The “Fore Our Golf Team Tournament 2013” will be held Saturday August 17, 2013 at the Vernonia Golf Club. The tournament is being organized by new Logger head golf coach, Laura Blacker; all proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Vernonia High School golf team.
“The golf team is a club sport which means they don’t get any funding from the school district,” explains Blacker. “So, we are trying to raise money for some basic equipment the team needs as well as help offset some of the costs for the kids.”
The 18 hole tournament will be a four person scramble with an 8:30 AM start and includes prizes and contests; balls, tees and one raffle ticket; lunch at the club; and, as the flyer for the events states, a “Warm fuzzy feeling for supporting our golf team.” Prizes will be awarded for: the longest drive, closest to the pin and a putting contest.
Cost is $50 or $200 per team. For registration call Coach Blacker or Nick Zavales at the Vernonia Golf Club at 503-429-6811.
Sponsorship opportunities are also still available for the tournament and is another way for businesses to support the VHS golf program. Blacker says she would also accept help with running the tournament, fundraising, or help with the team next spring if anyone is interested.
Blacker says she would like to purchase hitting mats for her players to practice hitting from. “We’re out here in February and March and the course is really, really wet,” says Blacker. She would also like to purchase some shag bags for collecting balls as well as some practice balls. “Once we get that equipment in place it should last a decade. We just need an investment at the beginning. After that we won’t need as much money year after year.”
Blacker says golf is a very expensive sport for students to participate in. Families have to purchase clubs, shoes, uniform shirts, bags, tees, and balls. Then they still have to pay fees for their team to compete in their district, fees at their local club, plus greens fees at every tournament they play in, plus the expenses to get there. “If we could raise some money to help offset some of those costs I think I might be able to get some more kids to come out and play golf, which is the real goal.” says Blacker. “I’d like to build up the program here. We have such a beautiful golf course for the size of our community. I was really surprised and pleased when I moved here to find there was such a nice golf course here.”
Blacker did ask for and receive some assistance from the Vernonia Booster Club last season for the purchase of team shirts, which was a top priority according to her players. “When they go to tournaments they were the only team there that didn’t have uniforms,” says Blacker. “I think it made them feel more like a team, like a real sport.”
Blacker is taking over the head coaching duties at VHS for the recently departed James Brookins after assisting Brookins with the team last season. Blacker grew up in Burns, OR and played high school golf and attended Bowdoin College, a small school in Maine, where she also played golf. She is just starting graduate school this summer to become an elementary school teacher and will be student teaching in the Vernonia School District this fall. She has also been working part time at the Vernonia Golf Club this summer.
Blacker says she sees a lot of positive reasons for kids to learn to play golf. “Golf gets kids out and moving,” says Blacker. “Even kids who aren’t traditionally athletic can succeed at golf, so it’s an egalitarian sport-anybody can do it. And you can do it for the rest of your life. You are not going to be playing football when you are seventy, but you can still play golf when you’re seventy.”
For Blacker, golf is about much more than just playing the game. “It also teaches kids some important life lessons-integrity, honesty, respect. It teaches them social skills-it’s a good way to make friends and even learn business skills. A lot of business gets done on the golf course. There are also a lot of rules and etiquette that go along with golf that teach kids how to be better human beings. So I would like to get more kids out here playing golf.”