Westchester Golfers Who Give Back to the Community

Willow Ridge Country Club


“We’re privileged to be here, and our club’s persona is to give back to the community,” says Kevin Weiner, past president of Willow Ridge in Harrison. The club, through its foundation and otherwise, supports numerous local organizations, including the Harrison Public Library, where Willow Ridge sponsors events like the Taste of Harrison and Play2Learn Festival, providing not only financial support but on-site participation, as well. General Manager Christopher Rogers says such efforts send a positive message about the club. “We’re a private club but a local business,” he says, “and promoting the community is good for everyone.” Adds Weiner: “We have a cohesive, friendly membership that’s very involved in our local community.”


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(Left to right) Nancy Joselson, Dr. Binoy Singh, Lauren Robison, Phil Vallone

Knollwood Country Club


Knollwood hosts many charity golf events annually but chooses one worthwhile cause every year for special attention. Last September, Knollwood members raised more than $180,000 for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation through donations, sponsorships, golf entry fees, and auction proceeds. Committee chairman Philip Vallone explains, “We had Knollwood members, local restaurants and distributors, Knollwood associates, and event companies all step up to help make this day a success.” The event held special meaning for Vallone, whose grandson, Giovanni, was diagnosed with cancer when he was a baby. “We’re fortunate he’s in remission now, but we hold our breath every time he goes for a check-up,” adds Vallone. The golf course and banquet facilities were donated by Knollwood, while food was donated by local restaurants and beverages were provided by various liquor wholesalers.


(Front left to right) Ilene Dulman, Rhonda Chestler ​(Back left to right) Olga Henick, Michelle Romanoff Cohen, Andrea Baevsky, Janice Goldstein, Bonnie Shyer

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Brae Burn Country Club


What started as a Play for P.I.N.K. tennis event under the aegis of Brae Burn pro Dave Kauffman in 2007 has now grown to include golf, cards, and even a boutique, according to Andrea Baevsky, a club member who also serves on the organization’s National Advisory Board. Nineteen committee members at the club donate not only their time but décor, flowers, candies, wine, and other goodies. The combination enabled the club to raise $47,000 in 2018 (the most in Westchester), bringing its total to more than $336,000 to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Brae Burn is one of 17 clubs in Westchester where more than 2,000 participants pitch in to support the cause. “Breast cancer affects our mothers, sisters, friends — everyone knows someone,” Baevsky says. “The more we publicize it and the more money we raise to fight it, the greater our impact.”


(Left to right) Al Vigorito and WMC’s Gary Brudnicki

Al Vigorito


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Al Vigorito is a busy trial attorney and public-links golfer who plays about 20 rounds per year. He makes most of them count for something besides his handicap, though, by raising funds for Westchester Medical Center. “I’ve lived in the county for more than 30 years; my kids were raised here. We love the county and the hospital,” Vigorito says. “It gives me great joy to do things that benefit [Westchester] Medical Center.” One of those actions was to help start the WMC Invitational, a limited-field, four-venue extravaganza that has raised millions of dollars for the hospital since it began in 2012. Vigorito has also held fundraisers at his home for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, which is a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. The 18 teams in the WMC Invitational play four top courses over the season: Trump Ferry Point, Morefar, Quaker Ridge, and Winged Foot, where a celebratory dinner closes the competition.

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