Benefit golf tournaments, all funding very worthy causes, are played at Payson Golf Course almost every weekend throughout the summer.
But ask a classroom teacher or school nurse which ones they deem most praiseworthy, and among those cited would probably be the Arizona Elks Association Social Welfare Tournament.
Their affinity for the links fray is due to its cause — it funds the Elks’ “Clothe-A-Child” program which purchases clothing for needy school children.
“This is a statewide program, some of our clubs (donate clothes) at Christmas and some before the first day of school,” said tournament chairman Becky Waer.
“We do it as kind of a confidential thing,” she added.
The tournament has long been a huge success for the Payson Lodge, but 2013 morphed into a banner season.
“This past year with the success of our annual golf tournament and other fundraisers we donated $13,540,” said Waer. “But what’s more amazing is 39 Arizona Elks Lodges clothed 1,257 children.”
In all, the state’s lodges raised $145,918 for the Clothe-A-Child program.
If not for the charity, there would be children who might never ever know the pride of slipping on new clothes for the first day of school or the holidays.
In most years, the Payson tournament draws more than 20 teams including Elks members from Kearney, Sun City, Prescott, Flagstaff, Show Low, Phoenix West, Mesa Buckhorn and Scottsdale.
While the Payson tournament is usually a smashing hit, it suffered a setback of sorts in 2010 when it was rained out at mid-morning — about the time most golfers had played only about four holes.
Although the golfers might have been disappointed, the rain out didn’t affect their benevolence.
“Nobody asked for their money back,” said Waer.
Due to the tournament’s admirable cause and popularity Waer is urging linksters to sign up now for the 2014 Clothe-A-Child benefit, which will be played July 26 at PGC.
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 which includes 18 holes of play with a cart, lunch, raffle prizes and awards for closest to the pin and straightest drive.
Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places.
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 26, a buffet 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 5:30 p.m., with music and dancing from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The day before the tournament, July 25, 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.
Tournament organizers are also in need of tee sponsors. For a minimum donation of $50, 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 emailed to Waer at email@example.com.