The 20th Annual Willie Carter/Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Golf Classic on Monday, August 20 will raise money for scholarships and an endowment fund that guarantees the group’s scholarships and youth mentoring program will continue forever. After two eventful decades, this spectacular, prize-rich golf tournament has established itself as an annual fixture on the Hudson Valley links scene. Sponsored by the New Windsor-based Major General Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter of the national Tuskegee Airmen organization, the tournament memorializes both the famous World War II all-black fighter and bomber squadrons and the late, great Orange County golfer and educator, Willie Carter. Carter was an African-American pioneer in promoting young golfers as well as his students at Mechanicstown Elementary School, where he served as Principal.
Play will tee off with a 10:00 a.m. shotgun start at West Hills Country Club, in Middletown. Registration and breakfast will begin at 9:00 a.m., amongst a rich selection of silent auction items. Beverage carts will be available on the course, with lunch at the turn. The greens fee is $150.00 per golfer, with food, reception, and a golf cart included.
This year, the Trowell-Harris Chapter’s special guests will be “the Sisters on the Fairway”– five African-American women golfers from York County, PA who attracted national attention this past April when police were summoned and they were ordered to leave a golf course for “playing too slowly.” (Video and bystander reports subsequently revealed that “playing too slowly” may have been code for “golfing while black.”)
After play, golfers will gather for the tourney’s famous helicopter golf ball drop, featuring a Stewart Airport-based Robinson R44 helicopter flying above the practice green and spilling a basket of marked golf balls. The helicopter ball drop is a fundraiser open to anyone – not just golfers participating in the Classic. The buyer of the marked ball closest to the pin wins a one-week stay at a Colorado ski resort timeshare during Christmas week. Balls can be purchased online for $10 each (discounts for multiple-ball entries) online at https://secure.perfectgolfevent.com/eventweb/6647/details.php. BMW of the Hudson Valley is also providing a new BMW as a hole-in-one prize.
All funds raised by the Willie Carter Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Golf Classic and the golf ball drop will support the Trowell-Harris Chapter’s youth mentoring and scholarship programs as well as the Hudson Valley Tuskegee Airmen Endowment Fund, a charitable component fund of the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan. For registration and further information, go to www.tai-ny.com or call (845) 838-7848.
About the Tuskegee Airmen: The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators — both pilots and ground support personnel — in the United States Armed Forces. They flew and fought during World War II, when black Americans in many U. S. states were still subject to Jim Crow laws and the American military was racially segregated, as was much of the Federal Government. They trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Tuskegee, Alabama. The New Windsor, NY-based Maj. Gen. Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman preserves their legacy by awarding scholarships and offering both a youth mentor-ship program and pilot training for young aviators. www.tai-ny.org