At one time, the Banana Belt was the Sunnyside golf course's largest and most prestigious tournament of the year, typically drawing more than a hundred golfers to the two-day event.
However, the field has shrunk over time, and quite honestly, the tourney barely gets a glance from local golfers or out-of-towners looking to fatten their wallets.
That's all about to change!
Under the leadership of Phil Luther, and a dedicated group of committee members, the 55th annual Banana Belt is gearing up to return to its days of glory.
One way tourney organizers are enticing golfers to enter the Aug. 27-28 event is by adding $10,000 to the prize fund. The added prize money has already been secured, via donations and sponsorships from Lower Valley businesses and merchants.
Tournament organizers, simply put, have arranged for a first-class experience for all linksters who sign up to compete at Black Rock Creek Golf Course the last weekend of August.
Besides the extremely large prize fund, golfers will be treated to three meals over the course of the weekend...a sack lunch and dinner steak feed on Saturday, and a breakfast meal Sunday morning. Also, a beverage cart will be on the course both days with drinks and snacks.
Golfers, too, are invited to tour Black Rock Creek with a free practice round the day before the tourney, on Friday, Aug. 26. Tee times should be phoned in ahead of time for the free round of golf (837-5340).
Following Saturday evening's steak feed a Calcutta will be staged. Teams of four golfers will be auctioned off. The teams that score the best in Sunday's round will earn the team owners cash payouts.
The format for the tourney, itself, is individual stroke play. The field will be flighted according to handicap, with both gross and net payouts. The Banana Belt is also offering a first-ever flight for ladies.
Tee prizes of golf balls and two bottles of wine will be given to everyone who enters.
Also up for grabs will be lap prizes, based on gross and net scores for each nine holes of play both days of the tournament.
The Banana Belt is also offering hole-in-one prizes on its four par-3 holes. The prizes range from a Ford F-150 pick-up truck, offered by Tom Denchel Ford, to a vacation trip and a set of golf clubs.
Tournament organizers will also be offering optional side games on both Saturday and Sunday...honey pots, deuce pots and a skins game.
This year's Banana Belt field is limited to the first 144 golfers who sign up. Entry costs are set at $100 for Black Rock Creek members and $130 for non-members. The deadline to register in the Black Rock Creek pro shop is Wednesday, Aug. 17.