Fore! Forest Park Forever Golf Tournament Draws Record Crowd

With 27 holes and courses named for three of St. Louis’ most common trees, Forest Park’s Norman K. Probstein Golf facilities are the perfect setting for the annual Forest Park Forever Golf Tournament.

This year’s event, held May 3, raised more than $41,000 to restore and maintain Forest Park for all! For the fourth year, the tournament was presented by Forest Park Forever’s Young Friends, a dedicated group of under-40 professionals who love Forest Park.

“It just makes sense to use the wonderful resources we have in the Park to raise money for the Park,” said Kyle Hogan, a founder of Young Friends, who joined his wife, Ali, as the event’s presenting sponsors. “When you give to Forest Park, you give to St. Louis.”

Isabel Acevedo, President of the Young Friends Board, adds that the Norman K. Probstein Golf Courses —named Redbud, Hawthorne and Dogwood — draw on participants’ love of the game, the Park and the city itself to bring an enthusiastic group to the Park every year.

“We have had other events, like kickball, to raise money for Forest Park, but the golf tournament has really taken off,” Acevedo said. “This year we expanded it with a super ticket, which keeps golfers engaged with fun activities like the marshmallow drive and cornhole while they’re waiting to play. We’ve worked hard to make it a unique experience.”

Members of the record-breaking 34 teams at this year’s tournament ranged from avid golfers to invited guests.

Ann and Jim McLaren are parents of Stuart McLaren, who manages Shake Shack in the Central West End. Shake Shack was one of the tournament’s 25 corporate sponsors. Natives of Scotland, they moved to the United States from Belgium in 1984 for Jim’s job with Monsanto.

“We have golfed around the world, including in Scotland, but this is one of our favorite courses,” Ann said. “And the Park has such great facilities, like the Zoo and the museums. There is so much to do for free.”

Steve Goldberg, a senior vice president at Fairway Sponsor Stifel Financial, invited a team of friends and colleagues to the tournament.

“Forest Park is a jewel for the city — everyone uses it,” said Goldberg. “But it takes a lot of money to keep it up. This is a good opportunity to spread my love for the Park around.”

Bob Checkley was one of Goldberg’s guests. He plays golf as part of a league at courses like Tapawingo and Pevely Farms, but he loves coming back to Probstein and Forest Park.

“It’s a beautiful place. It would be a great loss if it went under,” he said. “I lived in University City until 1997, and I was always biking in the Park and going to the lagoon.”

Another avid cyclist who participated in the tournament was Brett Gaither of Byrnes & James Construction. He bikes in the Park every morning.

“This is the greatest resource we have in the city,” he said while waiting for his turn at the tee on Redbud’s first hole. “I love the Park.”

Playing with Gaither’s team was Bill Bixton, with St. Louis City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

“The city has a wonderful relationship with Forest Park Forever,” Bixton said. “I live in Dogtown, and my family can just walk across the Tamm Avenue Bridge to enjoy everything in the Park. I can’t imagine living anyplace else.”

EventsTim Fox