Former pro golfer Greg Jacobson is teaming up with the Ridgefield Golf Club to host a charity golf tournament to benefit the fight against multiple sclerosis, a disabling illness Jacobson, known to friends and fans as “Jake,” has been battling since 2007. The, tournament, which appropriately will be called “The Jake” will be held Wed., Sept. 25, at the Ridgefield Golf Club (RGC).
A resident of Wilton, Jacobson was captain of the Williams College golf team while matriculating in Williamstown, MA and was named an NCAA Golf All-American in 1981. From 1982-84 he played professional golf on the Space Coast Mini-Tour. After regaining his amateur status, Jake was a fixture for more than 20 years at the Ridgefield Golf Club. He won numerous RGC championships and in 1995, shot a course record of 67. A regular competitor in Connecticut State Golf Association (CSGA) tournaments, Jacobson has played in many Connecticut opens, amateur and mid-amateur competitions.
In 2011 Jake’s golf career came to an abrupt halt when, after years of baffling symptoms that increasingly limited his physical capabilities, he was officially diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis, a debilitating form of the disease in which individuals lose motor function over time.
“Multiple sclerosis side-lined me [and] has robbed me of a lifestyle I loved,” said Jacobson, who now uses a cane for stability and support. “Although MS has deprived me of many things, it can’t rob me of my unrelenting determination to help ensure science keeps moving forward toward better treatments and what I want most, a cure.”
The Jake, a traditional “best ball” golf tournament for teams of two features, three separate divisions: men’s (80 percent handicap); women’s (80 percent handicap) and scratch (no handicap). Professionals are welcome. Tee-time 1 p.m. Entry fee includes golf, cart, range, lunch, dinner, drinks, on-course contests, prizes, drawings and a silent auction. Sponsorship opportunities are currently available.
Jacobson, who along with his wife, Alison, owns and operates Accessible Home Living, a company that designs and installs accessibility features for homes, including ramps to bathrooms, residential elevators, accessible modular in-law suites and more. Faced with the many challenges associated with disability and accessibility, the couple established the company to ensure that people of all ages and abilities may be able to live as independently as possible in their own homes.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents are affected by multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms can include numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in severe cases, complete paralysis.
Most people who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis have relapsing-remitting MS in which patients experience attacks when symptoms flare up. A relapse is followed by recovery or remission of symptoms that can last for weeks, months or longer. Primary progressive MS steadily worsens. Ten to 15 percent of people with MS are diagnosed with primary progressive MS.
The Jake 2013 is sponsored by Fairfield County Bank. For more information or to register for The Jake 2013, visit www.playthejake.com. To request an electronic brochure, email tournament chair Mike Reilly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways to help make a difference through Do It Yourself Fundraising, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.
PHOTO: (L to R) Jack Killea, 2006 Williams College golf team; Jim Duggan, current member of The Jake tournament committee; Drew Murray, 2006 Williams College golf team, and Greg “Jake” Jacobson, founder of The Jake Golf Tournament to Benefit MS, pose left-to-right. The Jake will be played on Wed., Sept. 25, at the Ridgefield Golf Club. For more information, visit www.playthejake.com.