Around the next hole

COSTA MESA — The usually quiet Mesa Verde Country Club was alive with the sound of rock bands Monday as golfers zoomed around in their carts to find a surprise at every hole.

A belly dancer and camel greeted golfers at the sixth hole, and food and drinks from restaurants around Costa Mesa were waiting as residents and city officials made their way along the 18-hole course.

Golfers teed off around skateboarders, dropping in on a mini half pipe and a demonstration of martial arts. On the last hole, members of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines — the city of Costa Mesa's adopted military unit — greeted them.

The sixth annual Mesa Verde Charity Golf Classic & Awards Banquet shook things up with "An Event at Every Hole" and had its largest participation to date, said Councilman Steve Mensinger, the event organizer.

"We're all here for the same cause and to be proud of our city," he said.

The sold-out golf tournament and awards dinner at the Mesa Verde Country Club, 3000 Club House Road, raised money for Costa Mesa United, a nonprofit that supports community youth sports organizations. The Segerstrom family, which operates South Coast Plaza, was to be honored at the awards banquet for the Segerstroms' longtime philanthropic support of youth sports in Costa Mesa.

Costa Mesa United has awarded more than $350,000 to youth sports organizations around the city since its inception in 1991, and is credited with getting bond Measure F passed that funded the Jim Scott Stadium at Estancia High School and an Olympic pool at Costa Mesa High School.

The event had already raised more than $100,000 Monday afternoon and was in sight of making its $114,000 goal during the night's raffle and auction, Mensinger said.

All the money raised goes toward grants for Costa Mesa youth sports and facilities.

Cheerleaders, football and basketball players from Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools volunteered on their day off from school on Martin Luther King Day to give back to the organization that has supported them.

Costa Mesa High varsity football player Charles Mankin, 16, said their football program wouldn't be as good as it is without Costa Mesa United's help.

"They show up to our games to support us so we want to support them," Mankin said.

The Costa Mesa Fire Department was on hand with four players to support Costa Mesa United, which the department considers one of its top charities of the year, said Tim Vasin, president of the Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn.

The event is not only a fantastic tournament, but a chance to put money directly back in the community and its athletics programs, he said.

"It's a direct link to the youth athletics in the community," he said.

For Vasin, who has played golf for the past 25 years, the tournament is also a chance to meet new people and catch up with those he hasn't seen in a while.

Bringing the community together is exactly what the event is about, Mensinger said.

"The more our community works together on issues, the more we talk about what we have in common, the less we talk about our issues," he said. "To have a great community we have to work together."

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