Golf tourney benefits Toys for Tots

Published 9:13 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Many more children will have toys to unwrap this Christmas after Sunday’s successful Toys for Tots Golf Tournament, hosted by the Suffolk Golf Course.

This was the first partnership between Toys for Tots and the Suffolk Golf Course, and it yielded a pile of toys and more than $300 in donations for the purchase of even more toys.

Joe Kitchen, a manager at the Suffolk Golf Course, helped put the event together with John Woleben who is a coordinator for Suffolk’s Toys for Tots program.

Suffolk Golf Course manager Joe Kitchen holds up the ball which he hit for a hole-in-one during the Toys for Tots Golf Tournament on Sunday at the Suffolk Golf Course. Kitchen helped organize the event that brought in 139 toys and $327 for the charitable organization.

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“Oh, it went wonderfully,” Kitchen said. “We had 19 teams. We actually had to cut it off. We figured we might get 10 or 12 teams, so we allocated for 16, but managed to squeeze in a couple of extras.”

Aside from being a successful event, the tournament was special for Kitchen for another reason as well.

“I got my second hole-in-one ever on number 16 on Sunday,” he said.

Kitchen said he was surprised to have made the rare shot. Only when he couldn’t find his ball after hitting from the 16th tee did he look in the hole and realize what he’d accomplished.

There were 76 participants in all.

“It was an excellent Toys for Tots event,” Woleben said. “The Lord blessed us with great weather, and we had a great number of players out there in the short time that Joe had to put the tournament together.”

Kitchen stressed the impressive number of toys that Woleben had to pack up.

“He brought one box, he went to the van Sunday morning, brought another box,” Kitchen said. “We filled both of those, and I used the big black trash bags that we use here at the course and filled up several of those full of toys.”

First place in the first flight went to a foursome composed of Glenn Hughes, Dale Pinchback, Elster Charles and Charles Shotton. First place in the second flight was claimed by the team featuring Lee Chaney, Mark Chaney, Kevin Howell and Brian Ashburn.

Woleben said former Virginia Wesleyan standout golfer Trae Kresinske, a member of his foursome, came within about two inches of an incredibly rare double eagle. A double eagle in this case would have meant that the golfer reached the hole in two shots when five are needed to make par. Kresinske ended up making it in three.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be the first of an annual Toys for Tots golf outing at the Suffolk Golf Course,” Woleben said.

Kitchen affirmed that hope and was already making plans for how each year would work.

“We’re going to have it the first weekend, weather permitting, in December,” he said. Saturday, Dec. 7 has been pegged for 2013.

“Next year, I’ll start about two months out, and now that I know it’s a hit, I’ll go around and get businesses to donate stuff for the raffle,” Kitchen said. “And what we’ll do is we’ll sell raffle tickets to raise extra money and then people, the more raffles tickets they buy, the (more) prizes they get.”

Now through Dec. 15, golfers can still bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Suffolk Golf Course and receive $5 off a round of golf.