Pay $105 to play golf in 30-degree weather? Yeah, but it’s for a good cause

·2 min read

FRANKFORD, N.J. — The middle of winter is not an ideal time for a round of golf. But for many regulars at the United Way Chili Open Golf Classic, the event would not be complete without freezing temperatures and several inches of snow.

The annual fundraiser benefiting low-income residents in five northern New Jersey counties is scheduled to return to the Sussex County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Feb. 5, after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chili Open participants play 18 holes on custom-made courses at the fairgrounds, using brightly colored golf balls that are easier to find if they get lost in the snow. Once the round is over, golfers warm up with a buffet of chili and other food from local restaurants, enjoy live music and take part in a raffle of prizes from local businesses.

Now in its 18th year, the Chili Open is organized by United Way of Northern New Jersey in partnership with the rotary clubs of Newton, Branchville and Wallkill Valley. Proceeds benefit households in poverty or identified by United Way as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) — in other words, residents who do not earn enough to afford basic household items.

According to the most recent United Way ALICE Report, 27 percent of New Jersey residents fall under the ALICE threshold and another 10 percent live below the federal poverty level. As of 2018, 28 percent of Sussex County households qualified in one of the two groups in need of assistance.

“For ALICE essential workers, the road to recovery will be a long one,” said Kiran Handa Gaudioso, the CEO of United Way of Northern New Jersey. “(The Chili Open) is a great way to have some fun while coming together as a community to help those hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Tickets for this year’s Chili Open are $105 per golfer and $400 per foursome. Event sponsors include Thorlabs, Franklin Mutual Insurance, Lakeland Bank, the Newton Medical Center Foundation and Selective Insurance.

To register for the Chili Open, or for more information on the event, go to uwnnj.org/chili2022.