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Clayton Chamber hosts annual golf invitational

The sun smiled on the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, during its third annual Heritage Cadillac Golf Invitational.

Though much metro Atlanta remained waterlogged, supporters of the Chamber participated in a day of golf at the River Forest Golf and Country Club in Forsyth, Ga. The Heritage Cadillac Golf Invitational has, in recent years, become the Chamber of Commerce's single largest fund-raiser, according to Chamber officials.

Lon Langston, president of Georgia National Produce, and chairman of the 2009 golf tournament, said 80 golfers from 21 teams participated in the event.

"The proceeds [from the tournament] are actually a part of the Chamber budget, so it actually goes to the operations of the Chamber," Langston said. "Given the way the economy is, we were very satisfied. We actually had 110 golfers register and 80 golfers played. We attribute the flooding issues to that."

Langston said the River Forest Golf and Country Club in Forsyth represents the furthest location from Clayton County the Chamber has ever hosted the tournament. He said the Chamber of Commerce chose the location based on the uniqueness of the course.

"We wanted something that would really set the event apart," Langston said. "[The course has] amazing elevation changes to be in south Georgia, and not in north Georgia. We weighed the long drive down here versus how wonderful the facility is, and we decided it was worth the drive."

During the event, golfers participated in silent auctions for rare golf memorabilia and competed for shoe bags, sunshades, golf clubs, and other prizes. Heritage Cadillac Saab of Morrow also offered a brand new Cadillac CTS to anyone able to score a hole in one.

No one in the tournament was lucky enough to win the car, Langston said.

Chamber President and CEO Yulonda Beauford said golfers this year appreciated being able to golf outside of the Southern Crescent.

"This tournament has grown beyond the Clayton County area due to our involvement with Heritage Cadillac," Beauford said. "We have some coming from as far as Macon and Athens to participate in our tournament. We always look each year for a site that will excite our golfers."

Beauford said that despite the rainy conditions, the Chamber of Commerce registered just one less team of golfers than registered in last year's tournament.

"We mirrored this year very closely to last year's numbers, so we are very pleased," she said.

Sabrina Crawford, co-owner of Heritage Cadillac Saab of Morrow, said the tournament gives exposure to the dealership and provides the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce with the added capital it needs to operate.

"It's a great networking opportunity for businesses," Crawford said of the tournament. "The main goal for this Chamber is to help businesses prosper. We want to be a part of that."