The Links Fundraiser in partnership with Marriott Business Council made its debut on the Middle Eastern golfing calendar at Yas Links Abu Dhabi. Supported by club captains Carol Tweedie and Aart Lehmkuhl, the golf day was organised as a Team Shambles, with the event aiming to raise as much money as possible for good causes.
The official charity at the heart of the event is Operation Smile UAE, a non-profit medical service organisation which provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children. Operation Smile works as a non-governmental organisation globally to reduce the occurrence of cleft lips and palates, develops ambassadorships to raise awareness of cleft issues, sponsors a world care programme for international cases requiring special care, organises foundations worldwide to assist countries in reaching self-sufficiency with cleft surgeries as well as administering worldwide education programmes related to cleft issues.
Morag Cromey-Hawke, Executive Director, Operation Smile UAE, said: “Our job is to bring hope to families who have felt such anguish on behalf of their child. We are very lucky to see first-hand the difference our work does, particularly for parents. Events such as the Links Fundraiser are invaluable to us as an organisation, as a means of raising much needed funds and it’s even more gratifying to know that those who have been so generous in helping us were able to enjoy themselves in the process and raise awareness of the work we do.”
Both Yas Links Abu Dhabi and Marriott Business Council UAE did their bit on the day by providing around 80 prizes in total for a raffle and a hotly contested silent auction, which was supported by the generous amateur players who travelled from afar to take part in the day’s action. Experiences from Marriott International properties were auctioned, with the finest culinary teams from multiple hotels showcasing their best flavours. The event raised Dh93,500 for Operation Smile.
Matthias Widor, Cluster General Manager, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa and Courtyard Marriott Abu Dhabi WTC, commented: “The Links Fundraiser was a fantastic, unique event. As there is nothing better than raising valuable funds whilst participants can simultaneously enjoy themselves whilst playing golf. I am sure everyone enjoyed the on-course competitions, prizes and superb food and beverage throughout. It was brilliant to welcome so many familiar faces as possible on the day and I hope that this will become a regular fixture on the golfing calendar for years to come.”
The Team Shambles saw the best two scores from each four ball count, with an 85 per cent handicap allowance. Players without a handicap played off zero. A total of 78 players participated along with hotels including the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, The Abu Dhabi Edition, Aloft Abu Dhabi, Courtyard by Marriott, Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Grosvenor House and Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai.
Matthew Waters, Group Director of Golf, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Yas Links Abu Dhabi, said: “The Links Fundraiser was an unforgettable day out for our participating amateur golfers to compete in. All those involved were treated to a great day out and no doubt enjoyed a unique experience, yet more important is the role that events such as these play in terms of raising much needed funds for good causes and we were delighted to have Operation Smile UAE on-board as this year’s official charity.”