The clubhouse at Falmouth Country Club, as seen behind mounds and bunkers on the 18th hole. The golf course will host the inaugural Drive Fore Kids celebrity event Thursday through Saturday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

FALMOUTH — The Drive Fore Kids celebrity golf tournament will make its debut at Falmouth Country Club on Thursday, bringing more than 30 sports and entertainment stars to Maine for a charity event benefiting the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

The celebrity list features big names both regionally and nationally. Former Boston Red Sox stars Roger Clemens, Tim Wakefield, Derek Lowe and Kevin Millar will be competing. So will other athletes past and present, such as Tuukka Rask and Jeremy Swayman of the Boston Bruins, longtime NHL star Jeremy Roenick, recently retired NBA player Vince Carter, and former NFL stars Marshall Faulk and Ronde Barber. The event also will feature actors Patrick Dempsey, Michael Peña and Jack Wagner.

“It’s a pretty amazing ‘who’s who’ list of sports and entertainment personalities and celebrities, from World Series champions to Super Bowl champions to Stanley Cup, you name it,” said Brian Corcoran, CEO of Shamrock Sports and Entertainment, which organized the event. “We’ve got a pretty amazing All-Star collection.”

The Drive Fore Kids event will run over three days. Thursday will be a celeb-am, where tournament sponsors and people who made contributions to the hospital will be able to play in a scramble with one of the celebrities. The celebrities will then play a two-day tournament with Stableford scoring, where points are awarded based on the score for each hole. The purse for the tournament is $250,000.

Dempsey, the Maine native best known for his role in the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” founded the Dempsey Center in 2008 in honor of his mother, Amanda Dempsey, who died after a long fight with cancer. The Dempsey Center has locations in Lewiston and South Portland, and offers a variety of services to cancer patients and their families.

Taking part in the Drive For Kids charity event was a great reason to return to Maine, Dempsey said.


“The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital is really special, and it’s in alignment with the Dempsey Center,” he said. “It’s part of the community, coming together. Adding all our strengths as a team. We complement each other.”

Another celebrity playing in the event will be tennis pro Jack Sock, the former No. 8 men’s singles and No. 2 doubles player in the world.

“I’m probably in the lower tier of names in the event, but I love golf, I have a big passion for it,” said Sock, who said he’s making his first visit to Maine. “When I got the invite, it was a pretty easy ‘yes’ from me. … I’m excited to meet some of the players, tee it up and have some fun.”

Drive Fore Kids came together after a disappointing setback. Shamrock Sports organized the Korn Ferry Tour’s Live and Work in Maine Open, which brought golfers on the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit to Maine for a tournament in 2021 and 2022. The tournaments raised $243,000 for the hospital, but demands from the Korn Ferry Tour for a higher purse prompted the tournament to leave Maine after last year despite three years remaining in the agreement.

Corcoran and his team acted fast, and announced plans for the Drive Fore Kids event the day news broke about the Korn Ferry Tour’s decision.

“We don’t like to wave a white flag at anything,” Corcoran said. “We took out the rally towel and said ‘Hey, we have all of these valued sponsors, we have all of these valued volunteers. We don’t want to just close the door on opportunity.'”


Corcoran leaned on Michael Milthorpe, the tournament director of the American Century Championship, for help with recruiting celebrities, as well as his own high-profile contacts, such as Wakefield and Millar. He had a dozen committed to play by November, and the list kept building.

“Call it the Maine home-court advantage. We’ve got a lot to offer,” Corcoran said. “There’s Vacationland, the draw of coming to Maine in the summer with their wives, their husbands, their families, their partners.”

Corcoran is confident the name power associated with the event will allow it to be a fundraising success again.

“We have a commitment to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital of $100,000, we hope … we can blow that number away,” he said. “They need us. We need to find a way to ring the bell and write a big check.”

Fans are taking notice of the field. Pre-sale tickets are up over 10% from last year, according to Corcoran, and corporate chalets are sold out after there were still some available going into the tournament last year.

“I think people will be amazed at how fun this party will be,” he said. “They’ll be shocked at how good these celebrities are at the game of golf, but they’ll be even more surprised by how much access they had to make some great experiences and memories.”


The celebrity list will include some talented golfers with handicaps of scratch or better. Wagner is a two-time winner of the American Century Championship, and Lowe has also won tournaments. Professional bowler Ronnie Russell is a plus-handicap player. Blair O’Neal, a host on the Golf Channel, played collegiately at Arizona State. Sock is a 1 handicap.

It will be a different atmosphere than the Korn Ferry Tour had the previous two years.

“We’ll have live music playing, you won’t see ‘Quiet please’ paddles around greens,” Corcoran said. “They’re here to entertain. You’ll see Robbie Gould kick some field goals on one of the holes, you’ll see Roger Clemens throw a fastball to a kid with a glove. You’ll see Sterling Sharpe catch some balls. … You’d think they have big egos. They don’t. They have big personalities.”

Dempsey said he doesn’t play much golf, and spent Wednesday afternoon working on his game at Falmouth Country Club. He urged fans to say hello when they see him on the course this week.

“Please come up and say ‘hi’ if you’re here,” he said. “And help me find my ball, because I’ll be chasing a lot of them.”

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report

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