Fore! minutes with Weekend Jetaway host, golfer Tom Lehman

2014 Elevate Phoenix (Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

North Scottsdale resident and PGA golfer Tom Lehman will partner with area businesses for the 4th Weekend Jetaway Culinary Casino Classic on Friday, Oct. 23.

A twist on the traditional charity fundraising dinner or gala, Weekend Jetaway is set within a private jet hangar in the Scottsdale Airpark and features a world-class DJ, culinary creations from leading Valley chefs, cocktails and casino games.

During the event guests will take part in a casino-style dice game, with several winners taking home a multitude of luxury prizes, including the grand prize—an all-inclusive, first-class trip on a private jet for four. A live and silent auction will also take place during the event, and all proceeds benefit Elevate Phoenix.

Though he and the team are busily coordinating the unique “taste” event, Mr. Lehman recently sat down with us to talk life, the links and—of course—the big event.

How old were you when you first started playing golf, and when did you go pro?

I first tried it around third  grade, but didn’t really get into it regularly until I was around 12, so more the sixth grade. A little over a decade later, by age 23, I went pro.

What is your favorite memory as a pro?

In 1999, I was a member of the American Ryder Cup team. This annual competition between American and European golfers is among one of the biggest events of the golf year. The Europeans were leading 10–6 heading into the final round, but we rallied on Sunday. My teammates included the late, great Payne Stewart, Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and others.

Least favorite?

I missed a two-foot putt on the 18th green of the Phoenix Open one year that caused me to miss the cut, and that is about as mad as I ever got on the course.

Tom Lehman (submitted photo)

Tom Lehman (submitted photo)

Who is your favorite golfer?

As a kid, I admired Arnold Palmer because of his style and aggressive nature. As an adult a fellow professional, I would say the late Byron Nelson because – in addition to being an amazing player – he lived his life off the course as meaningfully as he did on it.

What are some of your favorite courses in the Valley?

DC Ranch for sure. I also love the TPC Scottsdale, Encanterra, Verrado and the Phoenix Country Club.

For most people, golf is a hobby. Since it is your job (and passion), what are some hobbies?

I love fly fishing, specifically in mountain streams for trout, and playing any games with my kids. I also have a passion for volunteering.

What community causes are you passionate about?

One near to my heart is Elevate Phoenix, where I serve as a founding board member. Our mission is to strengthen character, empower knowledge and elevate relationships among youth in Arizona’s most urban communities. Currently, we have a 98 percent graduation rate and 90 percent post-secondary rate among participating youth.

Weekend Jetaway is all about raising funds for Elevate Phoenix – by giving people one heck of a party. Tell us more:

On Friday, Oct. 23, I am proud to partner with fellow neighborhood business AXA Advisors Southwest as well as some amazing local partners including The Four Seasons, Rhythm & Wine, Jalapeno Inferno, Brio, Sprinkles, Melting Pot, Capital Grill North Scottsdale, Twin Peaks, DoubleTree Paradise Valley Resort, Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market, SOL Cocina, Postinos, Arcadia Tavern and many more on the 4th Annual Weekend Jetaway Culinary Casino Classic.

The “taste” event is a little different than traditional fundraisers readers might be used to.

How so?

First, the location: we host the event – thanks to Scottsdale’s own AeroJet – in a luxe private jet hangar. Second, the vibe: we’ve done away with the sit-down dinner and instead offer guests the opportunity to sample some of the best chefs in Arizona’s menus at their pace.

Third, and this is the big one: rather than a band or dancing, we indulge our guests in a dice-style casino game during the event, with the night’s ultimate champion taking home an all-inclusive private jet vacation for four! Oh, the auction is pretty spectacular too!

How can the local community get involved?

In addition to purchasing tickets to the event, which are available for $125 at, we are really hoping that our Airpark friends will consider donations to our silent and live auction or even a sponsorship to be our full partner on this undertaking. The majority of funds from the evening come from our silent and live auctions – so every little bit helps in a BIG WAY toward our goal.

Anyone with any questions or ideas for auction items can reach us through the website or directly by contacting

Ms. Bailin is a volunteer correspondent at the North Valley Office of Independent Newsmedia.

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