Kiwanis gears up for golf tourney

Jill Pranger tees off at hole three during last year’s Kiwanis Club of Tellico Village Charity Golf Outing at Toqua Golf Course.

With Kiwanis Club of Tellico Village’s annual golf tournament fundraiser about two weeks away, this year’s effort will likely be more important than ever.

Initially scheduled for July 18, the tourney was pushed back to September. Phil Smith, golf tournament coordinator, said the maximum number of 120 people has signed up.

“I was a little bit surprised but then again this summer in Tellico Village golf has been the thing to do,” Smith said. “The golf activity and the golf courses have done very, very well. Also, I was a little worried because our tournament is on Labor Day weekend, and normal times people would be traveling and families would be visiting and people would be tied up, but it seems like this day and age that we’re in, there weren’t as many conflicts. So we were able to get plenty of golfers early on.”

The tournament will have a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Sept. 5 at Toqua Golf Course. A continental breakfast and lunch from Chick-fil-A will be provided.

Rick Hamm, club president, said golfers will be given different “winning opportunities” for prizes, including holes-in-one on par 3s and drawings for gifts afterward.

Smith said a new car from Lenoir City Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is on the line if someone hits a hole-in-one on hole three. Participants will also get the chance to try their luck virtually through the golf course’s simulator to hit a closest-to-the-pin shot at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“There will be prizes for longest drive on hole 18 and there will be probably closest to the pin prizes on par 3s,” Smith said. “Of course, the teams will be set up in three flights, so the winner of flights one, two and three will get a nice prize.”

Golfers can also let a pro hit their first shot.

“One of the special things we do out on the course is let one of the golf pros hit a shot for the teams if they’re willing to donate some money,” Smith said. “This year it will be donated to the Good Samaritan (Center of Loudon County) in Lenoir City.”

Safety will be a focus during the event, Hamm said.

“As you would in any large gathering, we are working with the Toqua staff to ensure that registration, lunch and refreshments on the course are handled safely,” he said in an email correspondence.

This year’s golf tournament will likely be the only major fundraiser for Kiwanis, Hamm said.

“We have been looking at other types of fundraising projects,” he said. “In the meantime, one of our members spearheaded a drive-by event at Tugaloo Beach in the Village and raised money and food for both the Good Samaritan Center and the Loudon County Animal Shelter. This proved successful.”

Traditionally, Kiwanis holds three major fundraisers — the golf tournament and a pancake breakfast in the spring and fall. Hamm said the fundraisers net at least $40,000, which is returned to organizations and projects the club supports. Hopes are to raise half of that this year.

“This is obviously very crucial to the coming 12 months,” Smith said. “Normally we have two pancake breakfasts that are also pretty significant fundraisers, but the spring breakfast this year was canceled, of course, and it looks very doubtful that we’ll have the fall pancake breakfast.”

The Kiwanis year runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30.

“As we finish this golf outing and see how it did, we’ll have a meeting probably by about the middle of September and decide to allocate what we have and then decide how much more do we have to get out there and try to raise through special, small things,” Smith said.

He anticipates the club’s philanthropic efforts will be impacted.

“All of our fundraising is directed at children’s programs in the area, and so with the schools being in kind of a different and difficult situation this year as well, we’re still very unclear how many of our school system-related programs we can do,” Smith said. “Certainly things like shelters and handicap children tricycles that we give out, those kind of things will continue.”

For more information, visit https://k15626.site.kiwanis.org/ or call Smith at 865-438-5038.

Hamm hopes the pancake breakfasts will resume in the future.

“If we are able to go back to having our three major fundraisers, I believe we will be good shape to support our outreach,” he said. We are reviewing what we are able to grant to organizations.”