Dream 18: The Mission

by: Brent Martineau Updated:

Dave DeCandis takes aim at Jaxson de Ville on the Dream 18

A young girl teeing it up next to Tim Tebow. It's a memory that will last a life time.

A young man with autism draining a 30-foot putt for par while three members of the Jacksonville Jaguars watch, cheer and share the moment. These are memories that highlight our Dream 18.

This project has now become a passion and the result has been the promotion of the game of golf, money donated to charity and memories that people will be talking about for years.

We started the Dream 18 in 2010 to help grow the game of golf in a struggling economy. The idea was an 18 week summer project featuring one golf hole at a different area course every week.

The players include one golf pro, one member of the media, one child from the First Tee, and someone we called "America's Guest."

The guest was often a celebrity - local or national. In recent years we've have had Arnold Palmer, Tim Tebow, Anthony Kim, Urban Meyer, Tom Coughlin, Jim Furyk, Bill Murray, Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus and numerous others play or contribute.

Because of the celebrity aspect, our Dream 18 evolved into a charitable fundraiser. We have our celebs autograph pin flags.

The flags are auctioned off to raise money for children's charities. Our primary charities are the First Tee of St. Johns County, the First Tee of Jacksonville and Dreams Come True, but the flags have been donated to several other worthy causes, too.

Our three year total will reach over $10,000 raised for local charities - a number we're proud of for the grassroots effort this has become. We continue to find ways to increase our charitable donations in hopes of growing and giving more.

Here's one example of how the money raised made a difference. We were able to help send a sick child and his family to Disney World for a week.

In the last three years, we have featured almost 50 golf courses on our Sunday night sports show and each hole also can be viewed on our website.

The Dream 18 has been a win-win for everyone. We provide entertaining content on our television platforms and also provide great exposure for the game of golf in one of the premiere places to play in the entire world.