Cold Friday morning temperatures didn’t stop a crowd from arriving early at the Turtle Hill golf course for the first annual Home-In-One Classic tournament to raise funds for the Gainesville area habitat for humanity. Despite temperatures in the 40s, a large crowd gathered at 7am to show support and raise money for an important cause.
“We’ve struggled to raise funds for the past few years, and a lot of people love golf, especially on a nice spring day.” said Gainesville-area Habitat for Humanity board member Michael Lenling. “Unfortunately it’s not today, but we still have a lot of people here.”
Plans for the tournament began about two months ago when the board was looking for something to quickly raise funds after the struggles of the past two years.
“[A golf tournament] was the quickest way we could think of to get something together and get people out of work for a day,” said Hunter Ellender, another Gainesville Habitat for Humanity board member. “Just trying to get money to help people.”
The tournament included the typical 18-hole round of golf, as well as optional mini-games and raffles that participants could enter for an additional fee.
“We have quite a few different raffles to win prizes and different mini-games, like longest ride and closest to the hairpin,” Lenling explained. “First prize gets a trophy…and we’re also giving a trophy to the company that has supported the tournament the most, just to keep the interest going.”
Board member James Unrue was also recognized for his work renovating and refurbishing a home in Gainesville.
“To make things affordable, we have to do things as volunteers,” Unrue said. “Anyone who wants to volunteer, we gladly accept anyone with a bit of skill, whether it’s cleaning, painting or something like that.”
“Even with our events that we organize,” added Lenling. “We still need volunteers to help support.”
It was pointed out that all the money raised goes to help build and renovate houses for people to live in.
“We don’t have salaried employees,” Lenling said. “We [the board] all have full-time jobs except James [who is retired]. So yeah, it’s hard for us to go out and do what we need to do.
For families in need of a home, Habitat for Humanity works with them to allow them to have a sense of belonging by purchasing the home from the organization, but only for what it takes to build it. with an interest-free loan.
“I think it’s important to share the testimonial of the person who got the last house we worked on,” Lenling said. “She’s gone from a two-bedroom apartment with her mom and six kids to a four-bedroom house, and she’s paying for it to be hers.”
At the final count, $6,000 was raised on Friday. 14 teams of four took part in the tournament, making a total of 56 players. Each player had an entry fee of $80, making each team an entry fee of $320. For entry fees alone, the golf tournament raised $4,480 for Habitat for Humanity.
The event was sponsored by Krootz Brewery along with Geri Hesse Farmer’s Insurance, along with many others in our community. From there, money was also raised through raffles, mini-games and more for the organization.
Habitat for Humanity is a global organization that works in local communities to help build and renovate homes for those in need. Visit Habitat’s Facebook page for more information.