Mason Golf Classic to benefit Kingston food bank while honouring late board member

The Second Annual Mason Golf Classic will honour the life of Chris Mason (pictured above) while raising money for the Partners in Mission Food Bank. Photo via Tracey Graves.

The loss of a spouse can be a devastating experience for anyone to go through. While grieving the death of a loved one is a never-ending process, it’s the ability of some to channel that grief into positive action that can make the world a better place for all.

Kingston’s Tracey Graves is trying to do just that: following the tragic loss of her husband, Chris Mason, in 2022, Graves has been looking for ways to honour his memory while supporting causes he cared about. Prior to his passing, Mason spent nine years as a member of the Board of Directors for Partners in Mission Food Bank, advocating for the needs of Kingstonians suffering food insecurity.

“He was on the Board of Directors, but he was also on all kinds of sub-boards, including fundraising initiatives and stuff like that… He had this vision that nobody should ever go hungry,” Graves said of her late husband. 

Given Mason’s longtime work with the food bank, as well as Graves’ experience organizing events and fundraisers, the two established a goal one day to organize a charitable golf tournament for the organization. 

“My husband and I both loved golf and, pre-COVID, we would always get together with a bunch of people from all over the place… I graduated from a conventions and meeting management [program] with a focus on fundraising. So I was always organizing events, and we had talked about organizing a golf tournament for the Partners in Mission Food Bank,” explained Graves. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple’s vision for a charitable golf tournament for the food bank was put on hold. With Mason’s tragic passing last year, Graves revisited the idea as part of her journey through grief.

“As part of my therapy last year, I organized my first tournament, but it wasn’t a charitable one, it was just [about] getting all those people together who wanted to get together,” Graves said. 

After organizing a small memorial tournament in 2022, with friends and family coming together in Mason’s memory, Graves was inspired to expand her efforts in 2023, in an attempt to carry on Mason’s vision that “nobody should ever go hungry.”

“I just really wanted to give something back. Both he and I were very community-oriented, Obviously, he had his vision… that’s why he was on the Board. We like to keep everything as close as we can to help the community,” noted Graves. 

This year’s Mason Golf Classic runs September 23, 2023 at Amherstview Golf Club.

This year, Graves has expanded on the tournament she organized in 2022, as she’s put together a public event scheduled for September 23, with proceeds going to the Partners in Mission Food Bank. Since announcing the tournament earlier this summer, Graves said the response from the community has been positive.

“Even though this is the second annual tournament, it’s the first charitable one. I’ve gotten really great feedback from so many businesses and people. We already have lots of hole sponsors,” she remarked. 

“I’m getting a lot of support from the community. I’ve got people coming from Toronto and Montreal, it’s been really well received.”

While the organizer is pleased with the support she’s received thus far, including from businesses and organizations that have sponsored holes and donated items for the silent auction, Graves said she hopes more golfers will sign up to take part.

“I thought by doing it on September 23 that I wouldn’t have such a struggle to find people, but believe it or not, a lot of people are away… I just want it to be big because the more people [who take part], the more money we can raise for the food bank.” 

The Second Annual Mason Golf Classic takes place Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at Amherstview Golf Club. The event features a four-person team scramble format, with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The cost to register is $120 per player, which includes participation in the tournament and cart rental, as well as a catered meal. The tournament will feature several special events throughout the afternoon, including a closest-to-the-flamingo contest, a hole-in-one giveaway, and a putting contest. Once action on the course wraps up, participants will all head inside for dinner, which includes a silent auction. Graves noted a number of sports memorabilia items have recently been donated for the silent auction.

“I’ve got a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey signed by T.J. Brodie, and I just received an authentic signed Mason Bennett jersey from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, as well as a signed game-used football,” she shared. 

Anyone interested in taking part in the tournament is asked to contact Graves directly at [email protected], or (613)-888-3587. Additionally, there are still opportunities for local businesses to sponsor tournament holes for just $200. Hole sponsors will receive a charitable tax receipt. 

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