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Matt Denny’s charity golf

Since being laid off by the Los Angeles Times nearly a year ago, I’ve been involved in free-lance writing and various other projects.

One thing I’ve been doing is covering charity golf tournaments for a national magazine called Tee It Up. I even have a title – Senior Contributing Editor.

Essentially, I get paid for playing golf. Not a bad gig, huh?

Larry Stewart

Larry Stewart

Also, I’ve had some great experiences meeting new people while getting to play some of the best golf courses Southern California has to offer.

I’ve covered tournaments at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Riviera in Pacific Palisades and Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, to name a few.“Our main objective is for everyone to have fun,” McSweeny said of the tournament. “Raising money for charity is our secondary objective.”

I’ve played with movies stars and famous athletes, important executives and just regular folk.

Matt McSweeny in front of his Matt Denny's ale house and restaurant.

Matt McSweeny in front of his Matt Denny's ale house and restaurant.

I’d be hard pressed to say which tournament I’ve enjoyed the most, but ranking high on the chart would be the seventh annual Matt Denny’s tournament, held June 1 at San Dimas Country Club.

The tournament is put on by Matt McSweeny, proprietor of Matt Denny’s Ale House Restaurant at 145 E. Huntington Dr.

McSweeny has owned Matt Denny’s since 1999. Initially he had a partner, Denny Hartman. That’s where the name Matt Denny’s comes from.

McSweeny became the sole owner in 2001.

As many Arcadians know, particularly those who regularly read, Matt Denny’s is one of the most popular sports bar-restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.

(Story continues below two following videos of McSweeny and Matt Denny’s)

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McSweeny said he got the idea of staging a charity golf tournament in 2003 from a customer named John Magee.

“At first I thought, nah, that’s just too much work,” McSweeny said. “But I’m really glad I decided to do it. The tournament has been a great way for our customers to get to know each other.”

With an entry fee of $125, this year’s tournament drew 167 golfers. And with the help of a live auction held afterward at the restaurant, the event raised more than $7,000 for the Arcadia chapter of the American Red Cross.

Despite our economic woes, the 167 golfers and the $7,000 were both tournament records.

“We usually spread the charities around and have a different one each year,” McSweeny said. “But with the all the fires in our area, the Red Cross has been hit real hard and so it has been the beneficiary for the past two years.”

What made this year’s tournament so much fun for me was our foursome. It included Matt, who typifies a fun guy, and Ted Carroll, the principal of Holy Angels, where Matt’s children go to school.

Our other player was Pete Siberell, longtime Santa Anita Racetrack executive and the 2007 Sierra Madre citizen of the year, as selected by that city’s Chamber of Commerce. Good thing Matt included Pete. He was our best golfer by far, and without him no telling what our score in the scramble format might have been.

Note: Matt can hit the ball a country mile, but you never know where it’s going. The only bad thing for me was losing my digital camera. I left it in our golf cart and when I went back to get it, I found the case, but no camera. And with the camera went all the photos I had taken out on the course. That’s why there aren’t more photos with this story.

The lost camera is also one of the reasons I’m just getting around to writing about the Matt Denny tournament. I was hoping someone might find the camera and turn it in. I know that’s wishful thinking on my part. Replacing the camera was no big deal. A trip to the new Best Buy on Mountain Avenue in Monrovia took care of that.

The sad part is the photos I took are gone. So to remember all the fun I had that day, I’ll just have to rely on my memory.

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