In case you hadn’t heard amidst the social media & news explosion, Monday was the 29th Annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic, held here at yours truly, Terry Hills. And in case you couldn’t guess, it’s easily our biggest event of the year. With 300 golfers alone, plus countless volunteers, staff, & media, let’s just say it’s nothing short of crazy. This year, I guess everyone wanted set the precedent for the tournament to really explode, so they invited the entire Buffalo Bills franchise, players & coaches, to attend as well.
I think I’m getting ahead of myself though. Before we can dive into the madness & excitement of the day itself, we have to first get into how we even go about setting up the course and the facility for an event with over 400 attendees. Granted, I’m not even close to the one responsible for everything. You’re hearing this from the perspective of Terry Hills’ Director of Marketing, who believe it or not, takes a very backseat role in the production of the tournament. Aside from Jim Kelly himself (and his amazing staff), who obviously without, there would be no tournament in the first place, there’s a few key Terry Hills’ players (pun intended?) that allow this event to happen.
Our Superintendent, Thad, is in my opinion, one of the major celebrities of the day. Especially this year. And I quote, “I put in 36 hours the past three days” leading up to the tournament, getting the course in PRIME shape. That in itself is no small task on a regular day. This year, Mother Nature decided to play a little joke on us, knowing that the event was set to be bigger than ever with the inclusion of the Buffalo Bills. It down poured the entire day leading up to the tournament. Rain, rain, go away, come again another day, like maybe not a day surrounding our biggest event of the year.
Thad once again proved his golf course superintendent super-stardom. Despite the 36-hours of straight rainfall (it seemed like), the course was inevitably wet, but completely still playable. Considering my backyard was 50% underwater and flooded, I was truly amazed that the course remained as functional as it did. Might I just add that not only were we faced with a LOT of rain this year, but my personal favorite weather of all time: cold rain. Temps in the 40s and low 50s graced us for the tournament, so it was nothing short of a true Western New York weather experience- wearing gloves, hats, and boots on the first day of June.
As always, our Head Golf Pro, Casey, and Restaurant & Banquet Manager, Danielle, put in countless hours to get this tournament underway as well. Simply because I can't even begin to fathom ALL of what they do to plan, organize, and execute the day, I will leave it at: they too are superstars. Really. They've both been organizing this tournament for so many years, that they almost make it look easy. How you make something of this magnitude look easy is beyond me. And let’s not leave out Gene, our Executive Chef. As someone who cannot cook to save my life, I cannot imagine readying breakfast AND dinner for over 300 people. Heck, I struggle readying meals for my small family of 3. So truly I am amazed at how effortlessly, it seems, that Gene and the kitchen staff are able to prepare that much food.
So the rain also threw a wrench in the plans for Casey, Danielle, and Gene as well. Normally, as one would expect from a summer day in June, being outside is not only no biggie, but it's preferable. Because our banquet room only seats 200 people, we normally utilize our outdoor patio for extra seating and space. Which works out perfectly, because as previously stated, who doesn't want to be outside on a beautiful summer day? Well, that beautiful summer day is not even close to what we got. So what we did get was a bit of a scramble trying to rearrange the seating & food set up to accommodate Mother Nature's little hiccup. Again, because I can't stress enough, Terry Hills management and staff are just that good, and made it happen like it was nothing.
So after that extremely brief, and I mean extremely, brief summary of how Terry Hills preps for the big day of the Kelly tournament, I’m sure you are more than ready to hear about the juicy stuff. As in, the celebrities. And the Buffalo Bills.
That part is coming. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic recap (including the appearance of celebrities with a selfie stick)!