Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 22, 2014

Golfing for a good cause, and prizes too

BLUEFIELD — What could be better than spending a spring Saturday playing golf with a bunch of friends. Unless, of course, that golf outing can also contribute to a good cause, while also providing the opportunity to leave with various prizes.

Both can be accomplished when the 2nd Annual Mercer County Spay Association Golf Tournament is held on May 31 at Wolf Creek Golf Club in Bastian, Va.

Animal overpopulation is a definite issue in Mercer County, and this event is being used to try and assist with the situation.

“With what we made off the tournament last year, we were able to spay and neuter 109 animals, and that is pretty good,” said Kiffie Currence, who is one of the organizers of this fundraising event. “We ended up with (63) golfers, and of those 109 animals we spayed and neutered, most of those were with low-income families. That is where most of our animal problems come from.”

Currence, who has two cats of his own, would like to be able to do even more this year.

“I thought we would have more golfers with all the animal issues we have,” said Currence, who has had one of his cats since 1998 and fostered a rescue cat found on Union Street for what was supposed to be 30 days, and still has it 2 1/2 years later. “They want to wait until the last minute, I am afraid. People can help us a whole lot by praying for good weather.”

While there isn’t much they can do about the weather, the rest of what is offered by this event is certainly worth the time and expense.

The $240 fee for a four-man team includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, along with the opportunity to win numerous closest-to-the-pin and hole-in-one prizes, along with various raffles and mulligan opportunities.

“For $60 (per person), that is just a little more than the regular fees,” Currence said. “You also get a chance to win prizes, plus there is a great barbecue dinner and it is 501-C3 non-profit so you can write it off.”

Prizes include $400 for the first place team and $240 for second place. Hole-in-one awards includes a 2014 Malibu provided by Ramey Chevrolet in Princeton for an ace on No. 13, the longest of the four par 3 holes at Wolf Creek.

There is also a seven-night vacation stay in Hawaii for an ace on No. 9.

“Nobody had a hole-in-one last year, but we had some pretty nice closest-to-the-pin prizes,” he said.

Ditto for this year. There are numerous prizes, including eight rounds of golf at Draper Valley — up from four last year — with Currence working on more, and he is also hoping to confirm a $5,000 50-foot putting contest soon.

Hole sponsorships are also being sold for $100 apiece.

“If they sponsor a hole, they are the only sponsor on that hole,” said Currence, who has sold sponsorships on eight of the 18 holes, with nearly a month until the event. “We have had people sponsor holes. We have one guy who sponsored one in memory of his parents and a couple of others bought holes in memory of their pets. It is an all-encompassing thing.”

A barbecue dinner will also follow the tournament, prepared by Lois Miller, who work for the Mercer County Historical Society and is member of the Mercer County Spay Association.

The tournament will begin at 9 a.m.

“You get 18 holes with cart, a chance to win any of the prizes that we have, plus they have a great barbecue dinner after we finish play,” Currence said. “Everybody loved it last year. They really enjoyed that, I got a lot of good compliments on that.”

The event cleared enough money last year to help the county organization helped with controlling at least some of the animal overpopulation issues in the area. Currence would like better in 2014.

“That was pretty good,” Currence said. “I was not satisfied with that, but they told me that was pretty good.”

Currence was, admittedly, a little surprised at the initial slow response of last year’s event, but wound up with 63 golfers and good weather too.

“It is crazy, I thought we would have oodles of golfers because of all the animal issues we have around here,” Currence said. “The day before the tournament we had five teams signed up.

“We had beautiful weather and we had (new) 11 teams in the morning and that was the because of the good media we got.”

Currence was especially pleased with the broad scope of the event, which included golfers or sponsorships from various directions, ranging from California to Ohio to Richmond and even Atlanta.

“I thought that was good pretty good,” said Currence, who added that two teams last year were sponsored by a development company in Lake Tahoe, located on the border of Nevada and California.

Wolf Creek, which is located in a beautiful remote section of Bland County, appears ready for golf, at least from what Currence heard from a resident of War who recently played there.

“He said he played over there two weeks ago and he had never seen that course in that good a shape,” he said.

Currence is also quick to point out that any level of golfer is welcome.

“Some of the groups take it really seriously, but most of the people were there for the cause,” Kiffie Currence said. “They really were.”

For more information about the tournament, contact Kiffie “24-7” at 304-320-2604. Entry or sponsorship fees can be mailed to Currence in care of the Mercer County Spay Association, 1009 Albemarle Street, Bluefield, W.Va. 24701.

While the first year wound up being productive, Currence is looking for even bigger and better on May 31.

“We had 16 teams. If we can get another eight, if we could get 24, 25 or 26 teams, we can handle that,” Currence said. “We could be ecstatic with that kind of turnout. Absolutely.”  

—Contact Brian Woodson

bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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