Paradise, CA High School Golf Team Gets Re-Outfitted by Morton Golf Foundation

Morton Golf Foundation and COBRA-PUMA Golf Help the Paradise Golf Team After the Camp Fire

As everyone in Northern California knows by now, the recent fire in Paradise, CA, dubbed the Camp Fire, has been a devastating one. Paradise is located about an hour north of the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, and the continued reports and smoke that’s engulfed the valley are a grim reminder each day to its wrath. It has been reported that roughly 95% of the kids that go to Paradise High School have lost their homes and all their possessions. The 501 c3 Morton Golf Foundation wanted to step up and bring a sense of normalcy to some of the families that are undergoing almost unbelievable hardship. The board decided unanimously to utilize some of the 501 c3 funds raised during May’s Golf & Guitars Music Festival to have the boys’ golf team come down and be outfitted with new equipment and uniforms with Morton Golf Foundation covering the cost. When the Morton Golf Foundation reached out to the VP of Sales for COBRA-PUMA Golf, they stepped up and agreed to be our partner on this initiative – without any hesitation. Each member of the Paradise Golf Team and their families will also receive an invitation to Golf & Guitars to recognize them and give them something special up on stage during the event as well.

This video illustrates the impact of this gesture. Tom Mailey of KNCI’s morning Pat and Tom Show came over and filmed a short piece with Assistant Coach, Steve Suihkonen, and his son, Chase, from the Paradise High School. It details the Suihkonen’s personal experience and harrowing escape from the fire and has some personal photos of their loss. They were overwhelmed with the experience yesterday and reiterated over and over again how much this meant to them. Thank you to the whole board for helping make this happen. It’s appreciated!


Special Olympics are Back at Haggin Oaks!

Morton Golf Foundation is proud once again to be a sponsor for the Special Olympics Northern California Sacramento Golf Regional Competition held at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex on September 15, 2017.

The sun is shining, the weather is cooler and the athletes are out! This is a very special day where we see Special Olympic Athletes come together for golf, sportsmanship & “fun”.

The fun starts when you arrive in the morning and see the athletes gather as TEAMS in their matching shirts to get ready for the day ahead. Several of the athletes perform golf skills at the back of the driving range while others play a round of golf on the Arcade Creek Golf Course at Haggin Oaks. No matter where they are and what they do, they all end up together to enjoy a BBQ luncheon at the end of the event as they share stories on how well they golfed.

Morton Golf Foundation continues to be eager to sponsor this powerful event. We see Special Olympic Athletes, Care Givers and Volunteers as equals all participating in the fun.

Friendships are made each year and the special part is to meet back again the following year.

Thank you Special Olympics Northern California from your friends at Morton Golf Foundation as we look forward to seeing you back next September!


Morton Golf Foundation Alumnus Receives Award

Morton Golf Foundation Alumnus Sarah Debnekoff saves a life

sarah_groupA few weeks ago, Sarah Debnekoff’s mother, Pam, sent Jane Siebers a text asking if she and her husband, Rob, would attend a “Life Saving Award” presentation. This presentation would be put on by the Sacramento Metro Fire District and Anatolia Homeowners Association honoring Sarah Debnekoff. Immediately, they said yes. Sarah has been a volunteer with The First Tee of Greater Sacramento and with the Morton Golf Foundation since she was 9 1/2 years old.

Last summer, Sarah took a job as a lifeguard in her neighborhood community of Anatolia in Rancho Cordova, CA. There was an incident where a boy was drowning and Sarah saved him by giving him CPR while 911 was called. The boy is now doing well and enjoying life with his family.

sarah_lifesavingawardAt the age of 9 1/2, Sarah Debnekoff and her family moved to Sacramento. At that time, Sarah’s interest in golf peaked and they found local golf programs for Sarah through The First Tee of Greater Sacramento at the William Land Golf Course. Through this beginning, years of golf programs, tournaments, many friendships & mentoring began.

Sarah has had many accomplishments through her time with The First Tee of Greater Sacramento and Morton Golf Foundation. She has helped raise thousands of dollars for junior golf. One of her greatest achievements was winning a full ride golf scholarship to Morehead State University in Kentucky. Today, she is a junior and playing on the Women’s Golf Team. Also, when Sarah graduated from high school, she was awarded the “Community Service” Scholarship from Morton Golf Foundation to further her education. Her goal is to go into the health care field where she will continue to help and mentor others along her way.

Sarah is a remarkable young women that continues to live by the core values of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento and Morton Golf Foundation that she was taught as a child. Everyone at the Morton Golf Foundation is so proud of her and wishes her continued success as she continues her journey.


Morton Golf Foundation Supports Special Olympics Polar Plunge Fundraiser August 15th, 16th & 17th

Morton Golf Foundation is very proud to support the Special Olympics in a 3 day fundraiser at “Taste of Tuscany” restaurant in Antelope, CA.

Spec Oly TorchOne of Morton Golf Foundation’s very own Special Olympic Athlete, Jonathan Sparks came to us for an idea for a fundraiser for him to raise money to compete in a Special Olympic event called the Polar Plunge next February at Nimbus Dam in Folsom. The Owners of “Taste of Tuscany” restaurant Jeremy & Natalee Price offered to host their restaurant for 3 days by giving 20% of anyone’s food bill to support Special Olympics.

Spec Oly Connie's groupLast night around 4:45 p.m. Jonathan Sparks arrived with Special Olympic posters, winning medals around his neck & wearing his Special Olympics shirt that was given to him for participating in the torch relay last year for the summer games. By 5:30 p.m. close to 60 friends of Morton Golf Foundation had flooded their restaurant in support of Special Olympics. Jonathan was so proud as he went table to table to welcome everyone and thank them for coming.

Spec Oly Rob & JonathanWhen Jonathan left for the evening he was confident and so proud as he was well on his way to meeting his financial fundraising goal.

Morton Golf Foundation wishes to thank “Taste of Tuscany” and Special Olympics for giving Jonathan Sparks another opportunity to shine.


Arcade Fundamental Middle School Plants Valley Oak Trees on Haggin Oaks Golf Complex

Last summer, Ms. Terri Thacker attended a Teacher workshop called FIT which stands for Forestry Institute for Teachers (www.forestryinstitute.org). At this workshop, she met Mike De Lasaux, a Natural Resource Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, who directs the FIT program and the acorn planting story started . . .

Arcade Acorn Planting 6_1

Terri contacted Mike to ask about help for a Community Service project that she wanted her students to do. Mike said he would help her, so he used Google Earth to determine potential oak planting sites near the Arcade Fundamental Middle School. The Haggin Oaks Golf Complex jumped out as the closest, so Mike sent an inquiry to see if there was interest. He then met Stacy Baker, Golf Course Superintendent at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, to discuss the potential of planting several oak seedlings on the golf course property and a Community Service project opportunity to Ms. Thacker’s 7th and 8th graders. With agreement to develop the project from the golf course, Mike and Terri developed a couple of environmental education grants to help purchase materials necessary to grow the seedlings. Mike also contacted the Morton Golf Foundation to ask if they would be interested in a small grant to use as a grant match and help this dream to become a reality. The Morton Golf Foundation is always looking for ways to help children with education and to provide a healthy outdoor environment. They approved the grant and the project was off and running. The match was important to receiving a grant from Project Learning Tree’s GreenWorks grant program.

Teacher Terrie Thacker had her 7th & 8th grade class at Arcade Fundamental Middle School gather acorns. They then put the acorns in water to see which ones would float or which ones would sink. If the acorn sank, that meant it would likely germinate. They then put the acorns in sandy soil and watered them regularly to wait for the roots to appear. The students were excited and celebrated when the acorns germinated.

Arcade Acorn Planting 3When Ms. Thacker’s students had 50 acorns with roots, it was time to contact Stacy Baker at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex to let him know it was time to plant the seedlings. Stacy then got his crew to dig 50 holes 18” deep in an open greenbelt area off of Hole # 7 on the MacKenzie Golf Course at Haggin Oaks. The students came out to plant on Friday, December 4, 2015. Future golfers should know that these 50 newly planted seedlings are in a greenbelt area that will never come into play on the golf course!

Arcade Acorn Planting 5Ms. Thacker and her students will be coming back to the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex next March to check on the seedlings survival and growth. In the meantime, Stacy Baker and his crew at Morton Golf will also continually check on the seedlings to offer water when needed in hopes of the seedlings taking root.

Stacy Baker has commented that he hopes Haggin Oaks will get at least 3 to 6 big trees out of this project.

We all hope that this helped Ms. Thacker and her students implement their Community Service project and provided them with the knowledge of tree growth. Hopefully, Ms. Thacker’s future classes will do more tree planting projects at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex too.