The Rotary Club Golf Challenge

by Blake Hendrix

Wow! Who would’ve ever thought nine years ago, the Rotary 2-Person Golf Challenge would not only continue to thrive today, but that 2010 would enjoy one of the most successful years of the tournament’s existence. Originally the idea was the brain-child of Charles Green, who grew tired of “dressing up” for the Miss Demeanor pageant (Rotary’s fundraiser in ’01 and ’02) only to get beat by the likes of Justin Lawson and myself. (he just didn’t have the legs for it).

His idea was to provide an alternative to the typical 4-man scramble and test the mettle of two golfers. (thus the term “Challenge”). We always tell the players “if you don’t like it, it was Charles’s idea and if you do, then it was mine!”.

The Rotary tourney also allows those that are not members of Searcy Country Club to enjoy playing on some of the best bent-grass greens in the state. Thanks to Tarkington Motors and Crain Motors we’ve offered a new automobile for a hole in one on #7 each of the nine years. Jack Simon and Herb Bacon have “manned” the hole as official witnesses for each of the nine years and only Dewey Shanks has been close enough to get ‘em out of their chair. The event is broken down into 3- six hole segments. The first 6 holes are played in the traditional scramble format with both players hitting from their best team lie. Holes 7 thru 12 can be the most challenging as both players hit from the tee box, then after the best drive is chosen, the other player must hit the next shot and the players alternate shots until the ball is in the cup. This is where many a scorecard “blows up” and since there are only two golfers on a team, it is strongly encouraged to pick either a good golfer, or a really good friend! The final six holes are played in a “best ball” format, where each player plays their own ball to the cup and records the better score.

 

Don’t throw away that scorecard! Scores that pay will vary between high 60s and low 80s. The Rotary 2-Person Challenge, unlike any other fund raiser, rewards its participants with over $2,300 guaranteed in cash and prizes to the top 4 pairings in each flight. One year, a player who was too embarrassed to turn in his scorecard, threw it in the trash can as he hurried to the parking lot! It was worth $100 each for he and his partner as their 6-over par finished 2nd in the third flight!

 

Rotary thanks Bruce, Eric, Candy and Miguel and all of the folks at Searcy Country Club, who make this a first-class event each year. Most of all we’d like to thank all of the many sponsors, especially those who have been giving to this tournament each of the nine years. We’ve also enjoyed some divine intervention as it NEVER rains out the Searcy Rotary Challenge.

 

Searcy is one of the most benevolent small cities in America. A local banker recently said, “the days of civic clubs are dead”, but I believe that while we’re more busy than ever, and there are many worthwhile groups that contribute, our civic clubs remain a strong asset in addressing our various needs in White County. The commitment of Searcy Rotary to “put Service above Self” remains as strong today as it was when I joined back in 2001. During those years, Searcy Rotary, with the help of our many gracious sponsors, has raised over $65,000 for such worthwhile causes including:  SUNSHINE SCHOOL, WHITE COUNTY SINGLE PARENT SCHOLARSHIP FUND, AMERICAN LEGION BOYS AND GIRLS STATE, CASA, UNITED WAY READING AND LEANING DIGNOSTIC CENTER, AHLF JR. HIGH, WHITE COUNT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVETNION, WHITE COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, CITY OF SEARCY, CAMP WYLDEWOOD, CENTER ON THE SQUARE, LITERACY COUNCIL, COATS FOR KIDS, WHITE COUNTY CHILDREN SAFETY CENTER, ARKANSAS SHERIFF’S RANCH. Rotary also provides 4 SCHOLARSHIPS A YEAR to students from Searcy High, White Co. Central, Riverview, and Harding Academy.

 

The members of Searcy Rotary meet at the Searcy Country Club at noon each Tuesday. We’d love for you to come join us and be a part of an exciting opportunity to serve White County.