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Demopolis Rotary event seeks to make a difference

Demopolis Rotary will host its 36th annual charity golf tournament Friday at the country club.

“It’s our largest fundraiser. It has been for years,” event organizer Jay Reynolds said of the tournament, which was established in 1968.

The charity event raises funds for a number of causes. According to Reynolds, 50 percent of the tournament’s profits go to benefit local charities while the remaining 50 percent is directed to Camp ASCCA, Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults.

“I would say we’re well over $250,000 that’s been donated,” Reynolds said of the funds Demopolis Rotary has been able to generate and allocate through the golf tournament’s first 35 years.

The event initially procured funds for Easter Seals. As of 1992, the group had donated $110,415 to Easter Seals.

“Everything goes to charity,” Reynolds said of the funds Demopolis Rotary raises from the event. “All donations, all entry fees, are tax deductible.”

As of Thursday, 50 golfers had signed up and paid the $75 registration fee. That number left Reynolds and Rotary some work to do in order to reach and surpass the 82 golfers that participated in 2008, a year in which Demopolis Rotary donated $7,000 to charities.

This year the event features a format change. The 2009 version of the golf tournament will boast two divisions. One division will be dedicated to traditional medal play while the other will be a four-ball bracket.

“This year is the first year we’re going to have a four-ball division,” Reynolds said of the format that allows players to participate on two-man teams in a match-play format. “Last year we had match play and didn’t get a lot of entries. So we decided to go to a four-ball format.”

For the second straight year, the event will open with a Thursday night social in which players are treated to a free steak dinner and live music. Play begins at 9 a.m. Friday.

“We give away $40,000 in prizes for hole-in-ones,” Reynolds said of a feat that has yet to be accomplished in the event’s history. “It’s never been done that I know of.” Those prizes include $10,000 in cash, $10,000 in gas, a golf cart and accessories and a Gator plus accessories.

Additionally, the event will give away golf bags, shirts and other prizes while providing competitors a complimentary lunch Friday.