On my last trip to Palm Springs I had the opportunity to participate in the annual Childhelp Celebrity Golf Invitational at Porcupine Creek and the Indian Wells Golf Resort held each January in the California desert.
Because I am an avid golfer, my friends and I put together a foursome that included actor, producer and football star Fred “the Hammer” Williamson for two days of fantastic golf action.
On the first day our group was picked up at the Hyatt Grand Champions In Indian Wells where we were taken to the private estate of Oracle founder and billionaire Larry Ellison. Known as Porcupine Creek this estate and private golf course is located in Rancho Mirage up against the mountain. It is surrounded by the most beautiful grounds I have ever seen. In addition to a private residence of 35,000 feet, the grounds contain four guest houses the smallest of which is 4,000 feet.. Needless to say, our day of golf on this one – of – kind property was like spending a day in the Garden of Eden.
Our second day of golf was played at the Indian Wells Golf Resort on the Celebrity Course. Known for its well maintained greens and serene atmosphere this course is adjacent to the very ritzy IW Club. The Club and the course were closed for the event, but I understand that it is normally open to the public.
Along with the two days of golf came the three nights of parties which were held at Hyatt Grand Champions Ballroom. Our wives joined us for these festivities and the food and entertainment was top drawer.
Baseball great Johnny Bench was the top celebrity winner over the course of the two day event and I had a chance to talk to Johnny, who played with his son. In addition, there were another twenty or so celebrities participated in the event, each of them paired with a different different team over the course of the two days of golf. Among some of the other daily celebrities that I saw, were baseball Hall of Famer Steve Garvey, football player & actor Ed Marinaro, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer from KISS, Dancing with the Stars personality Tony Dovolina, All My Children Actor John Callahan, and lead singer from the rock group Loverboy Mike Reno. Beside the golf awards, there were other honors that were extended to those that had been huge supporters of ChildHelp.
On the first night, donors like Ron and Sherrie Auen from the Berger foundation and “Wild Bill” Bill Laughlin were among those that were congratulated for their untiring work and generosity. There were also silent and live auctions which brought in many dollars to help the charity. The highlight of that event came when “Wild Bill” donated $100,000 to help build an outdoor recreation center. It was incredible as mouths dropped and breaths gasp at the generosity that was extended.
As the evening drew to a close we were entertained by the smooth sounds of singer Jon Secada along with a variety of bands that played the final night, allowing guests the opportunity to show off their dance moves.
All – in – all a great time was had by my group and you can be sure that this event is on my calendar for next season.
Mitchell Sussman has been a television producer for the past twenty five years. In that time he has produced adventure travel programming for such networks as Travel Channel, PBS, Fox Sports Net, Star TV and many others.