The Jingle Bell Golf Tournament was just plain fun for the golfers with winners galore, but the best winners will be the needy children in Gulf County who will have Santa as a result of the tournament. Smiley’s Detail, Sunset Coastal Grill, The Thirsty Goat, and the St Joseph Bay Golf Club donated gift certificates for the hole prizes. After pay out of the prizes, $480 was raised for the Sheriff’s Office’s Christmas Drive, in addition to all the toys. Coastal Community Association and South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department also collected toys and added them to the tree.
There were four vehicles to be won for a Hole-in-One on any of the par 3’s. Now, the distance required from tee to pen was between 50-60 yards and the players didn’t know until they got to the tee what the “vehicle” was. The vehicles were children’s bikes. Any bikes not won were donated to the Sheriff’s Toy Drive.
B.J. Richards was the only player to make a hole-in-one.
The game was individual play with handicap.
First place winner was Larry Wilson with a 58. Second place was Fred Fitzgerald with a 59 and third place was Geri McCarthy with a 61. Longest drive for men was Eric Schoelles and for women Penelope Evanoff.
The demented elves who had arranged the tournament were Santa’s elves who had all the toys made for Santa for this year and were bored out of their gourds, so they came up with a prize for every hole and the “winners” were somewhat dubious if winning was an honor or not.
Prize winners were: Diana Buza for closest to the jingle bells at the back of the green near Penelope’s sand trap on No. 3; Faye Chadbourne took closest to the jingle bells by the water on No. 5; Diana Buza took closest to the jingle bells on the hill to left of the green No. 6; Jim Mowrey won closest to the jingle bells by the water (in the water) on No. 8; Fran Cronwell won closest to the jingle bells in the middle of the fairway on No. 9; Don Hays was closest to the jingle bells on the peninsula near the green on No. 10; Geri McCarthy took closest to the jingle bells on the left corner by the water on No. 11; Dan Van Treese was closest to the jingle bells by the water on No. 13; Dano McCarthy took closest to the jingle bells in the sand on No. 14; Dick Davis won closest to the jingle bells behind green No. 17; and Phil Dodson took closest to the jingle bells in the woods on No. 18.
Everyone who participated had a great time.
Penelope and Hershel decorated their cart with lights and tinsel to get into the Christmas spirit. Some golfers wore Santa and Elf hats to round out the fun. The Snowbirds were in shorts and short sleeve shirts and couldn’t believe they were “sweating” in a Christmas tournament. The Jingle Bell Tournament was partially funded by the Gulf County Tourist Development Council. Other sponsors were Gulf 2 Bay Construction, Penelope’s Pet Stop, and the St. Joseph Bay Golf Club. The St. Joseph Bay Golf Club staff went overboard to make sure everything went off without a hitch. Thanks to all who sponsored, donated or golfed for helping Santa in Gulf County this year. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Holiday!