Golfers from as far away as the mountain towns of Aspen and Dillon descended on the Spring Valley Golf Club just north of Elizabeth on July 10 for the fourth annual Charity Golf Tournament. Each year the tournament, sponsored by the Elbert County Sheriff's Office, raises money for projects and community outreach.
“The sheriff is very community-conscious and of what we can do to help the community,” said Sgt. Troy McCoy, who handles community relations for the sheriff's office and was in charge of organizing the event.
McCoy said 164 golfers forming 41 teams registered to play. The event has become so popular that McCoy had to turn people away for nearly a month leading up to the tournament, and Spring Valley, which discounts the use of the course by 50 percent for the tournament, brought in additional carts to accommodate the capacity crowd.
The tournament rules are simple: The four-man scramble uses the best ball to play 18 holes. The lowest team score wins. There may not be any handicaps, but there are plenty of incentives to play well. Prizes were offered for closest to the pin on four holes (two for men and two for women), a hole-in-one prize, and a longest drive competition.
One hole offered golfers the opportunity, for an additional donation, to use a golf-ball launcher in lieu of their tee shot.
“The launcher works like a potato gun and can launch a golf ball up to around 250 yards,” said Janet Maloney, who helped coordinate the tournament and performs victim advocacy for the sheriff's office.
Additionally, participants could putt for a chance to win watches and buy raffle tickets for giveaways that included three guns and a set of irons.
Following the round of golf, participants enjoyed a lunch and the raffle for prizes donated by local businesses.
With such a response, this year's tournament is well on track to reaching or exceeding the $5,000 raised last year.
In past years, the sheriff's office used the funds raised at the tournament to buy Christmas presents for Elbert County families in need, and last year purchased a Raptor system for Legacy Academy in Elizabeth.
The $3,000 Raptor helps school officials monitor people visiting their campuses by scanning state-issued identifications and screening them for registered sex offenses, restraining orders and custody issues.
The department hopes to repeat the purchase for another school in the county with funds raised this year.