A record number of golfers took on chilly conditions and a rain-soaked course last Saturday to raise a record amount of money at the fourth annual Kingfisher Golf Association Benefit Tournament.
Thirty-four teams took part in the event that raised money for Wheatbelt Ambucs of Kingfisher County’s Playground of Dreams.
“The most we ever had play in this event was 17 teams, so we were able to double that,” said Gary Wilson, Kingfisher Golf Course pro.
“I think that says a lot about the cause and a lot about the person we were playing for.”
The cause is the all-inclusive playground that would replace the current equipment at Kingfisher Park, benefitting children of all abilities.
The person on most people’s minds during the tournament was the late Glenda Wolf.
The longtime Kingfisher Public Schools special education director and Ambucs member was a strong advocate for the playground before cancer took her life in March.
“She’s the reason a lot of people showed up,” said Wilson, also a longtime friend of Glenda and her husband, Derrick, who was one of several family members to play in the four-person scramble.
“And that’s why it’s the most successful benefit we’ve had so far.”
The previous three benefits combined raised just over $19,000.
On the day of this year’s event, the golf association presented a check for $15,239.
Of that, $13,239 was raised by the tournament and the KGA kicked in another $2,000.
Since that day, Wilson said $490 more has been been donated and at least one more check is on its way.
That raises the amount to at least $15,729.
With the City of Kingfisher vowing to match all donated money, that raises the total to $31,458.
“We were overwhelmed by the support shown not just by the golf association, but the dozens and dozens and dozens of golfers who took part,” said Erin Scammahorn, also a member of Ambucs.
Scammahorn was at the tournament dispensing free water and snacks to golfers on the No. 1 tee box along with Hunter Wittrock, one of the students who benefits from Ambucs’ services.
Other students who also greeted golfers at the clubhouse included Gretchen Garrett, Nevaeh Pope and Jener Ludwig.
Ludwig, the son of Joy and Julian Ludwig of Kingfisher, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome when he was born.
Joy Ludwig said her family was at the tournament to show appreciation to golfers and Ambucs.
“Ambucs is a wonderful organization that has been supportive of Jener from day one and we will do all we can to always help give back to them,” she said.
The playground will cost about $550,000 to purchase the equipment and have it installed.
That means Ambucs has the goal of raising $275,00 with the city offering the matching funds.
The benefit tournament and other recent donations - a large amount coming since Wolf’s passing - leaves Ambucs about $80,000 short of its goal.
“We’ve worked a long time toward this, but a lot has happened in the last few months and it means a lot to us,” Scammahorn said. “It means a lot to these kids and it would have meant a lot to Glenda.”
Jener Ludwig is among those who will benefit once the goal is met.
“We would love to see the completion of the playground happen. There are so many that would benefit from it,” Ludwig said.
“For kids, the playground is an important thing, but it’s not always accessible for all. For Jener, it’s extremely hard for him to climb, swing etc.
“This playground would allow him to just be a kid.”