A round of golf can be fun and rewarding. But playing golf for a worthwhile cause is even more convivial and gratifying.
Among the Rim Country golf tournaments in which golfers can play 18 holes knowing they are also helping fund an admirable cause is the Arizona Elks Association Social Welfare Clothe-a-Child golf tournament.
All proceeds are used to purchase clothing for needy and disadvantaged children.
“This is a statewide program, some of our clubs do it (donate clothes) at Christmas and some before the first day of school,” said tournament chairman Becky Waer. “We do it through the schools, so it is kind of a confidential thing.”
Waer estimates that last year more than $134,000 worth of clothing was given to 1,265 Arizona children in need.
In Payson alone, over $7,000 was raised from the 2009 tournament and the accompanying benefit Bingo game and raffles.
The tournament drew 23 teams of 92 golfers including Elks members from Kearney, Sun City, Prescott, Flagstaff, Show Low, Phoenix West, Mesa Buckhorn and Scottsdale.
But none of those visiting entrants could defeat the hometown championship foursome of Troy Neal, Terry Lindsey, Tony Mularski and Steve Vincent.
All are members of the Payson Men’s Golf Association.
The money earned in 2009 helped clothe local children who might not have felt the pride of slipping on new clothes for the first day of school or the holidays if it were not for the program.
Around Arizona, teachers, administrators and school health care professionals laud the Elks members for the program’s contributions to children’s welfare.
Because of the tournament’s admirable cause, Waer is urging linksters to participate in the next Clothe-A-Child benefit when it is played July 31 at Payson Golf Course.
Check-in is at 7 a.m. and an hour later the fray gets off with a shotgun start. The format is four-man teams of best-ball play and golfers who do not have a team will be assigned one.
The fee is $80 per golfer, which includes 18 holes of play with a cart, lunch, raffle prizes and awards for closest-to-the-pin and straightest drive. The fee for members of Payson Golf Course is $60.
The fee, whichever is paid, is a legitimate links bargain. The fee for the social welfare golf tournament hosted by the Chandler Elks Lodge is $115 per player.
The evening of the local tournament, a dinner, cocktail hour, silent auction, music and dancing will be held at Payson Elks Lodge #2154.
Coffee and donuts will also be served prior to the start of play at PGC.
The day before the tournament, the Elks Lodge lounge will open at noon. Live music and a silent auction begin at 6 p.m., with dinner served from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For those who don’t golf, there will also be plenty of activities going on at the lodge including Bingo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Non-golfers can also purchase lunch ($5) and dinner tickets ($15), which will be available at the lodge.
For those who RV, hookups and dry sites will be available at the local lodge.
The fee is $5 for a dry site and $15 for hookup. There is also a dump station at the lodge.
Visiting golfers can reserve rooms at Best Western Inn of Payson for reduced rates. Reservations must be made by July 16.
Tournament organizers are also in need of tee sponsors. For a minimum donation of $25, a 2-by 1-1/2) foot sign on a tee box at PGC will acknowledge sponsors.
Entry forms are available at the Elks Lodge located at 1206 N. Beeline Highway. For details, call Waer at (928) 476-3678, or the lodge at (928) 474-2572.