Ask any classroom teacher or school nurse who has referred a needy student to the Arizona Elks Association-hosted “Clothe-a-Child” program and they’ll tell you the real winners in the association’s annual benefit golf tournaments are 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.”
Each year, the Elks’ Clothe-a-Child program purchases $100,000-plus worth of new clothing that is doled out to more than 1,000 Arizona children in need.
The numbers could be even greater this year given the state of the economy.
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.
In Payson alone, more than $7,000 was raised during last year’s tournament and the accompanying benefit Bingo game and raffles.
In 2010, the unspeakable happened when the tournament was rained out at mid-morning — about the time most golfers had played only about four holes.
“But nobody asked for their money back,” said Waer.
In most years, the tournament draws more than 20 teams including Elks members from Kearney, Sun City, Prescott, Flagstaff, Show Low, Phoenix West, Mesa Buckhorn and Scottsdale.
In July - again
Due to the tournament’s admirable cause, Waer is urging linksters to sign up now for the 2012 Clothe-A-Child benefit, which will be played July 21 at Payson Golf Course.
Last year, the tournament was played in June so as not to conflict with other state Elks activities. This summer, however, it has returned to its traditional July date.
Check-in is at 7 a.m. when coffee and doughnuts 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 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, July 21, 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., with music by Junction 87 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The day before the tournament, July 20, 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, 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 email@example.com.