the opening of IAAPA Attractions Expo, ” said Bill Alter, co-chairman of the event. “Nothing could be greater than making a sizable contribution to Give Kids The World while having this much fun.”
Bill was spot on. A relaxed, cocktail fuelled morning stroll round a golf course with good friends and colleagues. The ideal curtain raiser.