The real winners in the annual Arizona Elks Association-hosted “Clothe-a-Child” golf tournaments are the state’s needy children.
That’s because all the proceeds from the series of tournaments around the state, including the one held each summer at Payson Golf Course, are used to purchase much-needed clothing for disadvantaged school 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.”
Last year, the Elks’ Clothe-a-Child program purchased $125,000 worth of new clothing that was doled out to 1,151 Arizona children in need.
The money clothes 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.
In Payson alone, more than $7,000 was raised during last year’s tournament and the accompanying benefit bingo game and raffles.
Most unusual about the amount is the fact that the tournament was rained out at mid-morning after most players were able to get in only about four holes of play.
“But nobody asked for their money back,” said Waer.
In 2009, 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.
Since last year’s tournament was shortened by rain and no champs crowned, the PMGA foursome remain the defending champions.
Due to the tournament’s admirable cause, Waer is urging linksters to sign up now for the 2011 Clothe-A-Child benefit when it is played June 11 at Payson Golf Course.
The tournament has been traditionally played in July or August, but the date was moved up this year so as not to conflict with other state Elk activities.
Check-in is at 7 a.m. when coffee and donuts will be served. At 8 a.m. the fray gets off to 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, ($55 for PGC members) which includes 18 holes of play with a cart, lunch, raffle prizes and awards for closest to the pin and straightest drive.
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 and even higher at other benefits around the state.
The evening of the local tournament, June 11, a dinner, cocktail hour, silent auction, music and dancing will be held at the Payson Elks Lodge. The no-host cocktail hour begins at 5 p.m., the dinner at 6 p.m. and music from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The day before the tournament, June 10, the Elks Lodge lounge will open at noon. Live music and a silent auction begin at 5:30 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.
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 also reserve rooms at several local hotels and motels including Best Western Inn of Payson, Comfort Inn, Majestic Mountain Inn, Days Inn, Paysonglo Lodge, Motel 6, Mazatzal Hotel and Casino and Budget Inn and Suites.
Tournament organizers are also in need of tee sponsors. For a minimum donation of $25, a 2-foot-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.
Questions may also be e-mailed to Waer at firstname.lastname@example.org.