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"It's Nice to be Nice"

Eddie Szpaicher Golf Classic set to take place at Holiday Valley July 15th
photo/Eddie Szpaicher Golf Classic

Eddie Szpaicher’s words of eternal wisdom still ring true. In the midst of the global crisis we find ourselves in and the constant back-and-forth bickering, we could all practice his words a little more often. In 2012, “Big Ed” — as he was affectionately known — passed away unexpectedly. But his legacy lives on in the Eddie Szpaicher Golf Classic. 

On Wednesday, July 15th, the 9th Annual returns to Holiday Valley. Less about golf and more about a celebration of a life well lived, the tournament has become a staple on the summer golf circuit. While this year will look different due to COVID-19 — no party, no dinner and no hugs — the love is still there. 

“This year, it’s strictly golf,” said Brooke Szpaicher, Eddie’s daughter. “We still wanted to have it, but didn’t want to scare anyone off by having a tournament. So this year it’s the Eddie Szpaicher Golf Classic. The number of golfers is limited, and we’re not having a dinner, but it’s more about the scholarship than anything else. Dennis and Shelley Baldwin from Bike & Bean are rolling burritos for lunch. Weed Ross Insurance donated facemasks. It really is a community event.” 

While the day of remains one of the most fun of the summer, it’s the aftermath that packs a punch. Since the tournament started, the Szpaicher family has given out over $45,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from Ellicottville Central School. 

“Seniors have to meet certain criteria — over 85 average, two varsity sports and community service — and this year we were proud to award them to Niklas Logel and Madyson Kilby.” 

It’s this type of lasting legacy Eddie would be proud of. This year remains small, but next year — the 10th anniversary — the family wants to go big. 

“We were disappointed we weren’t able to host as many golfers as we normally would, but we wanted to stay safe,” Brooke said. “Next year for the 10th we’ve got a big goal!”

The scholarship is funded not by the revenue from golf, but the generous donations of the local community — both direct and as hole sponsors. You can donate to the cause at www.bigedgolf.com