Annual mini-golf tournament brings fun and funds to Sanbornton Rec



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Jonathan MacDonald and friends Caleb and Lucas Robdau paused for a photo before continuing on with their game during the Sanbornton Recreation Department’s mini-golf tournament. Caleb shot a hole in one on the very first hole, leaving the other two boys vying to match his accomplishment on the course at Pirate’s Cove in Tilton. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
August 10, 2011
SANBORNTON — Supporters of the Sanbornton Recreation Department gathered once more last Saturday morning for the third annual mini-golf tournament, designed for family and friends to enjoy the fun and hospitality of Pirate's Cove Mini-Golf Course in Tilton while raising money for a new town playground.

Proceeds from all entry fees went to help the town build a new playground at the town park on Shaw Hill Road in Sanbornton.

From "Team AARP," as one group jokingly referred to themselves, to young families and groups of teens, everyone was having fun as they made their way through the course, putting through pirates' cemeteries, rotating water wheels, down steep drops, and around many other obstacles.

Five-year-old Caleb Robdau was one of the lucky ones who got off to a good start.

"I got a hole in one on my first shot, and I've never even been here before," he said.

That lucky putt brought on a challenge, as older brother Lucas and friend Jonathan MacDonald set out to match Caleb's accomplishment.

"We've got to get a hole in one now, too," said MacDonald.

Donna Barnes and her husband Tim had a friendly rivalry going on, as well, as they played through with their two children, Jonathan and Courtney.

"I challenged him, so he's stepped up his game now," she laughed before taking careful aim on her ball.

The Barnes, like many at the golf course that day, said their children attend the recreation department's summer camp and after school programs throughout the year, and wanted to help raise money to construct the new playground.

Another local family was not just out to support the playground efforts, but to also try to redeem themselves from a somewhat dismal appearance in the inaugural tournament.

Melanie Van Tassel admitted she had the worst score ever that year, and was presented with a token from Pirate's Cove to return for some perhaps much-needed practice.

"We're a championship team this year, though. I can feel it," Van Tassel laughed as she, her daughter, son, and his friend moved on to the third hole.

"No scouts will be calling me after today, I'm sure, but we'll see how it goes. This is all just good fun for a good cause," she said.

Another team comprised of Sanbornton teens also laughed and joked their way through the maze of putting greens.

"I'm doing bad, but it's because I didn't have breakfast," said Rob Zollo as teammates Kendra and Mackenzie Lonergan and Chris Caveny booed at his excuse.

The tiniest participant of all, though, was seven-month-old baby Elinor, who had to settle for sitting in her stroller as mom Becki and big sister Alli Kibbe played on her behalf.

"The whole reason we're here is for the playground. Elinor will definitely be using it one day, and we want to help," said Becki.

Scores were averaged out for each team of participants, and the surprise of the day came when Team Van Tassel really did redeem themselves, coming from last to first as they took the title of 2011 tournament champions. No one walked away empty-handed, though. Recreation Commissioner Heather Goodwin and department coordinator Julie Lonergan had prizes for everyone, ranging from Fisher Cats tickets to dinners at Common Man, T-Bones and Hart's Turkey Farm, along with gift certificates for Dynamic Ceramics, Storyland, and many other local museums and family-oriented attractions.

"Thanks to you all, we've raised over $2,000 each year since we started this fundraising tournament. After next year, we hope we'll be able to start building the playground, so get your friends to come out and join us, and we hope to see you all then," announced Goodwin.

Lonergan was more than pleased with the day's turnout, along with the sponsorships for each hole on the course and the generosity of Pirate's Cove, once again the Gold Sponsor for the day.

"They readily let us have the course each year, and even sponsor a few of the holes. They've just been terrific, and so supportive," Lonergan said.

She also wished to give a special thank you to Franklin Savings Bank, which was this year's Silver Sponsor with a donation of $500.

Other appreciated sponsors include Steele Hill Resorts, Dr. Grobman and the Orthopedic Professional Association, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Metrocast, Winnisquam Auto, Laconia Savings Bank, Beverly A. Wood (Grammie BeBe), Tanger Properties, Den Brae Golf Course and the Tilton-Northfield Rotary.

"They've all been instrumental in making this fundraiser a success every year, and we can't thank them enough for their support," Lonergan said.

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