Annual Catholic Charities golf tourney to tee off Oct. 8

With a new location and weekend date, the Catholic Charities of Arkansas Golf Tournament is looking forward to more involvement and donations when the 27th annual event tees off Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Granada Golf Course in Hot Springs Village. 

The event offers 40 teams a round of golf to support Catholic Charities of Arkansas, its largest annual fundraiser.

“Since we’re doing it at a new club this year, we had the option to play on Saturday,” said Megan Moore, Catholic Charities of Arkansas’ office administrator and tournament organizer. “We hope that it will provide an opportunity for more people to participate.”

“We have definitely had an increasing number of people calling for assistance,” Moore said. “Other agencies no longer have funding or go through their funding so quickly that we are seeing an increased number of people needing assistance.”

Moore said CCA is anticipating 40 teams of four, with 20 teams each playing in the morning and afternoon flights.

“We had 40 teams sign up last year, and proceeds raised $53,000 for Catholic Charities,” she said. “Coming off of the pandemic and not having it the year before (in 2020), that was a very successful year.”

The fundraiser benefits all Catholic Charities ministries, including Catholic Immigration Services, refugee resettlement, Westside Free Medical Clinic, rent and utility assistance, prison ministry and parish outreach. With COVID lingering and inflation shrinking the buying power of the dollar, donations to the organization are as important as ever.

“We have definitely had an increasing number of people calling for assistance,” Moore said. “Other agencies no longer have funding or go through their funding so quickly that we are seeing an increased number of people needing assistance. This past winter was colder for a longer period of time, so we saw increased utility assistance requests. There’s also very little utility assistance available right now, so we are seeing requests for that still. When people have increased costs for their basic necesities, that really impacts their need for assistance.”

The event will offer a four-person scramble, shotgun start with tee times at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The cost per team is $600 — or $150 a person  —  and includes green fees, carts, food, refreshments and beverages. Awards will be given following morning and afternoon sessions. Team prizes will be flighted, and there will be prizes for closest to pin, hole in one with a $5,000 prize, longest and straightest drive. 

Moore said sponsorship opportunities — such as sponsoring a priest or religious for $175 to serving as a tournament underwriter for $10,000 or more — are still available.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Hot Springs Village donated $10,000 to underwrite this year’s event. Pastor Father Bill Elser and church parishioners will serve as volunteer coordinators to prepare the course and clubhouse for the event.

Father Elser has played in every CCA tournament since it began but has taken a more active role in the event over the past two years.

“Since they changed the venue and came to Hot Springs Village last year, I’ve been involved in the nuts and bolts of putting the tournament together,” Father Elser said. “I’ve taken kind of a special interest in doing what I can to promote the golf tournament to help raise more money for Catholic Charities of Arkansas. I don’t think it’s near its potential for raising funds, so we wanted to help the diocesan staff and volunteers run the day of golf and serve in the background and preparation for that. Our involvement has increased greatly. Besides the financial gift as an underwriter, we’re providing the manpower to help make the golf tournament go, and like I say, I’m happy to take the role of soliciting for golfers as well as financial sponsors for the tournament.”

More than 50 organizations and individuals sponsored the 2021 tournament, including CHI St. Vincent. Moore said CCA is on target to have an equal or greater involvement this year.

Teams and sponsors can register at dolr.org/catholic-charities-golf-tournament or by contacting Moore at (501) 664-0340, ext. 379.

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