About this Atlanta Charity Sports Event
Toby Wade Chapin was a kid magnet. His exuberant personality and joyful energy made him an instant hit with friends’ and family members’ children. Today, thanks to his family and friends, more than 18 years after his death, Chapin continues to help children through the Toby Wade Chapin Memorial Golf Tournament.
Roger Miers, President and General Manager of RiverPines Golf in Johns Creek, was Chapin’s long-time friend and the man primarily responsible for keeping his friend’s memory alive through the tournament.
The two became friends when Chapin’s family moved into the same Dunwoody neighborhood when Miers was in seventh grade. “We hit it off right off the bat. We both enjoyed basketball, and we had a great competitive friendship,” Miers said.
Chapin and his family moved to Florida when the boys were in high school, but the two stayed in touch. Chapin became passionately involved in golf and went on to play the sport at Georgia Southern University.
Chapin made golf his life and became respected by his peers as one of the best players in the Georgia PGA. However, while playing on the South African Tour in 1984, Chapin’s leg began to swell. Tests revealed he had leiomyosarcoma, an extremely rare type of cancer. The treatments were tough on Chapin’s body and affected the use of his right leg.
But golf kept Chapin going. Despite his diagnosis, he continued to play competitively. A highlight of his career was winning the 1989 Georgia PGA Section Championship and earning a place in the field of the 1990 BellSouth Atlanta Golf Classic. He also served as a head professional at several courses, including Jones Creek Golf Club in Augusta. During that time, Miers, who had also become a passionate player and fan of the sport, decided to create his own golf course. And he could think of no better person than his friend to help him.
The two worked with architects and planners to create RiverPines. In 1990, they opened the first phase and began planning for the championship course. During that time, Chapin’s cancer, which had been in remission, returned. Miers and Chapin opened the championship course in November 1992. Though extremely ill, Chapin was there with his friend to celebrate the grand opening. He died six months later, May 5, 1993.
“Toby was a great influence on many, many people. He really worked at keeping in touch with people,” Miers said. “He was like the glue that held everyone together.”
To honor Chapin, Miers and other friends of Chapin’s decided to host a golf tournament. The Toby Wade Chapin Memorial Golf Tournament began in 1993.
In recent years, matching gifts from the Forrest C. and Frances H. Lattner Foundation have more than doubled the tournament’s impact. Since its inception, the tournament has raised more than $550,000 for patient family support programs within the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, including funding the Toby Wade Chapin Family Room and a teen room. Miers said his friend would have been flattered by his continued legacy. “I think he would have been extremely proud. Toby’s been gone a long time now, but every year people come to this tournament and talk about him and learn about him. I miss him, but I’m so proud that I can share with others how much he meant to me.”