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Sellout for second Starr Classic

Courtesy Paxton Kahentaiesen Phillips

TSN 690 radio host and golf lover Shaun Starr couldn’t have asked for a better day at the links for the second edition of the Starr Classic.

Nearly 150 golfers came together on a sunny September 11 at the Kanawaki Golf Club to play in the team golf tournament. Proceeds from the event went towards the Club 24 Athletics Foundation, which aims to help young Kahnawa’kehró:non become leaders through sports and education.

Starr said he first had the idea for the tournament last year as a way to connect with his listeners, after repeatedly getting asked by them to put together a tournament. 

“I said, ‘Look, if you really want me to do this, and you’re serious, and we can raise money for something important, I’ll organize it,” said Starr. While admittedly put together a little last minute, the first edition still attracted around 40 players as well as corporate support and sponsorships.

Then, Club 24’s Paul Rice, also Starr’s friend, approached him to organize the second edition.

“I’m passionate about golf, athletics, and helping students, and I love the community in Kahnawake, so to me it was a natural fit,” said Starr.

Sponsors soon approached Starr and the organizing team to get in on the action, including Harnois, Dickson Golf, and the Kahnawake Brewing Company.

“It was mostly experienced players, but it was open to everyone, and we had a good mix of different players,” said Kerry Goodleaf, one of the founders of Club 24. 

Starr wanted the tournament to be accessible to his listeners, no matter their skill level.

“I wanted it to be open to normal people, so as many people who wanted to play and have a good time and support something important could participate,” said Starr. 

The radio host said that he was under a lot of self-applied pressure to run a good tournament.

“The worst case scenario is that people think it’s boring, or a waste of time and money and they never want to do something like this again,” he said.

Luckily, that was far from being the case. 

“We had a collective vision of what would make a good tournament. We had a good pace of play, good drinks and food, premium auction prizing and goodie bags that people would want to keep and get, and a DJ to spin some music and give a great ambiance. I’m proud to say we hit all the marks,” said Starr.

“We really put on a show,” said Goodleaf, who was able to play in the tournament and enjoy it as a participant as well as an organizer.

“To have been golfing all day, then right before the silent auction just seeing everyone in the packed veranda enjoying the last few days of summer, it really let us witness the success of what we did,” he said.

At time of writing, the tournament and auctions raised more than $70,000, with more money being tallied.

Paxton Kahentaiesen Phillips, one of the members of the organizing team, said Club 24 will continue to find new ways to sponsor young athletes.

“The tournament went great and absolutely exceeded all expectations we had,” said Phillips.

More concrete details of what programs or events the money will go towards will come once their 2024 events calendar is finalized.

“It’s a really pleasant surprise, to be honest,” said Starr of the money raised. “I was thinking to myself, ‘If I can be in (the newspapers) with one of those big novelty checks for $25,000, I’m going to be beside myself.’ So to have raised $70,000 and counting – it makes me so proud of being a part of the team.”

This article was originally published in print on Friday, September 15, in issue 32.37 of The Eastern Door.

Olivier Cadotte
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