Summertime Activity In The Dead Of Winter

BUSTI – For many area golfers that participated in the 12th annual Dale Jacobs Memorial Open Golf Tournament, “winter rules” were definitely applicable.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, seasoned players and beginners alike had an opportunity to escape “cabin fever” by participating in the tournament – which was held by the Rotary Club of Lakewood-Chautauqua South.

The tournament took place on Lawson Road in Busti, and offered a round of nine holes to those who were willing to brave the frigid temperatures and gusting winds. According to Pete Elofson, treasurer of the Rotary and chairperson of the golf tournament, the number of registrants throughout the years has remained fairly consistent.

“We generally get between 75 and 100 golfers, depending on the weather,” he said. “Last year, there was no snow, but we’ve had waist-high snow (in previous years) and people couldn’t finish the course. It wasn’t that bad this year, there’s only about 4 inches on the course.”

As a means of assuring a decent golf score, the tournament is played as a scramble – meaning that each member in a group of three or four tees off, and then picks up play from the spot of the closest ball to the hole. According to Elofson, a “hole” is actually a piece of PVC pipe with a red stake and a flag number attached, which sits in the center of a “green” made from 9-foot-by-12-foot indoor-outdoor carpet. Hitting the pipe equals finishing the hole.

The ninth, and final, hole contained a regulation golf cup, and an attendant of the tournament was present to confirm if a hole-in-one was made. Most importantly, fluorescent-colored golf balls were used to help players locate them in the snow.

Participants in this year’s tournament included both rookies and veterans of the course. According to Steve Stoeltzing, a resident of Busti, the tournament is something to look forward to during the winter.

“It’s a good chance to get outside,” said Stoeltzing. “We golf all summer long, so I guess it’s a good thing to get out and try to swing it. And it’s good for charity.”

“Steve (Stoeltzing) and I have played probably four or five times, and we usually play pretty well,” said Greg Certo, a golfer from Jamestown.

“I’m in the local Rotary club that puts this on,” said Jake Kane, a golfer from Lakewood who was with his son, Spencer. “This is about my 10th year, but my first year actually playing the whole circuit. And (Spencer and I) get to spend some time together.”

The event was headquartered at the Busti Fire Hall, where it has been held since its inception. The Rotary provided a variety of games, including a Chinese auction and a 50/50 giveaway.

An abundance of food was also made available through donations from local businesses, such as: Johnny’s Lunch; Tim Hortons; Lakewood Bakery; Lakewood Mobil Mart; and Jamestown Ice & Storage. Other sponsors included: Wegmans; Danielson Oil; The Post-Journal; and 3C’s Catering, which provided the chili.

“We’re a small club, we only have around 13 members right now,” said Elofson. “We’re always looking for new members, because the more people we have, the easier this all becomes. Not just to put the fundraisers on, but to have the connections in the community to get things done and get donations where they need to be. A lot of input goes into this, but it’s a decent fundraiser for our club.”