What began as a day devoted to fun on the fairway for females has quickly evolved into an annual event designed to benefit local concerns and charities.
On July 18, the second annual White Bear Lake Ladies Golf Tournament hosted 26 teams, made up of 104 golfers from across Saskatchewan and Alberta for a Texas Scramble fun tournament.
Connie Milligan, Cheryl Rommann, Brenda Haake and Eileen Packet made up this year’s winning team, along with STARS Air Ambulance in Saskatchewan, who will receive an estimated contribution of about $3,000, when the final tally is completed.
“The tournament was a huge success due to wonderfully enthusiastic golfers and fabulously supportive businesses," says organizer Jacky Lothian. The generosity of the Bear Claw Casino, the White Bear Golf Course and our many sponsors this year has empowered us to contribute to the lifesaving STARS Air Ambulance.”
When Lothian and fellow founders Colleen Brown and Ev Sillers held the first event last year, their intent was to lay the foundation for an annual “great day for a good cause,” according to Lothian. The 2013 edition of the tournament was a sell-out and this positive result demonstrated to the trio that the event could be a successful and sustainable fundraiser for worthy causes directly benefiting the local community.
“We were newbies,” says Lothian. “It started out as a fun tournament and now, this year, it’s for STARS.”
“We chose STARS this year,” says Brown, “because STARS has already done great things in the area. We really need it here because we’re two hours away from a major city and a fully-equipped hospital.”
Although Brown lives in the Carlyle area, Lothian and Sillers live in Avonlea. All three agree that STARS is an important service that aids the entire province.
”We like the fact that STARS is something that affects all of our communities, says Lothian. Last year, our golfers came from as far away as Saskatoon, and everyone can see the obvious benefit of a service like STARS.”
“When you choose STARS you help province-wide,” says Sillers.
Vanessa Headford, development officer for the STARS Foundation says, “Every day STARS transports some of the sickest and most critically-injured patients in Western Canada...More than 1,100 people have been helped by STARS since we began in Saskatchewan, including over 820 people in 2013. STARS does not do this alone. Approximately half our funds come from supporters including events like the Ladies Golf Tournament at the White Bear Lake Golf Course---we could not continue to fly without this support.”
Although this year’s tournament beneficiary is STARS, the organizers want to make the tournament an event that will benefit local causes as the need arises.
“We want everyone to have an enjoyable experience, but most importantly, we want to give to our community,” says Lothian.
The three also stress that the tournament would not be possible without the support of their many sponsors.
“We started sending out sponsorship letters in April,” says Lothian. “Our area sponsors are very generous and that really helps us big time.”
“It is our sponsors who enable us to make it a such a fun day for the women, ”says Brown. “The golfers not only get a great day out—beginning with a breakfast of delicious Carlyle Bakery cinnamon buns---but everyone gets a goody bag , a prize, and a great dinner at the[Bear Claw] Casino. All of our sponsors have been so generous, and the support of the White Bear Lake Golf Course and the Bear Claw Casino has allowed us to open up the tournament to even more golfers this year.”
White Bear’s championship 18-hole golf course is renowned throughout the province as a golfing hotspot. However, Brown says that White Bear Golf “wants women to use the course more.”
“Larry Palmer (White Bear Golf) was bugging me to get something going,” she jokes. “The course can be intimidating, but we hope this tournament will encourage women to golf there more often.”
Sillers agrees. “(The tournament) isn’t at all intimidating. It’s set up to honour the top game, of course. But we really want everyone to enjoy themselves and just have fun. ”