Furyk & Friends tee shot promotes golf cart safety


For 14-year-old Ali Colteryahn and her family, the last eight months have been difficult times after she was involved in a car crash while driving a golf cart, but there are many more bright spots in their lives lately, including Ali given the honor of hitting the ceremonial first tee shot at the 2023 Constellation Furyk & Friends golf tournament on Oct. 6.

Ali was involved in the crash while heading to a Nocatee grocery store to pick up a snack, and although that is the last memory she has from that day, but her mother Michelle recalls the scary moments following the crash after she received a call from Ali’s cell phone.

“There was screaming and crying on the other end, but it wasn’t Ali. It was other people who were at the scene, and they told me I needed to get there right away,” Michele Colteryahn said.

Ali was airlifted to the Porter Family Children’s Trauma Center at Wolfson Children's Hospital where the level I pediatric trauma center team was awaiting her arrival and rushed her to a CT scan.

Ali remained unresponsive and was placed on a ventilator. Her skull was fractured, and she had a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. 

Brighter days are now back once again for Ali and her family and she is using her experience to help be an advocate for golf cart safety, especially for children and teens.

According to Wolfson Children’s, patients admitted for injuries from golf cart crashes have increased more than 50% since 2020 and can range from traumatic brain injuries and fractures to concussions and broken bones, among others. 

It was the message she shared while at Furyk & Friends and in many ways hitting the ceremonial tee shot to kick off the tournament was the culmination of all the hard times and hard work put in over the recent months.

According to Michele, seeing what her daughter went through has made her have an appreciation for everything life has to offer, whether it be big or small.

“It has forever changed my life honestly,” Michele Colteryahn said. “Just from where we were eight months ago, which I never in a million years thought we would be, but the value of life now is so much different for me and for Ali.”

One of the missions with the creation of the Furyk & Friends tournament was to also open up further outlets to help serve the community through its foundation and its partners and Ali’s journey was something Jim and Tabitha Furyk wanted to support.

According to Furyk, there is not much better of a way to advocate to children and teens than by having them hear stories from someone their own age, which can make all the difference in getting the message across.

“We knew it was important for her to advocate for other kids, so that made it really important to us as well,” Tabitha Furyk said. “To be careful on a golf cart is obviously really important and what better way to advocate than with us being here on a golf course today. We’re so thankful to partner with the (Wolfson Children’s) hospital and hear all the positive stories that come out of there all the time.”