Marathon Classic to offer kids’ area, free police, fire, military entryWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | email@example.com
Kids’ activities and free admission for active-duty military members, police officers and firefighters are among the changes planned for this year’s Marathon Classic.
The best female golfers in the world will once again set their sights on Sylvania this summer as Highland Meadows Golf Club hosts the LPGA golf tournament July 17-20 and organizers are planning a few updates in an effort to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
Admission for children 17 and younger has always been free with the purchase of an adult ticket, but new this year will be more activities for kids, said Director of Marketing Jim Decker.
“There’s going to be lots of different things for kids that we’ve never really had in the past,” Decker said. “The parents can have a great time (at the tournament) and obviously the kids can too. They can get up close to the golf and that type of thing, but especially the younger ones you want to keep them busy doing other things. It should be fun.”
A schedule is still being finalized, but planned activities will include a scavenger hunt, mascot day, face painting and more, Decker said.
All active duty police officers, firefighters and military members will be admitted free along with one guest. In the past, active-duty military members have been admitted free, but this year the offer is also extended to active duty police officers and firefighters as well as for a guest.
“It’s just a way of thanking them for all they do for us,” Decker said.
Silverman said it means a lot to be able to give back to service members.
“That’s what this tournament is all about, is giving back,” Silverman said. “Not only do we raise funds for charity, but to be able to allow active service people into the tournament is just another way to help the community and provide an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy the greatest women golfers in the world.”
Several local active military members will be recognized July 20 on the 18th green. The hole’s pin flag will have a patriotic theme and will be held by a different military member during each group of golfers playing the hole.
“It’s going to be a pretty neat thing,” Decker said. “We’re really excited to give recognition to those who serve us throughout their careers.”
Another new addition will be the Labatt Blue Royale Party Deck at the 14th green. For a daily $50 ticket upgrade, guests will have access to a VIP area, drinks and snacks, Decker said.
“That will be fun,” Silverman said.
“It’s just going to be a nice add-on to all the fun stuff that already happens at 14,” Decker said.
On Friday, the 14th hole transforms into Club 14, featuring caddie races, crowd banter, cheering and more.
“[The golfers] get a kick out of it,” Silverman said. “Players appreciate when people are enthusiastic about being out here, as long as it’s done tastefully. They love it. They love the attention. They appreciate it.”
NASCAR legend Richard Petty will be on hand to sign autographs on July 17.
“That will be neat,” Silverman said. “To have a legendary NASCAR person there might bring in a lot of new people who maybe haven’t been out here.”
Among the 144-woman field at the Marathon Classic, presented by Owens Corning and Owens-Illinois, will be defending champion Beatriz Recari of Spain, Toledo-born Stacy Lewis, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, teen phenom Lydia Ko, former champions So Yeon Ryu, Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Paula Creamer and many more.
Last year’s tournament raised $378,000 for 23 regional children’s charities, Silverman said, and organizers are aiming to raise even more this year.
This year’s charities are Special Kids Therapy, Ryan’s Place, Findlay Family YMCA, Gliding Stars of Findlay, Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth, Camp Fire Northwest Ohio, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Toledo, Putnam County Educational Service Center, CASA Monroe, Christian Clearing House, Friends of the Findlay-Hancock County Library, Mobile Meals of Toledo, CASA Toledo, The Arts Partnership of Hancock County, Junior Achievement, Children’s Hunger Alliance and Ann Grady Services.
“Having Marathon as the title sponsor has been tremendous,” Silverman said. “The tournament has never been in better financial standing and we want to raise as much money as we possibly can for children’s charities in the area while putting on a first-class sporting event for the community.”
Marathon’s involvement goes beyond financial support, he said.
“They are engaged in the marketing of the event, the fundraising of the event, they’ve come up with new ideas,” Silverman said.
Silverman said sponsorship sales have already exceeded goals.
“To know those sales are already committed is a great feeling. Now our attention focuses on the execution of the event,” Silverman said.
The annual tournament generates millions of dollars in economic impact for the region each year, Silverman said.
Tickets are available online at marathonclassic.com or at local Kroger stores.
Ticket prices are $50 for a weekly grounds badge, $100 for a weekly clubhouse badge or $15 (Monday-Friday) to $20 (Saturday-Sunday) for daily passes. Kids 17 and younger are free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Active duty military, firefighters and police officers also get free admission along with one guest. When purchased in advance at Kroger stores, the weekly grounds badge is buy one, get one free, Decker said. All ticket proceeds go to the charity of your choice. Parking is $10 weekly or $5 daily.
Recari, who visited Sylvania on June 9 to host a kids’ golf clinic and speak at a media luncheon, said she always enjoys playing at the Marathon Classic.
“I really feel this is a very special event,” she said. “I always think the crowd you get here without being a major is amazing. You feel that the entire town cares for the tournament and they come for it and they want to watch you and they know your name.”
“We’re just excited,” Silverman said. “We’ve got a great field, a great defending champion. Now we just want to get as many people out here as we can so they can enjoy these great professionals.”
For more information, visit marathonclassic.com.
Tags: Ann Grady Services, Beatriz Recari, Camp Fire Northwest Ohio, CASA Monroe, CASA Toledo, Children's Hunger Alliance, Christian Clearing House, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Toledo, Findlay Family YMCA, Friends of the Findlay-Hancock County Library, Gliding Stars of Findlay, Jim Decker, Judd Silverman, Junior Achievement, Marathon Classic, Mobile Meals of Toledo, Putnam County Educational Service Center, Ryan's Place, Special Kids Therapy, Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth, The Arts Partnership of Hancock County