Local families host Jamie Farr golfersWritten by Mary Petrides | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Golfers competing in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic often rely on Toledo area residents for their housing during tournament week.
Host families must provide a place for the golfers to sleep and give them privacy, according to a letter Nora Longthrone, private housing chairwoman, sends to host families. Other than that, there are hardly any rules.
Often, golfers and their host families develop a close relationship, eating dinner together and keeping in contact after the tournament is done.
The Stevens family
Anna Rawson is an Australian model and professional golfer — and for the past three years, she’s spent a week living with the Stevens family in Ottawa Hills.
“It’s like having a celebrity,” Cari Stevens said.
Kevin Stevens is on the board of directors for the golf classic, and at the last minute Longthrone called him. More golfers needed housing and she began calling board members, including Kevin.
Kevin, Cari and their three children have enjoyed hosting Rawson —and Rawson has enjoyed staying with them. Last year, Rawson wrote on her blog that the Jamie Farr tournament “is one of my favorite events. Probably because I have the best host family —the Stevens.”
Rawson has been to Tony Packo’s and a July 4th fireworks show with the Stevens family and even took the kids out to dinner when their parents were out for the night.
Lindsey Stevens, 16, said Rawson let her listen to a voicemail when Justin Timberlake had left on the golfer’s phone.
Cari said she tries to make things easy on the golfer and will make sure she has her kitchen stocked appropriately when Rawson comes.
“She’s very particular about her diet,” Cari said. “She’s really into clean, whole food.”
One time, Cari said, Rawson gave Cari her cell phone and asked her to screen her calls. Some male was going to ask Rawson out, and she didn’t want to go.
“I felt a little bit like mother hen keeping eyes on her,” Cari said.
Kevin said he was surprised at how little time Rawson spends at home.
“She travels an incredible amount,” he said. “She goes home every couple months.”
A professional athlete’s life is glamorous sometimes, Cari said, but not all the time.
For every hour of [glamour], there’s 20 hours of work,” she said. “Anna’s life, is a lot more work than people think.”
The Stevens said hosting a golfer gives them a personal connection to the tournament, and they enjoy having Rawson stay with them.
“She’s really a delight to have,” Cari said.
Jim and Jackie Enderlen had hosted golfers from 1996 to 2001, but took a two-year break. In 2004, they were sitting on their patio discussing whether to ask for another golfer when the phone rang.
It was the Jamie Farr committee and they were looking for a host family for a golfer with “unusual circumstances.”
The golfer would be bringing along her brother, who caddied for her, and her mother.
“I said ‘Well, let us think about it,’” Jim said. He called back the same evening and told the committee worker that the Enderlens would take all three.
“And that was Brittany,” Jim said.
Brittany Lang, her brother Luke and her mother Pam have been staying with the Enderlens every year except one since then.
“It’s truly like having your child come home — ‘Hey Brittany, how’d you do today?’” Jackie said.
Jackie said the family doesn’t go out for July 4th celebrations in order to make it easier for Lang to manage her time. Golf is her job, Jackie said, and the Enderlens don’t want to interrupt.
“We more or less allow her to dictate her own schedule,” Jackie said.
Lang sometimes goes for bike rides with Jackie or goes with the Enderlens to a pool for swimming, the Enderlens said.
“Luke and Brittany are both very competitive,” Jackie said.
One time, they set up a putt-putt course in their house and sent the ball ricocheting off walls and around kitchen counters.
The course consisted of one par 8 hole, they said, and the game gave way to a rematch, then a best-two-out-of-three tournament — then best-three-out-of-five.
The Enderlens don’t remember who won, and neither does Lang. Everyone said it was fun.
“That was hysterical,” Lang said in a June 16 phone interview. “We were screaming, it was so much fun.”
The Enderlens said they have enjoyed hosting Lang.
“Having a golfer … makes the tournament so much more fun,” Jackie said. “You have a personal interest in someone to go follow and cheer on.”
Lang has enjoyed it, too.
“It’s really the upside of the week,” she said. “Staying with the Enderlens is fun: you’re in a house, you get homecooked meals. That’s really the most fun part of the week, no question.”
A moment with Anna Rawson
Anna Rawson doesn’t usually stay with a host family when she’s on tour, but in Toledo she does.
In 2008, her first year with the LPGA and her first year coming to Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
“I didn’t know anyone, so I felt a little bit lonely,” she said, “so I decided to stay in housing and try and meet people.”
She met the Stevens family and she’s stayed with them every year since.
“I love staying with the Stevens,” she said. “I feel like part of the family when I’m with them.”
Last year, she said, she watched Twilight with Lindsay Stevens, 16.
“She made me obsessed about that whole series,” Rawson said. She read the first book and finished the next three in a month, she said.
Rawson, who was born in Australia and lives in Los Angeles, has been golfing for 15 years. This is her sixth year golfing professionally and her third year golfing in the LPGA tour.
“When I got out of college, I made it a goal of mine,” Rawson said. “I said I wanted to play professionally and I wanted to find the best tour in the world. It took me three years to get there and I made the tour … now it’s been three years. Time flies.”
The Jamie Farr classic is one of her favorite tournaments, she said.
“I love playing in Toledo. I love the area. I think it’s beautiful,” she said.
Last year, she played with Farr in the Pro-Am. She called him a “very sweet Toledoan.”
Rawson said she loves coming to Toledo.
“It’s always a really fun Pro-Am and really good fans, and it’s just a great community. I think they really appreciate having us, and we love coming there. It’s great,” she said.
Rawson has competed in 5 events this year.
In addition to golf, Rawson is a model and syndicated golf columnist.