LivAbility Magazine

Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center kicked off its fifth anniversary celebration with the 360Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, Sept. 23 at Longbow Golf Club. The event was sold out with a full field of 144 golfers. Each foursome included a member of the Ability360 community – both members and staff – with and without disabilities, to show our mission in action.

“The Area Agency on Aging has a longstanding partnership with Ability360 and we were so pleased to be part of the golf tournament to support an organization that does such important work in our community,” said Mary Lynn Kasunic, President and CEO of Area Agency on Aging, an event Gold sponsor.

The event raised over $45,000, which will help further the mission of the Sports & Fitness Center to promote the independence, health, and overall well-being of people with disabilities.

The team of Andrew Welty, Mike Welty, Ted Welty, and Joe Lloyd captured first place and the team of Court Fable, Alfred Hackbarth, Larry Klassen, and Daniel Hernandez came in a close second by only one shot.

“My father and I had a great time at the outing, the enthusiasm and positive energy of the people involved is contagious! With the help of all the great people at Ability360, my dad got to get out and play golf for the first time in almost 5 years and the first time since losing part of his right leg,” said winning team member Andrew Welty.

“I had a great time getting out of my bubble and interacting with the public in this welcoming space. I can’t wait to do more golfing with Ability360 and Longbow.”

Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center member, J. P. Villont said, “The inaugural Ability360 golf tournament was fantastic! The weather was perfect. The course was beautiful. The golfers I got a chance to speak with were friendly and eager to assist, as were the 360 staff, as always! I had a great time getting out of my bubble and interacting with the public in this welcoming space. I can’t wait to do more golfing with Ability360 and Longbow. Thanks for the invite!”

The day culminated in a helicopter ball drop fundraiser featuring the Coyotes own mascot, Howler. A record 1,450 balls were dropped by Howler from the helicopter hovering above the green. As the balls rolled into the hole, Coyotes Foundation Board Member Ken Bonham assisted Ability360 in retrieving the winning balls. The first place winner Edward Antos received a 12-person luxury suite to a Coyotes home game donated by the Coyotes Foundation. The second place winner Lori McLeod received a VIP package to the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by the Ak-Chin Indian Community compliments of The Thunderbirds. The third place winner Nancy Bates received a beautiful pair of 18k white gold earrings and charms generously donated by Oliver Smith Jeweler.

This successful event could not have been made possible without the generosity from all of our sponsors including host course, Longbow Golf Club.

Longbow Golf Club began over ten years ago to actively support adaptive golf and the disability communities it serves,” said Bob McNichols, Developer and General Manager of Longbow Golf Club. “As one of the first public access courses in Arizona to test, purchase and offer specialized adaptive golf cars, to hosting clinics and events for youth and adults to learn to play the game of golf, Longbow Golf Club was proud to be selected as the host facility for the Inaugural Ability360 Charity Golf event honoring the Fifth Anniversary of the Sports & Fitness Center. As a leader in youth, collegiate and professional golfers in Arizona, Longbow Golf Club will continue to support Ability360 and its efforts to promote adaptive golf in any way possible.”

“Our sincere thanks to all the event donors – from sponsorships to tee signs to the ball drop – every dollar will enhance the programming we offer at the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center,” said Phil Pangrazio, President and CEO of Ability360. “With the great success of this year’s event, we hope to continue the tradition next year!”