There are many reasons to support Las Vegas’ annual PGA Tour event, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Two that quickly come to mind are some of the world’s best golfers play in the tournament and the hospitality is top notch for entertaining.
But another reason — and maybe the most important — is the positive impact made by the tournament hosts, the Shriners organization. I recently was reminded about their good deeds when Bob Coffin, Las Vegas city councilman and fellow Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame committee member, forwarded an email about recent Shriners efforts.
The news was from Mexico and detailed how the Shriners organization was assisting Mexico City residents after a massive fireworks explosion that killed or injured more than 100 people. Many suffered severe burns. Shriners doctors are world renowned for their burn care.
After the blast, medical personnel from Shriners Hospitals in Mexico and Galveston, Texas, were activated and sent to the site. Both hospitals also received patients and provided services to them. Other locations in Boston, Cincinnati and Northern California were put on standby.
As per the Shriners’ charter, all care was provided free of charge, just as it has been for thousands of patients from Southern Nevada who have been treated at Shriners Hospitals.
So when you make your New Year’s resolutions, include attending the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, scheduled for Oct. 30 to Nov. 5.
One of the many characters on the Las Vegas golf scene is Mike Milke, who played for UNLV under legendary basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian from 1974 to 1978. He’s generally regarded as a bench player, but was a team captain during his senior year and started his final game at Kentucky in famed Rupp Arena.
The most memorable teams he played on were in 1976 and 1977, when UNLV averaged more than 100 points a game. The teams were known as the Hardway Eight, and they put Tarkanian’s fast-paced offense and menacing defensive style of play on the college basketball map when they reached the Final Four.
Milke, a 10.9 handicap, now is a golf club attendant at Boulder Creek and Durango courses after serving as a physical education teacher at Hyde Park Middle School for 31 years. He was introduced to the sport several decades ago by John Nelson, the golf coach at Clark High when future PGA Tour player Robert Gamez played there.
“I feel immense pride,” Milke said about being a part of the Rebels. “All of my teammates are like brothers, and we’re very sad we didn’t win it all in 1977. We think we had the best team, but we feel a lot of pride in being the group that started it all. I remember Tark was strictly basketball, and our practices were three hours of hell.
“Working at the courses gives me the chance to talk to people and share my stories about the glory days. I feel blessed to be out there. It’s like being back in the locker room.”
RECRUIT LOOK CHAMPS
Rebecca Oertel, Carolyn Lemon, Carson Murphy, Yana Wilson, Austen Ancell, Kemeron Kelsey, Dylan Girouard and Shenlone Wu were the players of the year in their Recruit Look tour divisions.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
Play the Concord or Lexington course at Revere Golf Club any day for $15 after 1:30 p.m. in December or after 2 p.m. in January.
STARS ON, OFF COURSE
Golf Digest world No. 1 instructor Butch Harmon, who operates his school at Rio Secco, attended the UNLV-Southern Illinois basketball game Dec. 19 at the Thomas & Mack Center. He is a season-ticket holder.
The golf notebook appears Thursdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @LVGolfInsider.