HARWICH – For the first time in the Pals For Life Foundation’s 26-year history, the PFL hosted its annual golf tournament without its founder, the late Richard Costello, the former owner of the Chatham Squire who died in May.
Costello’s memory and spirit were in attendance, however, during the 25th annual tournament, which was held Oct. 6 under pristine, sunny conditions at Captains Golf Course in Brewster.
“I thought the day went very well considering there was a lot of love and respect and tears in the air all at the same time,” said Tom “Chooch” LeBlanc, the PFL’s vice president. “Everybody getting together as we have done for the past 25 years made this year extra special, with Richard’s brother coming down and playing with his nephew and having the hole in one [raffle] in his name, everything went well.”
The foursome of Kyle Von Iderstein, John Lamperelli, Bobby Foye and Mike Crane were crowned champions after posting a score of 1,200 in the tournament’s scrabble format. They outlasted a field of 144 golfers, as two foursomes played at each hole.
Although the final tabulation of money raised hasn’t been finalized, PFL board member and Squire bar manager Greg Bennett said he expects the amount will be right around $25,000, which matches the ballpark figure raised by the tournament in recent years. The 2020 tournament — originally slated to be the 25th anniversary — was canceled due to COVID-19, pushing the milestone anniversary back a year.
All of the funds will be used to help Lower Cape residents from the restaurant and hospitality industries who may need assistance due to injuries that keep them out of work.
“Everything made from the PFL stays in the Lower Cape area,” said Amy Dubis-LeBlanc, a Chatham native and longtime PFL volunteer. “If I were to hurt my knee and be out of work, the PFL is there.”
Dubis-LeBlanc was volunteering on the third hole this year, which served as one of many reminders about PFL’s late founder. Near the tee box was a cardboard cutout with “In Loving Memory Of RWC” written below Costello’s PFL license plate. Dubis-LeBlanc and other volunteers collected $20 from each foursomes for a hole-in-one raffle.
“We have a fun hole. This was always Richard Costello’s spot,” Dubis-LeBlanc said. “He was always typically here and he’d take $20 and give the golfers a raffle ticket to win certain prizes at the end.”
While Dubis-LeBlanc said there were plenty of happy moments throughout the day, she acknowledged it was tough without Costello present. One of her biggest challenges was when she bumped into his brother, Bob Costello, who was there with his son and Costello’s nephew, Bobby Jr.
“I held on so well until his brother came through and I just lost it,” Dubis-LeBlanc said. “I was with a bunch of girls and we took some pictures and we thought we were good and then Bobby Costello [Sr.] came up and boom, I lost it and couldn’t handle it. We feel [Richard] here—I can feel him over my shoulder saying, ‘Knock it off, Amy!’”
At the end of the tournament the party moved inside for food, drinks and raffles. That was when PFL organizers broke the news the tournament would be rebranded as the Costello Classic going forward. The name switch was on full display on a red beach chair designed by Cape Cod Beach Chair.
“It was a very easy switch to make to the Costello Classic,” Bennett said. “I don’t even know who coined the phrase or came up with it, but it was mentioned and it became an instant ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ Cape Cod Beach Chair was even nice enough to do a chair for us.”
While everybody in attendance had some connection to Costello, the local restaurant and hospitality industry or the foundation, a few PFL recipients took part in the tournament, including Jon Moore, a longtime Red Nun employee who in February 2018 had surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm in his heart.
“I was going to be out of work for six weeks or a couple months,” Moore said. “The PFL was there to step up and help me with paying some bills and stuff like that while I was out of work.”
Although Moore has relocated to Western Mass., he said he wouldn’t miss the PFL tournament after seeing firsthand just how much of impact the foundation can have.
“I have never seen a charity or anything like this that helps out the people you don’t think of in the restaurant industry,” Moore said. “Not everyone has insurance and stuff like that, so if they are out of work and they aren’t getting paid, they’re screwed. This organization really helps the people that make the industry run and it’s really cool.”
LeBlanc said one of the best parts about the tournament is that it serves as a reunion of sorts.
“Year after year, it’s great to see the same faces that look forward to playing year after year,” he said. “Some only play golf once a year because they’re great supporters of the foundation. It means a lot to us at the end of the day.”
Most importantly, however, the funds raised from the tournament go a long way, and that’s what mattered most to Costello.
“When you figure that you make around $30,000 for a foundation in one day, it’s just a great feeling,” LeBlanc said.
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com. Twitter: @BradJoyal