The Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville continues a yearly tradition offering youth in the community a free opportunity to practice their swings and putts.
The first annual Kiwanis Memorial Youth Golf Tournament at the Links and Nichols Park Golf Courses will be held today and tomorrow. This kids-only event is free of charge for participants. Golf is one of the more expensive sports in terms of equipment, and tournaments like this one give kids a chance to play competitively without a need to worry about entry fees.
Paul Reither and Wade Mathis are the co-chairmen of the Youth Golf Tournament. Reither offers a history of the tournament’s past and how the format is continued today.
“It started out as the Robbie McEvers Memorial Golf Tournament. Family and friends were initially running it, and then they kind of turned it over to Kurt Heller and Brian Dawson, who were spearheading the tournament planning for a while. Then when they decided they weren’t going to move forward with the Robbie McEvers Tournament, we as the local Kiwanis club decided to continue the tournament and just make it a memorial in terms of remembering the previous years of the competition.”
Mathis says a few youth participants are traveling many miles to play this tournament.
“A lot of the kids are local, but there are some that travel a ways. I know that one contestant who’s been competing here for a few years is from Shawnee, Oklahoma. There’s one kid from Iowa, and it’s just an a awesome way for kids to grab their clubs and play for free.”
Mathis and the Kiwanis club know that this tournament is a great opportunity for kids.
“There’s probably a lot of kids out here that wouldn’t be able to play in a competitive tournament if it wasn’t free, so we’re really proud to be able to provide this tournament at no cost to participants. It’s a wonderful way for the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club to offer support for the youth of our community.”
Reither mentions some other work the Kiwanis club does for kids in the community.
“We have a great partnership with North Elementary School where we send Kiwanis members to tutor and mentor students. We also provide donations to many area programs, including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.”
Children ages 12 and under play 5 or 9 holes both days on the par-33 9-hole Nichols Park Golf Course, while children ages 13-18 play a full round of 18 holes each day on the par-70 Links Golf Course. To see scores and for more information, go online to kkidsgolf.com. To learn more about the Links Golf Course, you can go online to linksofjacksonville.com.