Golf

The Party Hole helps a golf course raise money for charity

Calvin Merritt of Spring Hill takes his swing on his Million Dollar Hole in One Shot at the Dunes Golf Club at Seville.

MIKE CAMUNAS | Times

Calvin Merritt of Spring Hill takes his swing on his Million Dollar Hole in One Shot at the Dunes Golf Club at Seville.

BROOKSVILLE

The odds should be a million to one.

Bagging a hole in one, after all, takes just one swing, the right amount of bounce and just a pinch of luck.

Piece of cake, right?

But what if that recipe adds pressure, weighed down by a monetary value? That ups the ante in a hurry.

Well, that's where the Party Hole comes in. The Clearwater-based business has an ingenious idea, adding some extra fun to a golf course or event. They set up closest to the pins, even a million dollar hole in one shot.

And they do it all to help a course raise money for a charity.

"We go around and make different events at courses and they're always for charity," co-owner Pam Delaney said of her business that she started in October. "Our main goal, though, is to bring extra excitement and entertainment to a course. We do all kinds of stuff though. We do stuff that anyone can do as not to limit the fun anyone can have out here and to then also to raise money for the charity.

"The concept happened, honest to God, one night we just sitting around having a beer, and it was like, why not put a party on a (golf) hole or a course? Why don't we call it the Party Hole? And we were like why not do it for charity all the time, and boom, here we are."

Delaney and her partner, Justina Hopkins, helped the Dunes Golf Club at Seville in Brooksville raise money for the Dawn Center, which is the Domestic and Sexual Violence Center for Hernando County.

According to course manager Jim Cocchi, at the Party Hole's second event, the company helped the course raise nearly $1,000 with a closest to the pin events, and an additional $500 in gift cards for the Dawn Center.

"It lets golfers have some laughs and do something for charity," Cocchi said of the Million Dollar Hole in One contest. "It's not often that someone has a shot at a million dollars. It would be crazy because, well, they be getting paid.

"It really would've been a heck of a happening."

So if the Party Hole is helping raise money for charity, who's paying out $1-million? Certainly not Dr. Evil.

Actually, Delaney says they are insured for when it happens, but with just two events under the duo's belt, there's still time for someone to surprise them.

"I'm still not sure how I'd react if someone actually got a hole in one during this," Delaney said Saturday.

Delaney and Hopkins got, in a sense, lucky enough this past weekend. So when Calvin Merritt of Spring Hill, a regular at the Dunes, made it through two qualifying rounds to get the nod at the jackpot shot, there was no payout in the end.

Merritt had practiced all week. He'd been playing the closest to the pins set up on the 13th and 16th holes at the Dunes and won three times, including coming 2 feet, 6 inches from the hole.

"When I first came up here, I had no idea what they were doing," Merritt said. "I missed my tee time and meandered over here and said, 'What's this all about?' They said if you get closest to the pin, you can qualify for a million dollars. Whoa. So I figured why not. It was pretty fun for five bucks."

The contest, which had eight contestants, was no easy task. The golfers faced a strong wind in their faces and many didn't even hit the green in the qualifying rounds.

When Merritt was the lone golfer left, he could not take a practice shot at the designated hole on the driving range. Having to go 165 feet, Merritt said he debated using the four hybrid club he settled on or a high iron.

However, Merritt's shot was way left, not even landing on the green.

"All my practice shots were better than my million dollar shot!" Merritt said. "I pulled this a bit. I must of choked (laughs), but it's just at the last minute I decided to hit (the hybrid club). I should've gone with my gut, but this was great. It was great that it was for charity that I was buying towels and drinks and whatever to help out.

"Wished I could've gotten closer, but glad that the charity got some money."

Though Cocchi wasn't present for the event, he did say later that Merritt told him he was nervous.

"I'm sure he felt a little pressure," Cocchi said. "Who wouldn't with a million dollars on the line?"

Putting the pressure aside, throwing the odds out the window and forgetting about the money, the Party Hole is about setting up fun, different events on the course.

Ones that stray away from a traditional round of golf.

"They go out there and make it a fun day," Cocchi said. "They can have a lot of noise and activity and have a variety of things to do and it gives you a little excitement in the middle of a round. It can be really fun."

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

Fast facts

The Party Hole

Owners: Pam Delaney and Justina Hopkins

What: Help host charity events at local golf courses.

For more info, log on to www.thepartyhole.com or e-mail thepartyhole@gmail.com.

The Dawn Center

The Domestic and Sexual Violence Center for Hernando County.

For more info, call (352) 684-7191.

The Dunes Golf Club at Seville

For more info or tee times, call (352) 596-7888.

Odds of an oddity

Many reputed magazines and golf digests have made their own surveys and pegged the odds at making a hole in one. For a professional golfer, the odds are 1 in 3,756, while an amateur is 1 in 12,750. These assumptions and calculations, however, can differentiate and it's very difficult to arrive at a common figure. Some golf clubs, though, peg the odds as 1 in 33,000, while other newspaper columns have put the odds as 1 in 45,000.

Source: Ezine Articles

The Party Hole helps a golf course raise money for charity 12/30/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 6:14pm]

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