RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - There was a time that only VIP's got inside the famous pink walls surrounding the Sunnylands Estate in Rancho Mirage, and you had to be a real VIP to play the 9-hole golf course there. But, one lucky group got that chance Tuesday.
"They've been teaching us how to play golf. Yeah, they're good teachers," said Desert Arc Client, Derek McKinley.
Desert Arc held its annual golf tournament, the Desert Arc & First Tee Annual Tournament, which gives players the opportunity to play at the historic nine-hole golf course located at the Annenberg retreat.
"They look forward to it. They sign up for it and they can't wait to be here, and its one of our great signature events for the year," said Deputy Executive Director for Desert, Mitch Blumberg.
The players got to team up with teenage golfers that are part of the First Tee Golf and Life Skills program.
"You watch them interact, the kids are fabulous with our clients, and our clients love the attention and playing golf here," said Blumberg.
Desert Arc, a non-profit celebrating 55 years in the valley, provides social services, job training and other opportunities to more than 600 clients with disabilities.
"Putting together the kids from the First Tee with our disabled clients out here on this golf course is just a magical event," Blumberg added.
Sunnylands has played host for the tournament for the past 3 years.
"We were the first people ever in history to play golf here after the Annenbergs died," Blumberg said.
"We decided to reach out to different groups and see if they would want to use the property and if it would help them. We reached out and they chose to come out and use the facility," said Leonore Deshong, the Annenberg's grandaughter.
She says the golf tournament is one of her favorite events of the year.
"It means the world to me. I look forward to it every year. I look forward to coming and helping and seeing the kids play and the kids mentor the adults, and we're watching the adults play. It just to me... this is what life is about," Deshong said.
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