WALLA WALLA - About 100 golfers enjoyed a fine early spring afternoon and a round on the links benefitting Wa-Hi's golf teams Saturday.
The Wa-Hi Golf Fundraising Scramble, held at Walla Walla Country Club, benefits the school teams in equipment and money to travel to invitationals and other events.
Golf mom Terri Hanson organized much of the event. Her son, Jake, is a junior on the Wa-Hi team.
"When my son started playing golf, I saw there was a need for equipment - rain gear, bags, that kind of thing. We thought a golf tournament would be a good way to do it," she said.
Community members also had the chance to play with current and former Wa-Hi golfers. Each team of four adults was paired with one student.
"It's good for the kids to play with adults," said Wa-Hi boys coach Jim Smith. "They're playing with someone besides their best friend and that forces them to leave their comfort zone a little bit. They can learn from adults they're paired with. That's a great learning experience."
Budget cuts in the last few years have made participation at invites difficult, he said. The teams need extra funds to travel to those invites, and this will help them get there, Smith said.
"This means we can go to all our invites," said boys No. 1 player Drew Reinland, before heading to his tee time. "Before we knew about this we were only going to be able to go to some of the bigger ones and tournaments."
As for the chance to raise money golfing? "This is a good time," Reinland said.
Hanson started advertising the scramble in February. By mid-March, it was completely sold out, she said. All but one of the 100 people signed up arrived, and that one space was quickly filled, she said.
"The golfing community has been very supportive," Hanson said. "They've embraced this event. We couldn't have asked for better turnout."
Turnout exceeded organizers' expectations.
"For a first-year event, the support has just been phenomenal," said Gary Hanson, Terri's husband and a golfer for the afternoon. "We never thought we'd reach this many people. You do something like this and you think you'll just have a few people interested, but people started coming. People care."
About 30 Wa-Hi golfers were on hand, including current students and recent alumnus.
"I think this is really good, and it's for a good cause," said 2008 alumni Jeff Neher, now a student at Walla Walla Community College. "We've all gone through the program and I'm very happy to come back and help out."
The community turnout made girl's coach Mike Patterson happy.
"It's neat to see people out," Patterson said. "It shows what a wonderful community Walla Walla is. With the budget crunch, it's nice that parents and the community can put on a fundraiser like this so kids can continue to play."
This was the first golf fundraiser for Wa-Hi, Hanson said. Fundraising results were not available at press time.
Golfers received prizes throughout the day - including an embroidered Blue Devils golf bag and other gear.
Official event sponsors were Bill Fleenor with D.A. Davidson, Gary Hanson from Abajian Motors, Phil Oberg from Paul Richardson Agency and Hank Worden from Edward Jones. Many other local businesses also made donations, including prizes, Hanson said.
"Wa-Hi golf has a great tradition and this continues it," said Patterson.
1. Brad Baumgart, Jack Ehren, Dan Leighty, Ryan Baumgart with Wa-Hi's Gunner Leighty, 60.
2. Ed Barragar, Bruce Murr, Jim Ritchie, Mike Spanish with Wa-Hi's Travis Morrison, 61.
3. Ryan McCarthy, Matt Huse, Juston Watson, Jacob Barnhart with Wa-Hi's Max Reinland, 62.
4. Tom Watson Jr, Don Hamlin, Jim Abajian, Brad Blackburn with Wa-Hi's Dave Bateman, 62.
Straight drive No. 18 - Brad Baumgart
KP No. 4 - M. Reinland, 4-feet-0 (team of TRyan McCarthy, Matt Huse, Juston Watson, Jacob Barnhart)
KP No. 13 - Aaron Mountain 8-3 (team of Shirley Fowler, Don Hanson, Sue Hanson)
KP No. 17 - Tom Utt 7-7 (Team of Rob Tibarino, Tom Tate, Jeff Horn)