Sports Column: Golf events help lots of groups

Published 8:05 am Monday, March 28, 2022

There are plenty of sports seasons that everyone is familiar with. Football season is an autumn festival. Basketball season carries us through the winter, and baseball and softball season ushers in the spring.

Here in Vicksburg, there are also a few that people might not think as much about.

Running season includes a half-dozen events from October to March. Hunting season fades from deer to turkey to fish. And then there’s golf tournament season.

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As the weather warms up in the spring, a number of organizations host golf tournaments and outings as major fundraisers. The schedule is such that you can probably find one every week on the area’s courses, if you look hard enough.

Warren Central’s golf team had one at Vicksburg Country Club on Saturday, and Hinds Community College will host another for its athletic alumni on April 9 at Eagle Ridge in Raymond.

In between is one of the bigger ones on the calendar, the Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg’s Birdie and Bogey Golf Tournament set for April 1 at Clear Creek.

This is the 13th year the JAV has held its tournament. Like the others, it puts the “fun” in “fundraiser” by offering an entertaining day on the links in exchange for its entry fee. Also like the others, it helps to fund a number of great causes.
The Birdie and Bogey Tournament helps fund six major programs for the Junior Auxiliary — Camp Silvercloud, JAV Cares, Helping Hands, Safety Town, Children’s Shelter and Heart & Sole.

The various projects focus mostly on helping children and cover a wide range of objectives. Camp Silvercloud is an annual summer camp for the mentally and physically challenged. Heart & Sole is a mentorship program for girls. Safety Town teaches children the basics of safety.

None of them would be possible without the money raised from the golf tournament.

“This tournament is one of two major fundraisers we do during the year,” said Mary Margaret Edney, the JAV’s public relations chairperson. “It’s something we rely on pretty heavily. The money goes to all the service projects, and we give scholarships to local high school seniors. This is how we make all of that happen.”

It’s not just participation that makes these tournaments and charitable efforts possible. Sponsors and local businesses help as well, Edney said. Their donations, whether monetary or goods and services, allow more of the entry fees to go toward various causes. Every hamburger cooked by a volunteer or bottle of water donated by a grocery story is another couple of dollars diverted toward the children and charities.

“We couldn’t do it without our sponsors. A lot of our local businesses help us with food, bottled water, T-shirts, things like that,” Edney said. “People in the community really step up for us. We live in a very giving community.”

The registration fee for the Birdie and Bogey Golf Tournament is $400 for a four-person team. Teams can register online ahead of time and then pay the day of the tournament, or via PayPal.

In addition to the tournament, the JAV will have a 50/50 raffle golf ball drop. Dozens of golf balls will be released from a lift onto Clear Creek’s putting green, and the winner will take home half the total. The cost to participate is $10 per ball, or three balls for $25.

All of the money goes toward the JAV’s programs, so it’s for a good cause. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to take off work and hit the golf course on a beautiful spring afternnon without looking like you’re just escaping for the day.

“It’s one of those events where people are looking to get outside, the weather is nice, and so it’s something people are excited about,” Edney said.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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