Golf is one of the most popular sports in Bermuda and its 10 golf courses attract a lot of tourists. Some like Port Royal Golf Course, that is hosting this year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, is even considered as one of the best public courses in the world. What better then than a golf tournament to organise a charity event on the island? Created in 1993, the Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic has become a very popular event and was voted Most Charitable Charity in this year’s Best of Bermuda Awards by The Bermudian.
The success of the charity event has allowed its organisers to raise more than $2.7 million (£1.7 million) for 65 Bermudian charities. This was a wish from Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot that every penny went to local charities. Ross was part of the Talbot Brothers, a famous Bermudian musical group made of brothers Ross, Archie, Austin, Roy and Bryan and their cousin Mandy. They started during WWII and became ambassadors of Bermuda after the war, performing for the greatest including Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Babe Ruth or Winston Churchill.
The Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic was started as a golf outing organised by Ross’s son, Clement who wanted his father’s 75th birthday to be marked with an event that would be remembered. Ross was an avid golfer and 28 of his friends and old colleagues took part in the match to celebrate his birthday.
What made this event the first unofficial edition of the Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic was that the participants decided to donate funds to honour their friend they considered as a living example of the Bermudian spirit. This day, on top of the green fees, $500 were collected for local charities. It was such a success that the decision was taken to hold the event again the following year and to make it an official fund-raising tournament.
On top of local charities, the tournament has also helped more than 40 students to go further in their education through the Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Education Awards. It has also provided almost $3 million (£1.9 million) in raffle prizes. In total, over 8,000 players have taken part in the event since it began.
Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot died in 2000 at the age of 82 and was the penultimate survivor of the Talbot Brothers. His brother Roy Talbot was the last surviving member of the group and died in 2009. The invitational charity golf tournament is the representation of Ross’s legacy of caring and a testament to the love he always had for Bermuda.
Just after the end of this year’s tournament, there has been concerns that the Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic might see its last edition next year. It will be the 20th anniversary of the charity event and with the current financial difficulties to maintain the tournament’s high standards, it was decided to end it before it goes into decline. This is added to the fact that many long-serving members of the executive committee were planned to step down in 2012.
No doubt that next year’s edition will be a memorable one and that everyone will do their best to end the Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic on a high. This will probably leave a gap in the local community but we can always count on the Bermudians to come up with another idea to keep alive the spirit of solidarity that is at the heart of the island.
Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic – Suite 787, 48 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton, HM 11; 441 299 5147; http://www.rbtcharitygolf.org/
Ross ‘Blackie’ Talbot Charity Classic – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles – ‘Things to do in Bermuda’ series!
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