First-Ever Golf Tournament Raises Almost $10K for Manatee Conservation Efforts

34 foursomes registered for the 18-hole scramble tournament.
34 foursomes registered for the 18-hole scramble tournament.

By Ally Greco, Director of Communications and Outreach

On Saturday, May 1, 2021, Save the Manatee Club (SMC) hosted its first-ever charity golf tournament at Hidden Lakes Golf Club in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Thanks to the support of over 130 golfers and dozens of generous sponsors and volunteers, the tournament raised almost $10,000 for manatee conservation efforts.

Robert, Hidden Lakes Golf Course Director, reads the rules to golfers at the 8:00 a.m. start time. Save the Manatee Club’s Ally Greco looks on at left.

The goal was to keep the tournament simple. We envisioned a four-player team starting on each of the course’s 18 holes and one sponsor per hole, allowing us to raise plenty of funds for manatees and cover any costs. There ended up being nearly two teams starting on each hole, and several holes with multiple sponsors!

Volunteers and staff set up the raffle baskets, auction items, and registration table the evening before, then golfers began arriving the next morning, starting at 6:45 a.m. Golfers purchased “mulligans,” or do-overs, on the course, picked up their goody bags, and browsed the raffle and auction items while enjoying donuts from sponsor Donnie’s Donuts. The Hidden Lakes staff labeled all the golf carts with player names, and by 8 a.m., they were off! Teams headed to their assigned starting hole.

Fins Up! The Parrot Head and Shore Life Radio tent was the place to be on Hole 8!

Each foursome of golfers played in a scramble format to keep gameplay fun and fast-paced. While on the course, they tried their hand at longest drive, closest to the pin, and closest to the line contests. Blue Spring Adventures also sponsored several hole-in-one contests, and while there were unfortunately no lucky winners, it made the stakes higher for that rare hole-in-one! Sponsor JA Edwards of America, Inc. had an information booth on Hole 10. And the biggest party of the day happened at Hole 8 at the drink tent hosted by the New Smyrna Beach Parrot Head Club, Space Coast Parrot Head Club, and Shore Life Radio. Donations from margarita and screwdriver sales contributed another $450+.

Happy winners took home raffle prizes generously donated by sponsors, like this coffee and gift basket from Manatee Gourmet Coffee.

After a long day on the course, golfers enjoyed a BBQ lunch and submitted their scores. Contest winners and 1st and 2nd place mens’, ladies’, and mixed teams took home prizes from sponsors like Casselberry Golf Club, The Club at Venetian Bay, The Deltona Club, Dubsdread, Hidden Lakes, Mayfair Country Club, Om Sunshine Yoga & Sup, S.R. Perrott, and Ventura Country Club. Finally, the 50/50 winner, raffle basket winners and auction bids were drawn, contributing more funds for manatees and leaving many winners happy.

We thank everyone involved for a successful event, from the participants and sponsors to the volunteers, Hidden Lakes staff, and SMC team members who helped behind the scenes. Proceeds from the event will support advocacy for manatee and habitat protection; manatee rescues, rehabilitation, and releases; manatee research; and public awareness and education efforts. See you at our next “mana-tee off!” Click this link to see more photos from the golf tournament here.

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