Virgen's View: One big party at Mesa Verde Classic

January 22, 2013|By Steve Virgen
  • Tom Lamore tiptoes as he tries to keep his balance on a mechanic surfboard during the Mesa Verde Classic charity golf event at Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa on Monday.
Tom Lamore tiptoes as he tries to keep his balance on a mechanic… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

There was a special buzz amid the eighth annual Mesa Verde Classic Monday at Mesa Verde Country Club.

Valerie Torelli was mixing tasty drinks at a martini bar at the 17th tee and there were plenty of drinks at other holes, but that's not the type of buzz I'm talking about.

A party atmosphere took over at the golf course, but there was also a sense of community, positivity and hope for the future.

City leaders, businessmen and businesswomen put down their guards for one day to have some golf fun in the sun. They did it all in the name of charity, to raise money for Costa Mesa United, which raises money for local youth sports programs.

Costa Mesa United was the primary force in producing projects like Jim Scott Stadium at Estancia High and the Costa Mesa Aquatics Center at Costa Mesa High.


The organization wants to help with more facilities and improvements. And, fundraisers like the Mesa Verde Classic are needed. The golf event has raised about $1 million throughout its history.

Raising money doesn't need to be serious.

Gordon Bowley and his friends certainly had some fun on Monday.

Bowley, who chaired the fundraiser with Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, wanted to make sure every hole was an event with a Hawaiian/South Pacific theme.

Torelli's specialty drink was a mango martini for the golfers. Play seemed to be delayed at the 17th tee, where there was also an In-N-Out truck nearby.

"Of course it's about raising money for Costa Mesa United but more than that it's a way for the right-wing and left-wing people of Costa Mesa to come together," Torelli said. "It's unifying and a cleansing of the soul. You have that camaraderie. You go to an In-N-Out truck and to a martini bar. You can have a python around your neck or go to [someone in a gorilla suit] scaring you. There are parrots. You can have someone roll you a cigar … It's a fun day. For one day, everybody lets everything down."

Torelli helped with creating the style for each hole. Bowley smiled at the thought of each one. He was also at the 17th tee when I drove by with my helpful escorts, Tom Johnson and William Lobdell.

Bowley thanked the community for such great support. He said the tournament alone could bring in around $80,000 and there is more money that is donated through other events that tie in with the golf tournament.

Bowley introduced me to David Schweitzer, a donor who was honored with other special people Monday night at the closing dinner.

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