PGA Tour-test your skills at TPC Scottsdale in the '09 FBR Open Charity Classic

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Okay, you're not likely to get heckled, but if you would like to know what it's like to play golf at the PGA Tour's FBR Open at the TPC at Scottsdale Stadium Course, you might want to stick around after the event.

TPC at Scottsdale - Stadium course
The FBR Open attracts more than 500,000 fans to Scottsdale each year.
TPC at Scottsdale - Stadium course
If you go

On Monday, Feb. 2, golfers can play in the 2009 FBR Open Charity Classic. During the event, the TPC at Scottsdale Stadium Course will be set up just like it was for Sunday's final round of the FBR Open - same pins, same grandstands and fresh memories of the most attended event on the PGA Tour.

What will be missing, of course, are the half million fans in the gallery, but all you have to do is use your imagination a little. And don't worry, if you hit a bad shot on the famous par-3 16th, more than likely someone from your foursome or one of the volunteers will let you have it - just in good fun.

"You get a great feel for what the pros go through, especially when you step on the holes that are lined on both sides with skyboxes and bleachers and concession stands," said Tim Louis, tournament chair.

The event is open to 120 players. The registration fee is $1,500 per player and includes beverages, dinner, awards ceremony, tee prizes and, of course, playing at the Jay Morrish-Tom Weiskopf designed Stadium Course in pristine tour conditions.

The course was designed to host almost unlimited crowds and offers fans views of several holes at once. The Monday charity event is noon shotgun start. The format is modified scramble, meaning players will select the best drive from each foursome, then play their own ball to the hole.

For a great cause

This year, the sole beneficiary of the FBR Charity Classic is Desert Voices, a Phoenix-based school dedicated to teaching deaf children speech and language skills. Louis is president of the school's board of directors and also a member of the Thunderbirds, a local charity with a 74-year association with the Phoenix-area PGA Tour event.

For the past five years, the Thunderbirds have donated the course for the FBR Charity Classic. Before then, private corporate events were conducted on the course.

"When that went away, the Thunderbirds thought it was a great opportunity to make the course available to a charity," Louis said. The Thunderbirds also secure the catering contract for the event as well as most of the beverages.

In short, almost all of the money raised goes toward funding the non-profit Desert Voices. This year, the fund-raising goal is $250,000, or around 15 percent of the school's overall budget, said Desert Voices Executive Director Emily Lawson.

"We're a school that teaches deaf children how to speak," Lawson said. "It's not just the words; it's the language. It's the subtle nuances that's going to let them be successful in spoken language."

The school does not teach sign language or lip reading.

"Our kids are severely to profoundly deaf," Lawson said. "So without the benefit of a cochlear implant or a high-power digital hearing aid, they do not have access to their hearing. That technology allows them to have access to their hearing. We help them determine what it is they are hearing."

The school currently has 57 students - 26 in its early intervention program (three months to 3 years old) and 31 students ages 3 to 8.

See where your money goes

Those who play in the tournament will get to meet some of the students as well as alumni and parents who volunteer in registration, food and beverage, as spotters on the par 3s or helping with the blind auction on the course. Every other hole (nine in all) will feature an item - trips, cases of wine, bicycles, for example - for the blind auction.

"If you ever get a chance to meet them, they are pretty amazing. You wouldn't even know that they are deaf. They can hold a conversation like you or I can," Lawson said. "Nothing speaks louder than getting a chance to meet one of our students or one of our alumni and having that conversation one-on-one and realizing deaf children are able to speak."

Sign up for the 2009 FBR Open Charity Classic

In addition to playing spots, partner packages that include hole sponsorships are also available. The packages range from $5,000 to $25,000.

For more information or to register, call (602) 224-0598 or e-mail

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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