One of the most prominent charitable golf outings in the area returns to The Pennhills Club on Saturday, June 1st. The Zippo Open: Sarah Dorn Blaisdell Memorial raises money for the McKean County SPCA, combining a rich history with generous donations and sponsorships. Started in 1963, the memorial continues to prove successful in the Bradford golf circuit.
The figure that stands out the most: $284,047.28. That’s the amount of money raised and donated to the SPCA since 2000, a staggering sum when you realize that the memorial only hosts 80 players. It’s a testament to the community and the memorial’s founding members.
In 1963, the late Zippo owner and founder George Blaisdell started the Zippo Open. His daughter Sarah, who held animals near and dear, wanted to do something that could help. Blaisdell’s philanthropic ventures reached far beyond just this single tournament, but the fact it was his daughter’s idea makes the lasting impact that much more special.
“The last couple of years, we’ve hit our goal of $25,000 each year,” said Amber Confer, Zippo’s Events Marketing Manager. “The SPCA has always been very dear to the family. The entire thing is very organic, how it grew and what it’s become now. A few years ago we renamed it in honor of Sarah, because this was her’s from the start.”
SPCAs around the country assist in educating people on the humane treatment of animals. One of its largest initiatives is helping animals find new homes, as well as education, investigations and services like “Paws for Patriots.” If you have a pet, you can relate to what the organization does on an emotional level. As a non-profit, fundraisers like the Sarah Dorn Blaisdell Memorial are integral to the success and continued operations.
“The community really comes together for this,” Confer said. “It’s very well attended year-in and year-out, and we always fill the field. It’s just a really nice day of golf and charitable work, knowing you’re helping such a worthy cause.”
Being hosted at The Pennhills Club doesn’t hurt. The course, under direction of PGA Professional Jake Northrup, remains one of the most well-kept and challenging tracks in the area.
“Right now, the course is in the best shape in recent memory,” Northrup said. “It’s dry, which helps the course play the way it’s supposed to be played, especially the greens. It’s nice when we get it into top shape so early, especially with the Sarah Dorn Blaisdell being one of the first premier events on the calendar.”
Zippo and The Pennhills Club remain a tour de force of partnerships, as the annual Blaisdell Open - with a $130,000 total purse and $50,000 to the winner - has one of the highest payouts for a tournament of its scale in the country.
The Zippo Open: Sarah Dorn Blaisdell Memorial benefits the McKean County SPCA and plays on Saturday, June 1st. A 10am shotgun will be followed by a 50/50 raffle and a cocktail awards ceremony. Entry is $200 per team, and the field is limited to 40 teams. Registration money will be by May 31st. More information on the tournament can be found at www.zippo.com.