BIGHORN Golf Club is one of the most exclusive private clubs in all of the Coachella Valley. However, on Monday, May 20 the club opened its gates and rolled out the red carpet for the 3rd Annual Anthony Anderson Celebrity Golf Classic presented by Lexus.
The award-winning and Emmy-nominated actor from ABC’s hit series Black-ish, along with his friends from the sports and entertainment industry, gathered to raise funds for the Anthony Anderson Family Foundation with the majority of the proceeds going to support underprivileged youth.
Celebrity attendees included NBA All-Star Chris Paul, fellow comedian George Lopez, NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy, NBA coach Doc Rivers, acclaimed rapper Schoolboy Q, Atlanta Braves great David Justice and many more.
Anderson, a Compton native and a community stalwart, helped raise money to support a number of charities focused on his childhood stomping grounds. A $10k check was presented to Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum – which provides free flying lessons to underprivileged youth using the Compton-Woodley Airport as its home base. Since it was established by pilot Robin Petgrave in 1998, Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum has utilized aviation to engage at-risk youth as an alternative to the negative influences in their environment. Along the route, eight trained young people have broken aviation flight records.
The event also supported the Children’s Hospital of L.A., a pledge Anderson made while serving as interim host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as Kimmel’s son was treated for a rare heart defect by the venerable institution.
Other supported charities included the Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley; L.A. Mission – which supports more than 400 homeless individuals; and the Compton Jr. Posse Youth Equestrian Program – which was developed to provide inner-city youth with year round after school alternatives to the lure of gang and drug lifestyles.
“A big reason for this tournament is help programs in the inner city, to support people in the community who don’t always get the help they need,” said Anderson. “Someone helped me get to where I am in life, so it’s my responsibility to pay it forward. To make contributions not only with my time and platform, but most importantly with dollars that keep doors open and engines running.”
The vibe amongst tournament participants was one of understanding the positive influences that golf, with its charitable and professional reach, can have on communities that have historically not had access to the game.
“Golf has been a sport that the African-American community has not always been invited to be involved in. There were no golf courses in my neighborhood coming up,” said Worthy, a native of Gastonia, North Carolina, the same town that produced the PGA Tour’s Harold Varner III. “I’ve given a lot of time to groups with nonprofit statuses that try to help introduce golf to kids, whether that’s The First Tee or supporting a kid like Harold Varner who’s from my hometown.
“You don’t have to be a great golfer, though. You can find everything in the golf industry from mathematics, to science, to law. Any path you want to be successful in life can begin on the golf course. And more so, playing the game gives you space to meet decision-makers, CEOs and CFOs, those relationships can go a long way.”
Anderson echoes those sentiments: “That’s why golf is important, especially for our community, because it’s not just a game. It can teach you so much. It teaches you honesty and integrity, it teaches you patience. And it can create opportunities we never knew existed.”