A legacy of giving and golf

Carmosino forms the Rocky Mountain Italian Golf Association with a specific goal in mind

Al CarmosinoOn Al Carmosino’s trips to Italy, he tours prosciutto, cheese and balsamic vinegar factories rather than churches. To him, that same aesthetic is an important part of his yearly golf tournament that raises money for CU Cancer Center.

“Churches are beautiful, but after a while they all look the same,” says Carmosino, 82 and a semiretired attorney from Evergreen. Likewise, “you go to some golf tournaments and get a hot dog, but we wanted to keep the Italian culture going. We put on a full sit-down dinner with sausage, peppers, pasta and an open bar.”

Not to mention donated entertainment like Perry Como, whose personal music arranger was a Denverite and friend of the group.

Carmosino lost his mother to uterine cancer and his father to stomach cancer. In the 1980s he joined a golf group based in Palm Springs, Calif. that was raising money for charity and thought he’d try something similar a little closer to home. “My friend just said, ‘Get it done, kid’,” Carmosino recalls, “so we tried it here and it worked.”

In 1989 the Rocky Mountain Italian Golf Association was born for one simple purpose: “Cure cancer,” Carmosino says.

Since then, Carmosino, his wife Mildred and their many friends have organized yearly golf tournaments at the Inverness Hotel lasting three days and featuring out-of-town talents including—in addition to Como—singer Buddy Greco, Danny and the Juniors and The Four Aces. And of course, plenty of good Italian food and drink.

Carmosino wouldn’t have it any other way. “It was a party, a festival,” Carmosino says. Nearly 80 golfers have participated in each tournament through the years. “Perry Como brought a lot of people with him, so it mushroomed.”

At $650 a head, including the big-name entertainment, which was donated, and three days of golf and bocce, it was a successful benefit for the
Cancer Center, raising more than half a million dollars over more than two decades. The group provided the food for the hotel to prepare and serve; various refreshments, wine and the bar were donated.

Rocky Mountain Italian Golf Association

“People have been coming for years,” Carmosino says, “but a lot of the ones who started the tournament aren’t here anymore.” The economy also had an impact on the three-day benefit, so early in the last decade, the tournament was scaled back to one day.

“People have been bugging me to organize another one, so we’ll probably have one tournament next September.” The events take about six months to organize and everyone involved is a volunteer. Carmosino adds that no one, not even the personnel who work the golf course, is paid.

In its early days, you had to be Italian to be part of the Rocky Mountain Italian Golf Association, but that ended long ago. In fact, the association has
no membership per sé; it’s just a 501(c)3 entity that supports charity. Playing in the tournament is by invitation. “If you get out of line, like drink too much, you aren’t invited back,” Carmosino says.

Carmosino graduated from the University of Denver law school in 1955 and has been in practice since then. “It was great in those days,” he says, “because no one really specialized, so you got to know the profession really well.” Today, in his office in Northglenn, Carmosino is semi-retired and works mostly with wills and trusts.

But Carmosino is still focused on charity—and having fun while supporting it.

“My main goal is to help find a cure for cancer,” he says. “I’m just one of many people who give their time to this kind of thing.”

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About the author: Mary Lemma

Mary Lemma has been writing professionally for more than 25 years, including more than ten years in higher education and, since 2008, as a freelance writer for the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the CU School of Medicine Alumni Relations office. She is a regular contributor to the CU Cancer Center newsletter, C3, and contributes to the CU Denver downtown campus alumni publication.

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