More than 120 golfers braved the heat Friday morning to tee off at the 45th Annual La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership (LEAP) Play Day Golf Outing. Though the outing itself has been taking place for years, this was LEAP’s first time hosting it as a new organization.
“We are one large organization built from a partnership between what was formerly known as the La Porte Chamber of Commerce and the La Porte Economic Development Program,” said Bert Cook, LEAP Executive Director. “Today is an opportunity for us to get together all of our members, have them come out and enjoy the day while also networking with each other.”
Funds from the outing will go toward helping LEAP make La Porte a place where businesses and residents can thrive.
“We’re a membership-driven organization, so we really appreciate events like this,” Cook said.
With 32 foursomes composed of various LEAP members taking to the course, the outing had a great turnout.
“They look forward to this event, and many of these companies play year after year,” Cook said. “Their support, and that of all our sponsors, is much appreciated. The commitment of our business organizations to be here today is really important to us.”
The outing took place at Beechwood Golf Club, a course noted for its long-time role as host for the event, and for a strong history of its own. Attendee Brian Chalik had a personal connection with the course and can attest to its legacy. Chalik funded Beechwood’s pavilion in honor of his parents and participates in the outing every year.
“Beechwood was at one time one of the top 100 municipal golf courses in the United States of America,” Chalik said. “I actually worked here as a kid, and currently live on the 16th hole. I’ve always loved Beechwood, it really feels like my golf course,” Chalik said.
Jen Noll, Human Resource Director for the City of La Porte, has been coming out to play for a few years.
“It’s been a great experience every year, so I was really looking forward to this one,” Noll said.
Various contests were held at different holes to keep the fun going, including a games for Hole-in-One, Longest Drive, Fastest Hole, and Putting. Refreshments in the form of cold water, soft drinks, beer, and a food truck provided by premier event sponsor Blue Chip Casino were available throughout the day to help keep players cool and refreshed in the summer heat.
“The amount of people out here even with the hot weather is just really refreshing,” said Jim Pressel, Indiana State Representative for District 20. “It’s great to see the local business community come out and play in something like this to support everything LEAP is doing. Having all these business leaders here is just huge for La Porte County and I love it!”
Several sponsor tents lined the course, chatting and playing games with golfers as they passed. CompressAir and 1st Source Bank were represented by Brittany Fisher and Karri Krumnow respectively.
“We’re a sponsor of the event and we also have a team out here today,” Fisher said. “We’re proud to be part of LEAP, and love being out here supporting the community.”
“1st Source is always just happy to get out in the area, support the community, get a day out of the office, enjoy the fun and talk with different people,” Krumnow added.
LEAP will no doubt use the momentum from the day’s success to continue to grow propel La Porte forward.