|SGC tourney benefits El Verano school; Chatlos on Schwab Cup - 4/8/2005|
By: Richard Davison, Sonoma Index Tribune 4/8/2005
.... With about Seven months to go until the 2005 Charles Schwab Cup Championship at the Sonoma Golf Club, tournament director Chad Chatlos is optimistic thaat this could be the best year yet.
"We are ahead of last year, and last year we were ahead of the year before, so it's a good sign," Chatlos said in a recent interview.
For Chatlos, the third year of a four-year contract with the PGA TOUR could be make-or-break time. Sunshine basked the players and the golf course during the tournament's first year in 2003, but with little prep time, the tourney did not attract the number of spectators that it could have.
With a better plan in place for 2004, it looked as though fans would be traveling from throughout the state to see the best players on the Champions Tour - but as luck would have it, the skkies opened. The tournament staff and greens keeprs did a great job just to get 72 holes played.
Now, with a new state-of-the-art clubhouse on the way for this year's tournament, Chatlos is optimistic.
"People are going to be excited about this facility. Mat Dunmyer and his staff have done an unbelievable job getting this course in the condition that it's in, and with the new staff in the pro shop, everything is looking good," said Chatlos.
Another area that Chatlos is excited about is the newly formed Ambassador's Club. Based loosely on the Thunderbirds, who put on the PGA TOUR's Phoenix Open, the Ambassador's Club assists with getting the word out about the tournament through the selling of group tickets to local businesses and business people.
By making a commitment to sell a minimum of $3,000 in tickets, Ambassador's Club members will play a critical role int the success of the tournament as well as help the local community. Chatlos said that much of the money brought in through ticket sales goes directly to the local charities.
"You just have to remember that every ticket goes back into the community. We have already given $640,000 to local charities in the first two years, and that doesn't include the $200,000 in free deental care that we have helped fund," Chatlos said.
Having said that, Chatlos is hopeful that locals will once again get behind the tournament, and those that have not embraced it in the past will do so this year.
"From a community standpoint, we benefit the economy by $6 million to $8 million when you takee into account hotels, restaurants and wineries, and I know of many individuals that have come here with their company , then returned when they realized what a great place this was tto visit," Chatlos added.
Anyone interested in more information or in joining, the Ambassador's Club, call the Champions Tour office at 707-939-4131.