By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Local residents affected by the 2011 April 27 tornado outbreak will receive additional relief this Saturday (Apr. 28).
Pierson Chevrolet will sponsor the First Annual Northeast Alabama Tornado Relief Benefit 3-person Golf Scramble at Silver Lakes Golf Course in Glencoe.
According to Pierson representative Greg Davenport, all proceeds from the event will continue the rebuilding efforts of the affected local communities, in particular the Silver Lakes and Webster’s Chapel areas.
Davenport said the idea for the golf benefit came about after Foggy Hollow Farm owner Glen Williams organized a two-day tornado relief benefit last fall that featured a music show and golf tournament.
Davenport stressed that since there are no administrative costs, every penny from the tournament will go directly to people affected by the storm.
“Last year, we gave the proceeds to the local volunteer fire departments since they knew where the people were who needed assistance,” he said. “This is going to be an ongoing thing for a lot of these folks for quite some time, so we want to make this an annual thing. If we can help anyone out by taking care of their power bill or buying them groceries, that’s what’s important.
“Think about getting up one morning and having to go to work and you don’t have a toothbrush or clothes or a car or even a home,” Davenport added. “You still have to find a way, because the bills won’t stop coming and life will keep going on. Some of our neighbor’s lives will be upside-down for years. It’s a heart-breaking thing, and we just want to do whatever we can.”
Since the facility sustained major da-mage as a result of last year’s storms, Silver Lakes Golf Course is an appropriate venue to hold the tournament. According to golf director Jason Callan, Silver Lakes lost approximately 40,000 trees and suffered an estimated $5 million dollars worth of damage, forcing an extensive re-design of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail course.
Silver Lakes re-opened on September 23, nearly five months after the tornado.
“Most of those [trees] were in view of the clubhouse area,” said Callan. “Every hole on the course was touched in some way. We shifted around a few sand bunkers and even added a few to some of the holes. Heartbreakers 1 and 7 sustained more damage than any holes on the course, and they received new sand dunes and lakes.”
Callan said architects improved the course with additional tweaks.
“Many cart paths were moved closer to the tee areas and greens to better accommodate our guests. Some of the holes were known for difficult access, so this is definitely an improvement.”
Cost for the tournament is $100 per person and $300 per three-person team. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Door prizes and lunch is included in the registration fee.
“We definitely wanted to tie [the benefit] in with [Silver Lakes],” said Davenport. “I’ve been out there recently, and they’ve done such a good job of bringing that course back into play. Without all the trees, you really get a panoramic view and see for miles. It’s still a beautiful course, but in a different way.”
Davenport pointed out that the three-man format should help to speed up the tournament.
“Most [golf benefit tournaments] are four-man scramble, and a lot of people are getting tired of them because it’s more of a chore to finish up. Having three teams on a given hole helps folks to keep score and it doesn’t take quite as long.”
Davenport said that nine holes would be played on the short course and the remaining nine on the large course. He said that Pierson will pay for the first, second, fifth and 10th place finishes.
“Everybody’s got a shot, no matter how you play or finish,” said Davenport.
Including walk-ups on the day of the event, Davenport hopes to have 36 teams participate in the tournament.
“ Perception is the biggest change,” Callan added. “It’s still the same course, just without the borders.”
To register or for more information, contact Greg Davenport at 256-546-3391.
Joshua Price contributed to this story