Our humble beginnings

It started with 8 friends golfing on the day after Easter. After a few years of sticking to this particular day, the same 8 friends decided to start a spring scramble tournament at their place of employment.

The first official outing took place at Lakes of Taylor Golf Course in Taylor, MI on March 28th 1996, where the 8 friends were joined with several invitees. The Fee was $45.00 per golfer with no perks to speak of. All that was offered was just a round of golf and a chance at $287.00 worth of door prizes. Most of the stuff was only items a left-handed golfer could use. Regardless, we felt we were getting a great deal.

The spring of 1996, according to the farmer’s almanac, was going to be unseasonably cold. On the way to the golf course, we drove through a 30-minute snowstorm. Once all 92 golfers arrived at the course, the whiteout subsided, leaving heavy frost on the greens. So we waited…and waited some more. We waited for an hour and a half, until the frost was no more.

Finally, the tournament began. Smiling golfers hit the links. At the mid point of the outing, gale force winds accompanied by freezing rain pummeled these rugged golfers. Some golfers could not finish, claiming their hands and feet were frostbitten. Through these awful, sinister conditions was born the FrostBite Open.

The Year 1997

Lakes of Taylor Golf Course

After learning from past mistakes, we were bound and determined (now that we had an official name) to make this year’s event better than the last. Some of the guys went off to get sponsors. This allowed us to offer these brave souls bigger and better door prizes. This year we raised $2,000 for door prizes and golfers packs for the 144 golfers that braved the elements. The outing was a lauded success.

The Year 1998

Giant Oaks Golf Course

Due to high fees, we were forced to find a new home. The sincere folks at Giant Oaks Golf Club, located in Bedford Michigan, were able to meet our needs.

1st Year as a Penrickton charity event

We thought since we were able to raise $2,000 just for golfing needs, maybe we should put these funds towards a good cause. So we raised the price of golf to $60.00 and concentrated on our newfound sponsors. We knocked on many doors, witnessing the good, bad and ugly that comes with charity work. Through it all, 160 golfers participated. With the help of a few sponsors we raised $5,500 cash. We presented the money to the director of Penrickton, a non-profit five day residential and day care agency serving blind, multi-disabled children ages one through twelve. Kurt Sebley was gracious enough to accept our donation in a worn out coffee can. The first annual Frostbite open charity golf outing to benefit the Penrickton Center had successfully begun. We freeze so that we may warm the hearts of as many children as possible each year.

The Year 1999

Giant Oaks Golf Course

Once again, the kind folks at Giant Oaks Golf Course were more than willing to host the Frostbite Open Golf Tournament. Even with the early signs of an El Nino coming, the outing was filled to capacity. We totaled 168 golfers strong; all participating for the good of the children. This year we were able to offer two cars and a set of Anderson Windows from the fine folks at Superior Window Company for hole in one prizes. Money raised that day came to $8,800! Ah, yes. One would think we were getting better at this.

The Year 2000

Warren Valley Golf Course

Due to the sudden popularity of the Frostbite Open we had to move to a larger facility. Warren Valley Golf Course became our next desitnation. Still being somewhat new at this golf tournament stuff, we didn’t think about flood plains, spring rains, and the effect those rains would have on a flood plain. Unfortunately for us, Warren Valley Golf Course is located directly on the Rouge River flood plain. Five days before the outing was to begin Mother Nature sent a deluge of rain for two days. By the third day the entire golf course was under water. Imagine the look on our faces when the Frostbite Committee showed up to pay our bill. Two days before tee off and all we saw was Lake Warren Valley. After a few well-placed phone calls to the Wayne County Commissioners office, the golf course was being pumped dry by eight 10 -nch super pumps. Fortunately by the time the Frostbite was to begin there may only have been a handful of uncharted water hazards. The fine folks from Wayne County pulled it off! By Monday at 8:00am the golfers arrived to a beautiful warm sunny day. So warm in fact, many golfers made jokes about our tournament name. This year we required our first group of volunteers. We had two separate golf courses to keep an eye on and all types of logistical concerns to deal with. In addition to hole-in-one cars and windows, we offered a new Harley Davidson Sportster. Overall, 252 golfers hit the links on a 70 degree day.

By the end of the day, $15,100 had been raised for the center.

The Year 2001

White ford Valley Golf Course

Once again we had to move to a larger facility due to the increase in participation. Whiteford Valley Golf Course was next. White Ford Valley Golf Course is located in Ottawa Lake, Michigan. This tiny hamlet of a town is nestled a stones throw away from the Ohio / Michigan border near US23. Whiteford Valley offers 4 different 18 hole courses. The Valley became our obvious choice for future outings. This site provided us the opportunity for growth that we were looking for.

All 292 golfers showed up on time and the tournament began. Spreading these golfers over 3 courses helped improve play time. Over $11,000 in door prizes and giveaways also came with the ride. Whiteford Valley Golf Course had never hosted an event such as this before. They were not familiar with the enormity or the professionalism required by the Frostbite Open. One can only imagine what happened next. After various meetings with the golf course, the plans were set. The event was set to begin. Of course, the typical Frostbite Open spring rain and wind storm occurred. The pavilion at that time had no doors to keep the heat in the building; the temporary walls did not reach the bottom of the floor resulting in the pavilion being just as cold as the elements outside. At that time the committee thought that the Frostbite Open tournament would cease to exist. Surely no one would participate in an outing like this. Boy were we wrong. The rugged folks that are the Frostbite Open held out until the end and raised a whopping $25,331.

By this time our volunteer base had raised to over 30 people. I cannot give enough praise to these angels from heaven. Without them we could not exist.

The Year 2002

White ford Valley Golf Course

Major improvements were made to the pavilion to ease the suffering of our resilient force of followers. The package was presented to 320 golfers. After surviving 2001, one would think what else could go wrong? Right?

Easter Sunday, we got a phone call from the course golf pro stating that this year’s event must be cancelled! Apparently 10 inches of snow had fallen the week before; the effects of the melting snow combined with a fresh downpour of rain resulted in the complete flooding of one of our key courses and half of another. After excusing ourselves from our family obligations we rushed down to the golf course to have a special meeting with all of the key players to try to salvage what was left of this huge mess. Three hours later after moving all of the golfers from the flooded course to an alternate course and making a couple of par-5’s into par-3’s, we headed home to try to salvage what was left of Easter with our families. The day of the tournament was uneventful. The weather cooperated, the pavilion was toasty warm, the food was delicious and the end result was $29,198 raised for Penrickton.

The Year 2003

White ford Valley Golf Course

Banner year for golfers! We had 396 participants and all of the same perks as the previous year. Mother Nature forced us to send our troops out in the pouring rain only to let up to rays of sunshine later that day. Total amount of money raised that year for the Kids at The Penrickton Center totaled $38,380.

The Year 2004

White ford Valley Golf Course

What another banner year for golfers. We had 364 participants in early April with all of the same perks and gifts as before. Mother Nature as always had something up her sleeve. The morning started out sunning with no wind, giving our battle hardened group a false sense of security. 

The total amount of money raised this year for the Kids at The Penrickton Center amounted to $42,375.00

Note: this is no outing for a fair weather golfer.

The Year 2005

White ford Valley Golf Course

Due to this years outing being held March 28th, many golfers decided to stay home. We dropped in total to 280. We had all of the same perks as the year before and a twist. The longer you participated in the Frostbite Open tournament, the more cold weather gear you would acquire. This year’s heated mittens, blanket, and knitted hat were not needed.

Mother Nature this time had something good up her sleeve. The morning started out sunning with no wind and continued to get warmer. This resulted in the second warmest Frostbite Open on record. This gave our battle-hardened group a welcomed reprieve. 

Total money raised this year for the Kids at The Penrickton Center amounted to $40,339.00

The Year 2006

White ford Valley Golf Course

The temperature was a warm 63 degrees. April 17th brought back many of the golfers that decided to stay home the year before. This year’s event offered 340+ golfers a chance to hit the tees a little earlier than most of the golfing squads in Michigan. We had no issues with the golf course, the food, or Mother Nature of any kind, so the story will be short & sweet.

We did however create something new this year: This year was the first year for “Kids Get the Cash Trophy Presentation”

You ask, what is that?
The Kids Get the Cash trophy is a tournament within a tournament. For a sponsorship fee of $1,000 or two or more $575.00 sponsors from one source, one team can play for this beautiful bronze challis that you can take with you to your place of business. This year we had seven teams participate in the Kids Get the Cash Trophy, with Parfection Golf Center bringing in the best score.

The end result was $45,323.00 raised this year, which put the outing at over a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS for the center since we began raising money for them.

The Year 2007

White ford Valley Golf Course

The history books will look back at the Big -3 in 2007 and say that this particular year was the year of change! The Frostbite Open Golf Tournament suffered the same fate. Due to the drastic cuts within the automotive Industry the Frostbite committee had to change with the times.

Members that played a small role in the planning, raising money, & packaging were asked to come to the plate and take a more active role. Thanks to their hard work and perseverance the Frostbite Open Golf Tournament teed off at 9:00am. April 9th, to a sunny warm 28 degrees, those that were there thought the weather god answered their prayers,

The day started off very pleasant, only to change two hours later. At that time the temperature dropped, the wind picked up and once again our tournament name became the norm for our 300 plus golfers.

This year we had the best Raffle prizes ever. What started off as a dismal money raising effort turned into $31,842 for the center. I must say that we were very pleased with the result considering the major obstacles the committee endured.

The Year 2008

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

This year the Frostbite Open Golf Tournament decided to move to Fox Hills Golf & Country Club located in Plymouth, Michigan. Fox Hills Golf Course offered our golfers a higher standard of luxury, a country club setting as well as premier golf courses.

The farmer’s almanac stated that the first two weeks of March would be unusually colder than normal, with above average amounts of precipitation. In other words, SNOW!!!!! LOTS OF SNOW!!!!

Since this year’s outing was the earliest ever, the third week of March was no exception. On Good Friday, Southeastern Michigan got hit with 8 inches of snow, leaving only 52 hours for most of it to melt before the 10:00am tee time on Monday.

The co Chairmen’s cell phones were ringing off the hook for all of Saturday & most of Easter Sunday, with inquiring frost bitters, wanting to know if the outing was cancelled. In the 13-years that the Frostbite Open Golf Tournament has existed, we have never had to cancel the golfing portion of the event. The final call was made at 7:00am the day of the outing by the Co Chairmen & the Fox Hill Staff, due to the fact the golf course still had at least 3 inches of packed snow on the course.  The professional staff at Fox Hills shoveled off a couple of greens near the club house so that our eager golfers could still participate in the contest holes for longest drive & closest to the pin, as well as preparing the banquet room four hours early for our arriving golfers. By 9:30am, most of our 348 golfers had arrived to a beautiful setting of continental breakfast treats as well as an open bar. Naturally we moved the presentation portion of the outing to start at 11:00am; dinner was served at 11:30am. Instead of 3:30pm as originally designed. When given lemons make lemon aid was the battle cry for all of the Frostbite open staff.

All of the raffle prizes were given away, the dinners were served and the participants enjoyed an early libation treat. The end result was $43,000 raised for the children of the Penrickton Center. The Frostbite Open staff as well as the fine folks at Fox Hills Golf Club turned the event into a wonderful experience.

In closing: next years Frostbite open will be held April 13th.

The Year 2009

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

WOW! What a year!!!!!!!!

With Auto Company bankruptcies looming, home foreclosures at their highest since the Great Depression and the unemployment rate at over 12% in the state of Michigan, the Frostbite Open Committee knew that this year was going to be the most challenging year since our humble beginnings.

So we tightened our belts an extra notch and got to work. The money raising effort was very difficult having many of our good sponsors suffering bad times themselves. Golfers numbered 272 — 30% lower than lasts year’s count — and the money raised going into the event was a reflection of the rest of the economy, so the committee accepted the fact that this year’s money raising efforts were not going to be as high as last years.

All in all the day of the event was uneventful with 85 degrees and sunny, which was a Frostbite Open record. A thunderstorm did come rolling through 20 minutes after all of our happy golfers got inside for the banquet portion of the event.

Even through these uncertain times, our generous sponsors and attending golfers pushed us over the $25,000 range. What can I say; a great time was had by all.

This year the FrostBite golf tournament had its first hole-in-one winner, Mr. Brian Ratliff, using his 8 iron on the #5 hole of the Woodlands Fox Classic. Mr. Ratliff won a Bose stereo system & a weekend at the Treetops golf village for his efforts. But more importantly he will be enshrined in the hole-in-one hall of fame board at Fox Hill Golf & Country Club.

Due to popular demand, the FrostBite Golf tournament will be held the Last Saturday of April from this time forward with next year’s event on April 24th.

The Year 2010

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

This year’s event was a carbon copy of last years event, with the exception of about 100 more golfers attending totaling 372 in all. This year’s event had a diverse group, many golfers coming from areas other than the auto industry. Because we had so many golfers this year we had to open up a par-3 executive 9 to accommodate our extra golfers. Many complaints were heard from our late comers that had to play half of their round on a par-3 course, so next year with the help of the fine folks at Fox Hill Golf Course, every golfer will get to enjoy the same course conditions as the rest.

This will force the FrostBite open to fill quickly at 360 total golfers, so get your monies in so that you will not be left out. We had the best raffle prizes yet, giving away a 3-month lease to a 2010 Mustang, complements of Mathews Ford of Oregon, Ohio. We also gave away a 4-hour limousine ride (VIP Salon), a complete set of hybrid irons and many many more high-end prizes. I can’t thank enough our loyal sponsors that provide money as well as beautiful raffle prizes, to make this year’s event the success that it has become.

All in all over $30,000 was raised for the Penrickton Center.

The Year 2011

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

The many Blessings that the Frostbite Open Golf tournament received in 2010 magnified in 2011. This record breaking year brought 384 golfers and our 3rd highest money raising effort for the center. This year was the first year since 1999 that the Frostbite open golf tournament had to turn away prospective golfers. We totally filled the courses, two weeks early.

I can’t thank enough, our loyal sponsors that provide money as well as beautiful raffle prizes, to make this year’s event the success that it has become.

The Year 2012

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

The Frostbite Open picked up another major sponsor this year. The Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant joined in to help in our money raising efforts .  We had about the same number of gofers as the year before, with the help from our new Major Sponsor the money raised for the center increased

The Year 2013

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

Pretty much a carbon copy of 2012 as far as golfers, money etc… Was concerned so this one will be short and sweet.

The Year 2014

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

Another build year for the Frostbite Open golf tournament. Flat Rock Assembly Plant came in big to give the frostbite open golf tournament the most money raised ever, just under $60,000!!!!!

Thank you Flat Rock Assembly Plant, in all of our years doing this charitable event I can’t say thank you enough to the U.A.W, Ford Motor Company and our many loyal sponsors that have braved the cold so that the children at the Penrickton Center can receive the care that they so desperately need…

The Year 2015

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

In 2015 the Frostbite Open received another boost to our fund raising efforts; picking up the Ford Dearborn Plants was a Huge Gift.  This year had many transitions going on, for one I had transferred to the Dearborn Stamping plant and started a new fund raising team to compliment the two  existing fund raising teams from Woodhaven Stamping Plant and Flat Rock Assembly Plant. During the transition many items were tackled very late in the procuring timeline which left us a little short on the money raised for that year.

The Year 2016

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

After our rocky start in 2015 all of the synergies fell right into place and made 2016 our second highest money raising event in the 19 year existence of the Frostbite open golf tournament. Great job Team!!!

The Year 2017

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

Our 20th Annual FrostBite Open Golf Tournament hits a Major Milestone!!!

This year was very special to our hard working teams .We all wanted to make 2017 the best year yet. And we didn’t disappoint, now that our tournament had the blessing of 5 Ford plants and the UAW union working hard to raise money, the money came rolling in. 2017 proved to be the best year to date.

Six of the “The original 8” were present to witness the event and given honorable mention.

The Year 2018

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

Holy cow!!!! Another record-breaking year #336 golfers = $72,300.00

Spring came late this year, fluctuating 30 to 40 degrees depending on the days in the week. At tee time our frosty golfers headed out on an overcast 38-degree morning. Midway through the event gale force winds picked up to complement the FREEZING rain!!! Some of our newcomers to the event couldn’t finish the round, leaving early for warmer quarters.

This year the sponsorship levels were completely filled starting with UAW local #3000 / Flat Rock Assembly Plant, filling in our highest levels. UAW local #600 /  Dearborn Diversified Plants came in at a very close second with sponsorship level’s exceeding last year’s commitment to the kid’s. UAW local #387 / Woodhaven Stamping Plant finishing off with their group of sponsors made 2018 the highest money making event in Frostbite Open history!!!!

This year we gave a special shout-out for one of our long-standing committee members, Ginny Hegedus, Ginny has unselfishly committed herself, her family, breakfast food, raffle prizes, and much, much more since joining in 2004.

I can’t say thank you enough to the U.A.W, Ford Motor Company and our many loyal sponsors that have braved the cold so that the children at the Penrickton Center can receive the care that they so desperately need…

The Year 2019

Fox Hills Golf & Country Club

22nd Annual Frostbite Open Golf Tournament:  304 golfers = $67,500.00

The morning of this year’s Frostbite Open golf tournament held true to our name, as the 304 golfers were driving to the event Michigan the weather blessed us with 37 degrees and sunny skies.  Due to 4 days of heavy rain, the golf course demanded cart path only for the arriving participants.  The golfer’s packs this year were well received and the breakfast greatly appreciated.

Our participating plants this year were Woodhaven Stamping Plant, Dearborn Stamping Plant, Flat Rock Assembly Plant, & Ohio Assembly Plant.  The Plant committee members from the above mention facilities were able to bring the Frostbite Open golf tournament to a new level.

At the banquet portion of the event, all of our hearty golfers enjoyed a wonderful dinner and we heard from one of the parents at Penrickton Center talked about their daughter and how Penrickton Center has made a difference in their lives.  After dinner the fantastic raffle prizes were issued to the lucky winners.

I cannot say thank you enough to the various U.A.W Locals & Ford Motor Company Facilities, as well as our many loyal sponsors that have braved the cold so that the children at the Penrickton Center for Blind Children can receive the care that they so desperately need…