Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

It’s time for the Hoag Classic…and the gettin’ is good, with more than just great professional golf

I’m here to tell you the Hoag Classic is getting better and better. The course is in phenomenal shape, and the atmosphere of the entire grounds has been enhanced.

Additionally, this year has plenty of new offerings, including an Opening Night Party at VEA Newport Beach following Friday’s play, featuring a surprise multi-time Grammy Award-winning Country music band; then there’s the Saturday Celebrity Challenge featuring legends from the world of sports in a totally new event; new seating offerings throughout the course; a new viewing opportunity, mixed with fine dining offerings and on-course transportation between holes and more.

You really have to get out there to see it all. Play runs today, with tee times beginning at 10:30 a.m., with players going off one and 10; then beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and back to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

In case you missed it, on Tuesday (March 19) we broke the news of the Saturday (March 23) Hoag Classic Celebrity Challenge following regular PGA TOUR Champions action out at Newport Beach Country Club. We previously announced three of the four players: Marshall Faulk, Reggie Bush and Matt Barkley.

Wednesday, Hoag Classic officials named the fourth…former Angels great Jim Abbott.

The four players will tee off at approximately 2 p.m. on hole #10 in two, 2-man best ball teams. Each team will compete to win prize money for the Military Appreciation Day charity they’ll represent. The two charities involved are the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation or the Marine Corp Scholarship Foundation.

“We are excited to kick off the Celebrity Challenge on Saturday as part of Hoag Classic’s Military Appreciation Day,” said Scott Easton, executive director of the Hoag Classic. “Not only can you have the opportunity to see some sports legends competing for bragging rights, but they will be raising money for military charities.”

Here’s how it works: the hole values will be $1,000 each for holes 10 through 12; $1,500 each for holes 13 through 15; $2,500 for hole #16; hole #17 will be $5,000; and home #18 will offer up $10,000.

It should be fun and is a great addition to this year’s festivities.

I hope I see you out there enjoying the action.

• • •

Then, don’t forget on the heels of the Hoag Classic is the Newport Beach Surf & Turf Polo Classic on Saturday, May 4 in Peninsula Park.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Polo comes to the ocean front on Saturday, May 4, courtesy of the Newport Beach Foundation

This fun day offers an unforgettable fusion of sport, style and community engagement and is presented by the Newport Beach Foundation in partnership with Code Four and sponsored by Hoag, Visit Newport Beach, Lido House, Pendry Newport Beach and The Elwood Club.

Guests will enjoy polo, great food, refreshing beverages and engaging entertainment, all located right at the ocean front. There will even be a special Kentucky Derby Watch Party.

The event runs from 12-4 p.m. Guests are encouraged to wear their finest polo or Kentucky Derby-inspired attire…including, of course, fancy hats.

Tickets are on sale now.

• • •

I was forwarded a recent communique making the rounds. It was posted by Newport Whales and said “that the U.S. Coast Guard is planning to remove the physical buoy at the harbor entrance and replace it with a virtual buoy.”

The communique cited a couple of reasons for concern:

–Many small craft will not have access to the technology that will replace the physical buoy through AIS integration. And there are no analog lights and sounds then to mark the harbor entrance.

–Returning to the harbor at night is greatly aided by lining up the flashing white light from the Bell Buoy with the red and green jetty markers.

–A physical light and ringing bell has worked for 100+ years to navigate safely.

–And, we can’t forget that the California Sea Lions use the current buoy and surrounding area as a haul-out spot.

So, I wondered if there was truly a need to be concerned. I went to the best source I know…our Harbormaster Paul Blank.

Paul told me that “the Coast Guard HAS REMOVED that buoy from its list of buoys to replace.”

He also confirmed “that the buoy was removed from the list in a Local Notice to mariners sent out earlier Wednesday.”

He also forwarded a note from LTJG Samantha Hu, Signals Management, USCG District 11 Waterways: “Yes, we did remove the Newport buoy from the disestablishment list for this week’s LNM and is not appearing in the Advanced Notice due to public feedback – we will not be routing up the OPORDER to remove the buoy and the buoy shall remain in place.”

So, the worry appears over. I credit our very capable harbormaster for remaining on top of this issue to ensure what’s important to our local community.

• • •

Visit California honored tourism, destinations and attractions across California for excellence in tourism marketing and destination stewardship at the organization’s biennial Poppy Awards, held on March 12 in Greater Palm Springs. Visit Newport Beach was selected as the winner in the Best Public Relations for a Destination category for its “Big Game Getaway” campaign (2023).

The basics of the campaign encouraged Arizona residents “to get-out-of-town and avoid the Super Bowl crowds by coming to Newport Beach.”

The results translated to a 3% year-over-year increase in room nights and 3x the amount of website traffic from Arizona on the Visit Newport Beach site in just under a month.

But here’s what else translates to a successful campaign:

–399 pieces of editorial coverage resulted from the campaign translating to 200 million media impressions

–18 million advertising impressions

–1 million social media impressions

–+502% digital website growth from Phoenix

–+3% overnight visitors

–+7% hotel occupancy

–+3% average visitor spend

“We are extremely honored to receive Visit California’s Poppy Award for Best Public Relations Campaign,” said Gary Sherwin, president & CEO of Visit Newport Beach. “Our ‘Big Game Getaway’ campaign exemplifies our commitment to creating innovative and dynamic marketing campaigns within the tourism industry. This recognition underscores the success of our marketing team’s efforts in showcasing Newport Beach as a desirable destination year-round, and we are thrilled to continue inspiring travelers to experience the charm and excitement of our coastal destination.”

• • •

That’s not all from Visit Newport Beach. They’re not sitting back resting on their laurels. The fact is, they’ve just released their new Spring campaign, “Land in Lux.”

According to VNB, “The illustrious campaign is set to showcase the epitome of Newport Beach luxury for the sophisticated traveler highlighting the most lavish resorts, award-winning dining experiences, one-of-a-kind activities, renowned retail destinations and more in the coastal paradise. From sky-high helicopter tours and private yacht rentals to sumptuous spa experiences and decadent dinners on the bay, Visit Newport Beach is inviting travelers to live the suite life this season.”

• • •

Assemblymember Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) has introduced Assembly Bill 1931 this week – it’s called Kayleigh’s Law and will allow victims of heinous crimes to seek lifetime injunctions against their perpetrators.

Current law allows for temporary restraining orders, or protective orders, in cases of domestic violence, harassment, elder abuse and other crimes to protect victims. These protective orders only provide short-term relief and require a victim to face their perpetrator in a court each and every time the order is close to expiration.

“The fact that survivors have to face their abusers over and over again to get basic protections is unnecessary and recurring trauma. This bill will provide critical protections for survivors of childhood sexual abuse from their abusers,” said Dixon. “The change will be significant in the lives of California victims of sexual abuse and other serious and violent felonies.”

AB 1931, according to Dixon, will allow a judge the discretion to issue a lifetime injunction against a defendant at the time of sentencing for a serious felony, a violent felony or a felony sex offense.

The bill is named after Kayleigh Kozak, who as a middle school student on Buckeye, Ariz., was sexually abused by her soccer coach. He was convicted and sentenced to lifetime probation.

But then in 2020, Kayleigh received a call that he was petitioning to have his probation lifted. She fought it and had Kayleigh’s Law then first passed in Arizona.

Following its bi-partisan passage, the law led to in one year more than 1,000 victims in Arizona having injunctions implemented to their perpetrators valid for their natural lifetimes.

• • •

The Boys & Girls Club of Central Orange County raised $80,000 at their 7th annual Women of Greatness Brunch & Bubbly, presented by KPMG, to honor the women who have impacted the lives of Orange County youth and their families. The event will enable BGC Central OC to enhance its programs and initiatives to support future female leaders at the club.

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