Golf

Fun, not golf, drives Redneck Golf Tournament at Spring Hill course

SPRING HILL

You might be a redneck if you played in this tournament.

Quail Ridge Golf Course held the eighth annual Redneck Golf Tournament on Monday, which, obviously, isn't an average golf event or scramble held at a local course. As matter of fact, most of the golf played is really an afterthought to participants.

"Every hole does have golf involved, though there may not seem like a lot," event organizer Tammy Williams said. "There are obstacles (to go through) to get to it, but they are still playing golf."

Each hole had a different theme, with the golf sprinkled in there. Such as the par-3 hole that was Operation Potato Storm. Golfers would use a potato shooter to try to hit a green set up like a Iraq conflict. Where the potato lands, that's where golfers would putt from.

Another was Gumbo's Market, in which golfers must hit the ball off watermelon on every shot, and when you get to the end of hole the fruit is weighed to see if the swing took any chunks. Any weight missing from the watermelon from the start of the hole costs the golfer more strokes.

Yet another hole was set up to look like a grave yard and the purpose was to get the ball into a grave hole dug into a sand trap that had a prop coffin nearby.

"The first year we had it, no one really knew what to expect," Williams said. "But now there are a lot of people who totally get into it or into character. We have a lot of regular golfers who golf all the time, but then they get out here and get into redneck mode.

"It just takes on a life of his own once they get out here."

The tourney had rules that were strictly enforced, including no collared shirts and golf shoes allowed. Golfers were only allowed to bring three clubs, having to use a putter provided by the event, which was, in true redneck fashion, a garden shovel. In fact, golfers are encouraged to play barefoot or in sandals and act rambunctious as well. Many golfers had water gun fights throughout the event and then WQYK, which was a sponsor at the event, held a Redneck Idol for people to sing country music.

TRW Roofing, a sponsor for the event, saw that the proceeds benefit the Angelus, which is a full-time residential facility for the severally handicapped.

"I didn't swing swung the club much," said Vince Vassallo, who's used to the more traditional sense of golf, seeing that he lives and plays frequently at Cheval Golf and Country Club. "My friend easily convinced me to come play this event this morning, but I thought we were playing in a regular scramble event.

"Golf really isn't a redneck sport. This is a different change of pace for anyone who golfs normally and regularly, and isn't used to this."

Similarly to what happened to Vassallo, many companies will buy a round for its employees, yet not tell them the premise of the event. They come out only to be shocked and surprised.

"That's always great to see when someone isn't expecting this," Williams added.

Most people come out to don their best blue-collar personas. Many people weren't even wearing shirts, on top of always making sure there's was a Budweiser in hand.

"I've done this a couple years in a row, but it is a great event," Brandon resident Gary Flowre said. "You probably use a golf stick on about three holes on the whole thing. Its a great way to have a great time on a course doing something different.

"Its a good reason to act like a redneck without having to have a real reason to act this way. At least you act this way out here for charity."

People from Angelus and even former Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott and current Bucs defensive tackle Chris Hovan were on hand. Yet, the event may look odd, even seeming like it has gotten out of hand. It has the feel of a NASCAR Sunday instead of a typical golf outing.

That's the point.

"We don't try to mislead anybody when you sign up for this tournament," Williams said. "The first thing I tell them is that this is not a serious golf game. We're proud of that, though."

Community Sports Editor Mike Camunas can be reached at mcamunas@sptimes.com or (352) 544-1771.

Fast facts

Eighth annual Redneck Golf Tournament

Where: Quail Ridge Golf, 12830 Shady Hills Road, Spring Hill

In 2008, the event raised more than $27,000 for the Angelus home.

For info on next year's event, call Tammy Williams at (727) 243-8293.

Fun, not golf, drives Redneck Golf Tournament at Spring Hill course 04/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:55am]

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