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Scramble to benefit Grizzly golf program

The marquee sports programs traditionally are funded at a higher level when it comes to prep athletics. And rightly so, considering football bleachers and basketball gyms are usually overflowing with fans.

The lesser followed sports programs, though, such as high school swimming, bowling and golf, are often left with bare-boned budgets. For the coaches who head up these secondary sports programs, that adds up to one of two things: either they operate a no-frills program or they get creative in seeking financial help from the community.

Glenn Braman, the coach of the Sunnyside High School boys golf team, prefers the latter.

Working in cooperation with the Sunnyside Athletic Club, Braman and other local golf enthusiasts are currently piecing together the plans for the second annual Grizzly Golf Scramble. The tournament, which is just as much of a social event as it is a competition, is slated for Sunday, May 22, at Sunnyside's Black Rock Creek Golf Course.

"It's a fun day for everyone who participates," Braman said. "And the best thing about it is, the money we raise makes our high school boys and girls golfing programs stronger and better."

From a competitive standpoint, the May 22 tourney, which will get underway at 1 p.m., offers prizes to the top finishing teams, as well as individual flag event prizes.

"We get kind of crazy with our individual prizes," Braman chuckled. "Last year, for example, we had a prize for the golfer who came closest to hitting their ball into the lake on No. 14 without going in.

"The thing about our scramble is, everyone who plays goes home with something," he continued. "We offer tee prizes for just showing up. With some generous support from several of our local businesses, we're able to to give everyone some nice prizes for just being there."

The scramble participants also won't go home hungry. Braman said all of the golfers will be fed a hamburger lunch, complete with salad and drink.

Braman explained that four-person teams are encouraged to enter, but said individual golfers can also sign up and will be paired with others. The cost to participate, he said, is affordable, as entry fees are set at $35 for Black Rock Creek members and $50 for those who aren't members. Entry forms, he added, are available in the Sunnyside High School ASB office or sign-ups can be arranged by telephoning him at the high school.

To help defray the costs of operating the scramble, the organizers are again seeking hole sponsors.

"Last year we received a lot of support from our local businesses when it came to hole sponsors," Braman said. "We're hoping for the same kind of support again," he added, explaining that for $100 a merchant will get the name of their business prominently displayed on one of the tee blocks, as well as a listing on a billboard sign located in the Black Rock Creek clubhouse.

Last year, the first time the Sunnyside Athletic Club teamed up with the Grizzly golf program in putting on the scramble, the event drew 16 teams.

"We raised about $2,100 last year," said Braman. "The athletic club got half of it and used the money for the scholarships they present each spring. The other half we kept to supplement the financing we get from the high school, which comes to about $750 a year.

"This year, our goal is to have more than 20 teams in our scramble, and we'd like to make about $3,000. Whatever we make will again be divided between the athletic club and the high school golf program," Braman added.

Braman was asked why the additional funding is needed for the Grizzly golf program.

"We want to offer the kids a quality program," he said. "When you've got fees for the invites we compete in, plus junior membership costs of $150 per kid and the cost of range balls and the balls for the matches, it all adds up. Things like matching jackets and hats, so when we travel somewhere others will know we're a team, it's about being proud to be from Sunnyside.

"If we can raise this additional money, it means we can offer a top notch golf program to our kids. That's what it's all about," he said.

Braman is also sold on helping forge a junior golf program in Sunnyside. Currently in the works, he said, are plans to offer a golf clinic to younger children through the Sunnyside Recreation Department. "Possibly this summer," he said.

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