September 3, 2014

St. Mary’s Auxiliary holding annual charity golf tournament

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — The 14th annual Charity Golf Tournament at the Pine River Golf Club in Standish is scheduled for June 8, with the aim of raising money for St. Mary’s of Michigan Standish Hospital (SMMSH).

The proceeds from the tournament are disbursed to the hospital to buy equipment or for remodeling projects.

According to SMMSH Auxiliary Chairwoman Ernestine Potts, the tournament takes the form of an 18-hole golf scramble. Teams of four players will tee off, with the best hit being the one that is counted.

“Each player tees off, and they take the best shot,” Potts said. “The other three pick up their balls and shoot from there. It’s not like everyone hits from where their ball landed.”

“It speeds the game up and cuts down on the score,” Potts added.

Potts said there are prizes available for the two teams with the lowest scores, and for the top men’s, women’s, and mixed teams. She said raffles, such as a hot box and a 50/50, are also planned, and getting a hole-in-one would result in a special prize: a 2013 Chevy Malibu, courtesy of Richardson Chevrolet. In years past, Potts said prizes have included overnight hotel stays in Tawas or Mount Pleasant, and two-day cruises.

The cost is $300 per four-person team, which includes lunch, dinner, a golf cart, and of course, the 18 holes of golf. Potts said it comes out to $75 per person, and people interested in participating can register at the event itself. Otherwise, they can pre-register at the Pine River Golf Course or through Kelly Kuehnemund at the hospital, she said.

There is a 36-team limit, and the scramble usually has come in slightly below or at that number. Potts said one year they had more than 36 teams and let them play anyway.

Potts said the golf tournament started 14 years ago, when she served as the chairwoman of an American Cancer Society golf tournament. She said volunteers in Arenac County worked tirelessly to raise money, but after she was told they were unable to donate any funds raised toward helping a single mother in Sterling suffering from cancer, she decided the county should do something to raise its own money.

“All we got were a wig shop and some brochures,” Potts said. “I asked if we could give some of the money we raised in the county, and they said if we did that, they’d have to do it for more people.”

The golf scramble had a positive response, Potts said, though how the money gets disbursed has changed over the years. Initially it was used to pay half of the cost for new hospital equipment, and then departments would put in requests that the auxiliary would go through to decide what to fund. Now, the auxiliary works with each department and gives each one some funding when needed, Potts said.

The outing usually raises about $7,000, she said. In years past, funds from it and other fundraising activities the auxiliary holds — such as its hospital gift shop, and donations from local businesses — have allowed the hospital to purchase treadmills, a blood pressure machine, decontamination equipment, a cardiac rehabilitation monitoring system, and door alarms to detect wandering patients, among other equipment. In all, over $131,000 has been raised by the auxiliary since 1999.

Day-of registration starts at 8 a.m. June 8, with tee-off set for 9 a.m.

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