A drive, a putt, $22,000 raised

JENNAYE DERGE/Durango Herald

Lynday Gillespie hits the ball at the 18th hole at Dalton Ranch for Thursday afternoon's Columbine Duet Golf Classic finale. The team, which won second place in its flight, is from Pagosa Springs and includes, from left, Barbra Sanburn, Kay Crumpton and Audrey Johnson.

It was a beautiful day on all levels when the 100 women at the Columbine Duet Golf Classic completed the event’s 20th tournament Thursday.

The weather was perfect for both days of the event – not too hot – on Wednesday and Thursday. The courses – Glacier Club and Dalton Ranch Club – appeared to be in lovely shape. (I’m only a good judge of miniature golf courses, where the focus is mostly on the dastardly windmill.)

Everyone was in high spirits, and no one was a stranger after two days of golfing and socializing.

The Columbine, though, isn’t just about golf. It’s a significant fundraiser with an organizing committee spanning both clubs. This year’s chairwoman was Sandy Elliott. Members from the committee on the Dalton side included Diane Curtis, Amy Brunvand and Cathy Gaskell. Marina Siepiela and Donna Flynn represented Glacier Club on the committee.

The Columbine continues to grow in popularity. The event sold out in 10 days, with a long waiting list of people praying for a cancellation. One team even drove its registration form down from Delta the day registration opened because they were shut out last year.

Golfers hailed from eight states, 22 cities and 25 golf clubs. Oh, and did I mention it can now be called the Columbine Duet International Golf Classic? While player Denise Hughes now lives in Houston, she originally hails from Rugby, England. Another player was from the Netherlands. So this is no dinky small town event.

While I’m on the subject of Hughes, she has to have been the luckiest woman at the event. She won a raffle prize, she won the table centerpiece of a cookbook holder from Urban Market, she won a gift certificate for longest drive, and her team won their flight.

Which leads me to the tournament winners. For those who know as little about golf as I do, the flights are based on golfers’ handicaps.

Golfers can skip this paragraph. Handicaps are based on a golfer’s scores over at least five rounds and adjusted based on course difficulty. The higher the handicap, the worse the player, which is the exact opposite of the game itself, where the low score wins. (Go figure.) When two or more handicapped golfers play, their scores are adjusted to reflect the different handicaps. If you want to learn more, check out the U.S. Golf Association’s website, but be prepared to wade through a 25-page manual on handicapping!

The winning teams in Flights 1 and 4 each get a $700 gift certificate at the Glacier Club Golf Shop, and Flights 2 and 3 will be checking out the latest gear at the Dalton Ranch Golf Shop. The second and third place teams also get some nice shopping.

Flight No. 4 consists of the golfers with the highest handicaps, and the winner in that flight was the team of Linda Phillips, Barb Thurman, Jinx Richards and Nancy Cole.

Working our way up to lower handicaps, Flight No. 3’s top team was Nancy Bennett, Cindy Kring, Carol Riggs and Christine Manninen. The team with bragging rights from Flight No. 2 is Hughes’ team. Her teammates were Nannine Reynolds and organizers Elliott and Curtis.

And the best golfers in the land (or this week, at least) were Flight No. 1’s Karen Foster, Georgi Phillips, Karen Mills and Stephanie Jaquez.

Major kudos go to the staff and golf professionals at both clubs because this is a massive undertaking, with cocktail parties and meals in addition to taking over the golf courses for a big chunk of the days of the tournament.

At Glacier Club, general manager Jim Goodman, head golf pro Luke Bolsterhaus and first assistant pro Lucas Butler made it all happen at that end. (Yet another Butler who’s no relation.)

At Dalton, new general manager Brandon England was actually in the kitchen helping getting lunch out while keeping one ear out for the phone, because his wife, who is still in Montrose as they’re working to get settled here, was due to give birth at any minute. The golf pro at Dalton is Pier Nielson, with assistant Pete Wolke.

The organizers work on this tournament all year long, garnering sponsors for the event overall, sponsors for meals, sponsors for holes, donations for a multitude of raffle and silent auction items, deals struck for discounts on party favors and flowers. In other words, this group has learned the “art of the ask,” as we say in the marketing biz.

A special shoutout goes to Dolly Turner. A founding mother of this tournament, she has played in all 20. She and her husband, Nick, have sponsored a $10,000 hole-in-one prize for all 20 years, and as she says every year, they really want to write that check. She received flowers for her many efforts.

The big news, of course, is the result of all these efforts. I may have spoiled the punchline by putting the $22,000 in the headline, but that’s up from $18,500 last year for Flight for Life. That’s a huge jump in one year.

It goes to Manna Soup Kitchen for the capital campaign for its Training and Resource Center. If you’re thinking that you just read about that, you did. The center opened Thursday, with the first culinary arts classes scheduled to start Aug. 18.

Manna’s Executive Director Kathy Tonnessen and administrative manager Audrey Werner were on hand to accept that whopping check. Tonnessen said Manna had just received the $500,000 grant from The Karakin Foundation last fall, and the board was gearing up for the capital campaign when Elliott and Curtis arrived in her office to say they wanted to designate the 2014 tournament to the building. It may have taken a year to get the check, but it was the first official donation in the campaign.

To honor the beneficiary, everyone went home with a cookbook called Delicious Soups. Now that’s staying on theme.

Congrats to everyone involved for another year of a seamless tournament with scads of moving parts.

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Happy solstice birthday greetings go to Isaac Korce, Calan Barnhardt, Asher Clair, Chad Rush, John Waters, Ann Willard, Liam Lacey, Ann Tidwell, Frank Campana, Will Jernigan, Peter Kondrat Jr., Kate McElwain, Steven Moore, Ormond Morford, Caleb Ontiveros, Tiffany Bergman, Ozlo Mills, Sharon Kinton, Danial Ciluffo, Mike Hjermstad, Jim May, Ed Williams, Charlotte Wright, Amanda Pierce, Hamilton Wright, Jeanine Puskas, Aaron Cash, Mollianne Eckart, Erin Carman, Joe Foti, Matt Redbear, Daniel Grinnan, Meme Eberspacher, Elizabeth LaFortune, John Gardella, Ben Bader, Mack Otter, Logan Cole, Ed Williams, Annette Fusco, Kari Bjorlin, R.L. Hawks, John Hess and Courtney Wolf.

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These June anniversaries are crying out to be celebrated with a gourmet picnic – Richard and Debbie Pene, Brett and Holly Englund, Roger and Marilyn Folk, Jeff and Brenda Nelson, Danny and B.J. Pierce, John and Christine Priaulx, Bill and Sheri Collins, Amos and Julie Cordova, Art and Donna Chase, Al and Betty Calkins, Richard and Eileen Kippen and Ed and Karen Trahan.

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Here’s how to reach me: neighbors@durangoherald.com; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.

I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory).

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