Golf tourney raises green for wellness

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Scott McLean, the service manager of Aurora Ford Yellowknife, chips towards the green at the Aurora Group of Companies 1st Annual Charity Golf Invitational.

A new charitable sporting event has made its first appearance at the Hay River Golf Course.

That is the Aurora Group of Companies 1st Annual Charity Golf Invitational, which was held on July 29.

The event raised money for the Health & Wellness Foundation of Hay River.

“Basically, it’s an opportunity for us to give back and for us to spend some time with some of our customers and some of our suppliers, and at the same time do something for the community,” said Donna Lee Jungkind, the general manager of Aurora Ford Hay River.

The tournament was open to anyone, but the Aurora Group of Companies especially wanted to make sure that its customers and suppliers had an opportunity to play.

Forty-four players, including four from Yellowknife, turned up for the first edition of the event.

Jungkind said the tournament was tremendous.

“It went awesome. It was really good,” she said. “Everybody had a great time. We had a great group of golfers out there.”

Jungkind added the tournament will definitely be returning next year.

The total amount of money raised will probably not be known until late this week.

Aside from registration fees, the tournament also raised money from such things as auctions, a 50-50 draw and tickets for a Hit the Target contest to win an ATV.

Heather Coakwell, chair of the Health & Wellness Foundation of Hay River (often referred to as the Hospital Foundation of Hay River), is “absolutely” pleased with the support from the new event.

“This is a big one for us,” she said.

Coakwell explained the foundation used to receive support from a golf tournament sponsored by De Beers Canada, but that tournament was held for the last time in 2015 after running for seven or eight years.

So she approached the Aurora Group of Companies about creating a new tournament and received an enthusiastic response.

“I was trying to basically find somebody else who could help us go back to fundraising,” she said.

Coakwell said the new tournament is more than a replacement for the De Beers event.

“This is something new that we’re trying to do and just carry on forward with just us and Aurora trying to get together,” she said. “We know the people already so it worked out very well that they were willing to work with us.”

One difference between the two tournaments is that there were many Yellowknife players for the De Beers event with employees of that company and representatives of their suppliers often based in Yellowknife.

Coakwell noted that, with the new tournament, there are more Hay River suppliers and customers of the Aurora Group of Companies.

“It’s more of a Hay River grown event,” she said.

The tournament featured four-person teams in a Texas Scramble format.

“It means everybody starts at the same time,” explained Jungkind. “So you don’t have tee-off times throughout the day. You all start at the same time, you just start on different holes.”

The tournament also featured a best-ball format in which all team members shot from the same location.

The three teams tied with the lowest scores in the best-ball competition were Tire North, Wesclean/Territorial Beverages, and the Health & Wellness Foundation of Hay River.

The longest drive award was won by Christopher Lirette among men, and Heather Coakwell among women.

The closest-to-the-pin award was won by Kayla Hoff.

On the seventh hole of the tournament, a 2017 Ford F-150 truck could have been won if anyone had recorded a hole-in-one. No one did manage that feat.

There was also a separate Hit the Target competition which golfers could buy tickets to enter for the chance to win a 2017 Honda ATV.

No one hit the target. Instead, a draw for $500 was held and the winner was Jason Coakwell.

–-Paul Bickford