By Valerie Baldowski
Teams of golfers swarmed over Crystal Lake Golf and Country Club in Hampton, using their putters, drivers and wedges in support of the Henry Medical Center Foundation.
The foundation held its 11th annual golf tournament, presented by Piedmont Health Care, on Friday. The event raised funds for various programs and services, such as a Nurse Scholarship Program, and for purchasing medical equipment, said Henry Medical Center Foundation Executive Director Adam Stanfield.
The day-long event kicked off with a 10:30 a.m., helicopter "ball drop."
"Basically, what we do, is, individuals were purchasing one ball, one chance, for $10, three for $20," said Stanfield. "All the balls that were sold, we put them in a bag, and we had a helicopter land over here on the driving range this morning.
"They took the balls up in the helicopter, they flew west, and then they came from the west up over the tree line, while Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' played in the background, kind of like the whole 'Apocalypse Now' thing," he continued. "We actually had one ball go in the hole, which is the first time that I've seen that happen in, like, six attempts."
Money was also generated through sales of sponsorships, said Stanfield. Each hole on the golf course was sponsored by a particular business, and this year's tournament had 19 hole sponsors, he added.
"With the sales of helicopter 'ball drop' tickets, raffle items, and 'Mulligan Packages,' we will probably hit $50,000 this year," Stanfield said.
Mulligan Packages are "second shots" for golfers, he said. "So, if they hit one into the woods, they can use a Mulligan, and have another shot," Stanfield explained.
He said most of the golfers were vendors of Henry Medical Center. The tournament is increasing in popularity, he said. "We've done it for the past three years here at Crystal Lake, and it's becoming a bigger and bigger event each year."
Kevin Robinson, a director for Henry Medical Center's Information Technology Department, was playing on the course with a team from Consolidated Office Solutions and Accu-Grafix, out of Conyers.
"I'm out here as part of the Henry Medical Foundation, and part of this is to come out and to raise funds for charities and good causes," said Robinson. "Also part of this, why I'm wearing pink, is, this is, at the same time, we're supporting the Susan G. Komen program. That's all rolled in."
He said the tournament served a dual purpose. "We're out here with our vendors that support us, and support the community," added Robinson. "It's a fun day, but it's also a time for us to raise funds and awareness for causes that affect people in the community, people in the nation, in a local program that we have."
Frankie Parker, with Roswell-based Boiler Supply Co., said he and his team were playing "awesome," and shooting par. Parker said he gets a chance to play golf "a couple times a year," so the tournament provided him with an opportunity to practice his game.
"It's for Henry Medical Center, so I came out to support it," he added.