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Forest Park G.C. hosting benefit tourney for D.A.D.S.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

By CAREY FOX

Times Sports Editor

Forest Park Golf Course plays host to quite a few golf tournaments over the course of the spring through fall seasons, but few of them will be for as good a cause as the one on June 17.

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The First Annual ESPN Sports Radio and Dad's Root Beer Golf Tournament sponsored by Michelob Ultra will provide proceeds to the Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.) foundation.

The tourney, which will be Friday, June 17, is a four-man scramble format and will cost $200 per team with the winning team receiving $400 to the clubhouse and the second-place team receiving $200. There will also be plenty of door prizes as lunch will begin at noon, and golf at 1 p.m.

Recently, ESPN Radio's Zack Keyes and Scott Jones participated in a charity golf outing that represented D.A.D.S. in Indianapolis and had the chance to talk with Executive Director, Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez about the group and how she became involved.

While Tokarz-Gutierrez does not have a child with Down Syndrome, she felt encouraged to join the program and help since the organization has helped people around the world.

Joe Mears, the Founder of Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome, was also on hand and discussed how the group began back in 2002.

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ESPN Radio personalities Zack Keyes (left) and Scott Jones (right) are pictured with D.A.D.S. Executive Director Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez at last week's Indianapolis charity golf event.
Mears attended a meeting that originated as mostly women attending and after several meetings he felt that he could start a group for men that targeted the fathers of children with Down Syndrome.

"This all started with eight guys meeting at a house," Mears explained. "So I contacted the few guys that I knew that had children with Down Syndrome and we haven't stopped meeting ever since," Mears said. "Today, there are nearly 50 chapters all over the United States, two in Canada and one in the UK, Ireland and Australia!"

Tokarz-Gutierrez pointed out that there are plenty of local chapters for people to get involved with in Indiana as well.

"The main chapter is in downtown Indianapolis, however, there are many establishments around the state of Indiana so fathers do not have to drive very far to meet with other Dads," she said. "For instance, there are establishments in Kokomo, Muncie, and yes Terre Haute. The Terre Haute establishment has been up and running for a while and is always looking for more dads to join. For more information about the Terre Haute establishment, contact Joe Mears at www.dadsnational.org.\"

The D.A.D.S group not only has meetings where fathers can get together, but organizes camp outs for both fathers and sons to go fishing and hang out with their peers. They have a hayride and a cook out in the fall and also get together for a holiday celebration.

The cornerstone of the D.A.D.S. groups is the monthly meeting where members come together to share insights and experiences. Expert speakers are often invited to discuss medical, educational, financial, social and any other issues that affect their children's lives.

At the Indianapolis event, Jones and Keyes had the opportunity to speak with world-renowned golf course designer, Pete Dye, who was on hand to support the cause. There was a record 318 golfers that attended the event and Dye was on hand to discuss his new book, "The Course."

Keyes chose to get involved as he looked for a charitable organization that would benefit from a future golf outing.

"I wanted to find a charity that I knew helped men. I got some assistance from local golf pro, Mark Rogers," Keyes said. "We sat down and discussed Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome, and then I contacted them and spoke with Lisa Tozark-Gutierrez for about a month and then decided that this was the organization we would choose to help raise money for from our golf outing."

While early fundraising efforts have been steady, Keyes noted the event is still looking for hole sponsors as well as golfers to join the tournament.

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Zack Keyes and Scott Jones had the opportunity to meet legendary golf course designer, Pete Dye, at a D.A.D.S. charity event in Indianapolis last weekend.
"The fundraising has been decent for now, but we are hoping for more hole sponsors in the next week or so to help raise a little more money," Keyes said. "We are hoping for a great turn out at the golf course on Friday, June 17th. This is our first annual tournament so I know it will not be completely packed, but we are planning to makes this an annual event so that people can have some fun and also help out a very cool organization in D.A.D.S.

"We are encouraging everyone to get signed up for this event," Keyes added. "We have a lot of great door prizes and are very excited about the opportunity to donate money to Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome."

Golfers can pick up registration forms at Forest Park Golf Course, Riddell National Bank or at ESPN Sports Radio's studio at 1301 Ohio Street, Terre Haute. Golfers are encouraged to return forms back to either Forest Park Golf Course or the ESPN Sports Radio Studio by June 16. Last-minute golfers will also be included and anyone interested in sponsoring a hole should contact Keyes before June 12. For more information, call 812-223-0621.