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Sanbornton has a yo-ho-ho-lotta fun raising money for playground

Alex Latham shot a hole-in-one but later found his ball stuck in the wrong hole as it landed precariously in the opening of a grindstone obstacle on the mini-golf course at Pirate’s Cove. Latham was one of 40 participants in a tournament to raise funds for the Sanbornton Town Park playground. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
August 11, 2010
TILTON — Pirate's Cove donated 18 holes of swinging fun for Sanbornton Recreation Department's second annual mini-golf tournament to help raise funds for a playground at the Town Park on Shaw Hill Road.

Ten teams, made up of four people of all ages, gathered at the golf center on Route 3 in Tilton last Saturday morning to vie for a trophy, some great raffle prizes and the all important bragging rights. Each player donated $10 toward construction of the playground and had the opportunity to get out and enjoy a beautiful summer morning on the course.

Jeff Olisky, manager of Pirate's Cove, got the teams set for a shotgun start. Players began from the hole that matched their team number, allowing all to start and finish at the same time as they made their way through all 18 holes on the course.

"We do a few of these types of tournaments over the summer. It's a great way to raise money for (organizations) and they have a good time doing it," Olisky said.

Pirate's Cove, Steele Hill Resort, Pike Industries, Cadbury Woods Farm, Beckett Glass, Franklin Savings Bank, Laconia Savings Bank and the Grobman family from the Orthopedic Professional Association all sponsored holes along the course. Alec Latham was thrilled to not only get a hole-in-one in his game but was happy to see it came on the hole sponsored by their close family friends who own Beckett Glass. His mom Elizabeth immediately placed a call to "Uncle Scotty" so Alec could tell of his good fortune on the hole he and his wife sponsored.

Over the phone Scott Beckett said he was happy to donate money toward such a great cause in Sanbornton even though he and his wife have no children who will use the new playground.

"We're part of the community, so why wouldn't we help out? The recreation department does so much good in our town," Beckett said.

Alec's dad Mark Latham was the driving force behind organizing the first golf tournament two years ago. He said he felt holding a mini-golf tournament to raise money for the "mini-residents" of Sanbornton was fitting.

Mark was full of praise for Pirate's Cove and very appreciative of their contributions to the tournament.

"If it wasn't for their support and commitment to Sanbornton and this playground, none of this today would be possible," he said.

Besides playing as a team, the Latham's own Cadbury Woods Farm and also sponsored a hole.

"We're completely embracing this project," said his wife Elizabeth as she watched her daughter Julia make a putt.

True "mini"-golfers like 3-year-olds Ali and Brendan joined their family's teams and might not have always played the way their older siblings and parents did, but their satisfaction was just as great when they finally dropped, pushed or kicked their colorful golf balls into the hole.

Thirteen-year-old Emily Holt was enjoying her morning of golf with her parents, Rob and Jennifer, and brother Jake as well. The Winnisquam Regional Middle School student thought participating in the tournament was a great way to help out her hometown.

"You get to come out and be active, have fun and get something good out of the day," she said.

At the end of the morning team scores were added up and divided by the number of players for their tournament score. Amidst good natured ribbing and cries for recounts of the scores, it was the Woods family who took first place this year. Ken, Tracy, Samantha and William Woods each got a trophy for their mini-golf prowess. A team made up of two couples, Lori and Randy Buddington and Susan and Dick Shannon, came in second while the Goodwin family, Heather, Sean and their children Brendan, Patrick and Shannon placed third.

Names were drawn for a number of other prizes and everyone went home with gift certificates to places like T-Bones Restaurant, Ragged Mountain Golf Course, Dynamic Ceramics, Tilt'n Diner, Laconia Athletic and Swim Club, Squam Lakes Science Center, Polar Caves and the McAuliffe Discovery Center. There were also family tickets for Water Country, Six Flags Amusement Park, a Fisher Cats baseball game and Charming Fare Farm.

Olinsky brought out a Mystery Board that awarded anyone who shot a hole-in-one on the number selected with a free round of mini-golf at Pirate's Cove. Alec Latham was happy to hear his lucky shot on "Uncle Scotty's" sponsorship got a little luckier when Hole 19 was drawn from the board.

Recreation Director Julie Lonergan said all the prizes were donated to the event and the recreation department was grateful for their contributions.

"It was wonderful of Pirate's Cove to donate their course like they did to raise more money. Before today we had over $5,300 set aside so after this tournament we should have enough to start some of the construction now this year," she said.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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