tee time

by Mary Francis Oct 2014

Bon Jovi drummer, philanthropist and Jupiter resident Tico Torres, 61, 
talks golf, his upcoming Celebrity Golf 
Classic and his favorite local spots.

What inspired you to start the Tico Torres Children Foundation?

I used to put my name behind other charity foundations, like with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, but I wanted to do more. ... By doing my own foundation, I had more freedom to give money to more places.

Why was it important to focus your charity work toward children?

If you want to change the world, you have to help the children.

How did you select the American Cancer Society and Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health as the charities the Tico Torres Celebrity Golf Classic will benefit?

I was asked to teach an art class for two or three hours at the Jerome Center and was enamored with the place and with what they’re doing. It was beautiful to see the unfiltered creativity in these kids. And the American Cancer Society is an organization that’s been around awhile with pediatrics. We’ve all had people in our lives with cancer.

How did you choose golf as the sport for your charity event?

Golf is the only sport I can think of that can be played by anyone at any age. Honestly, I’ve met more interesting people in golf than I have in my career as an artist, because it’s an effervescent equalizer.

When did you start playing golf?

Willie Nelson got me into golf. He was my mentor for that. I was having lunch at his home in Austin, Texas, and he asked if I’d ever played golf. At that time I didn’t really care for the game, but after lunch we went to his golf course with just a 7-iron and a putter. I’m walking around with an icon on a beautiful, lazy afternoon talking about life. I said to myself, ‘This is a nice game.’

Favorite places to golf in South Florida?

PGA National, Admirals Cove, The Bear’s Club and La Gorce Country Club in Miami.

Favorite spot in Jupiter?

I like Dune Dog. It’s cool. It seems like old Florida to me.

Join Torres on Nov. 8-10 at the Tico Torres Celebrity Golf Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa.