When the first Blue Ridge Mountain Club golf tournament was conceived three years ago, the goal was to foster community and camaraderie. “The whole idea was to do something that would bring families and friends of BRMC together,” says BRMC member Steve Lapidus. “We thought a golf tournament in the morning followed by an evening banquet with plenty of good food and drink afterward would be fun for everyone.” Fun indeed! The second year the tournament was renamed the Steven B. Lapidus Annual Invitational Blue Ridge Mountain Golf Tournament (the SBLAIBRMCGT). And yes, the irony of the interminably long acronym tripping effortlessly off the tongue was not lost, but wryly intended. As for the event itself, the inaugural tournament was a huge success, with a good turnout and lots of laughs. The second annual tourney was even better – with a larger turnout and plenty of revelry. Then everything changed.
The SBLAIBRMCGT gets a new name, and purpose
In December of 2017, beloved BRMC homeowner and reigning SBLAIBRMCGT champion Ward McGraw passed away unexpectedly. Ward died of a blood clot following an ankle injury that formed in his lung during a long drive from BRMC to Connecticut to see family and help prepare for his daughter’s upcoming wedding. The trip proved to be fatal. “It was just a very tragic loss,” says Steve. “He was a friend to so many and a great guy. And he was very active in the BRMC community. He and his son, Greg, actually won the 2nd annual golf tournament, so after his death, we all agreed to honor him by changing the name of the tournament to the Ward J. McGraw Memorial Blue Ridge Mountain Club Golf Tournament.
The renamed 2018 BRMC Golf Tournament provides some real magic
With the sudden passing of Ward McGraw still lingering in everyone’s hearts, the 3rd Annual tournament was played on August 25, 2018. The turnout was the largest yet, with many of Ward and Nancy McGraw’s family and friends flying in, including Ward’s long-time best friend Bob Hagemeier and his family. As a special surprise to all, Bob’s son, Rob, flew in from London. “What made it even more special was the fact that Rob and Greg were born on the same day in the same hospital,” says Steve. “The Hagemeiers teamed up and as fate would have it, won the tournament. So Ward won last year with his son Greg. And this year Bob and his son Rob won. You couldn’t have scripted it any better. I think everyone playing this year was really moved by how things turned out, so fitting.” There’s even a trophy, displayed prominently in the Jasper Clubhouse at BRMC, bearing the Hagemeiers’ names right next to the McGraws as champions of this tournament. Ward would be proud and pleased to see what this tournament means to the community of BRMC, and how integral he still is to that community. It truly is a family.
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