Groups team up to tee off for charity

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 9, 2009

VIDALIA — Even if every swing is a slice, everyone with dreams of hitting a hole-in-one is welcome to the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce and FarGolf, Inc.’s Golf Gala fundraiser later this month.

The proceeds from the tournament will be split between the chamber and FarGolf, which as a non-profit organization, distributes the money it receives to other local charities.

“We are just trying to have a fun evening there,” FarGolf founder Larry Wagoner said.

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The event, which will start at 7:30 p.m. June 26 at the FarGolf driving range, will have several contests, including a hole-in-one contest with a $10,000 prize.

The hole-in-one contest is limited to 10 qualifiers, and to qualify contestants will have to hit a ball into a small swimming pool. Qualifiers will be given three chances for $20.

“If someone hits three balls in the pool, they are the top qualifier,” Wagoner said. “You have got to hit at least one ball in the pool to qualify. If it takes nine balls to qualify, that’s $20 for every three balls.”

But the hole-in-one contest itself won’t be as easy as hitting a ball into a swimming pool.

“It will be a regular golf cup at a distance beyond 167 yards,” Wagoner said. “We are not going to give away the exact yardage until that day.”

The chamber purchases special insurance from a company for the hole-in-one contest, Chamber President Sam Jones said.

“We have to have our witnesses, but should someone hit the hole-in-one, that company would pay the $10,000.”

The event will also have a water hazard contest, in which participants try to hit a ball into the water — in this case, a kiddie swimming pool — rather than avoid it.

“We are going to have three swimming pools set up there and let them hit it into the first one,” Wagoner said. “If they hit it in the first one, they get to the second, and the same with the third.”

Each successive pool will be further back than the preceding one, Wagoner said.

A third contest featured at the fundraiser will be the Flatstick Drive, in which contestants try to hit the ball the furthest using only a putter.

The winner of that contest will receive a new putter.

Finally, putt-putt tournaments for four age groups, 4-6, 7-10, 11-13 and 14 and older will be going on at the event.

Even though the putt-putt tournament is age-bracketed, anyone of any age is allowed to participate in all of the contests, Jones said.

“There is no limitation if a 10-year-old wanted to try the hole in one,” Jones said.

The chamber’s portion of the proceeds will be used for further chamber development, Jones said.

Charities FarGolf supports include Feed the Hungry, Sunshine Shelter, Storefront Mission, Breadcrumb Ministries and Sellers Maternity Home.