With only two weeks until tee off, organizers are inviting men’s club golfers from around the Kootenays to register for the 13th annual Mel Simister Memorial Mountain Classic at Birchbank June 23.
Since the inaugural round, the popular charity event has raised close to $50,000 for the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Foundation, but has seen the field dwindle in recent years.
“The numbers have been dropping with everything else,” said organizer Derrick Simister. “We’ve seen dramatic change and noticed it lots in the last five years.”
The two-man-team, 27-hole tournament once attracted up to 75 teams at its height, says Simister, now he’d be satisfied with 40. The event is in danger of being cancelled if more teams don’t sign up.
“We got the green light to run it this year whatever comes in, but if it doesn’t at least hold in to that 36-40 range – it’s just a lot of leg work with the sponsors . . . The club is getting to the point where they don’t want to hold up the whole golf course for that many people,” he said.
But despite the lack of long hitters, local sponsors continue to support the tournament, donating a number of prizes and gift certificates.
“The sponsors are always there,” said Simister. “The best part of it is all the small businesses in town are some of our best sponsors.”
After Mel Simister passed away, his friends and men’s club golf group decided to kick off the event in his honour.
“He wasn’t very good at sports but he was sports-minded . . . He really wasn’t very good at anything except for being nice to people,” he added with a smile.
What has since evolved is a charity classic for men with a unique and fun agenda, as golfers over a 14-handicap vie for bragging rights.
The format for the 27-holes is a front -nine scramble, with the second nine best ball, and the final nine holes an alternate-shot to keep it all very interesting.
A dinner and awards presentation will follow in the Birchbank clubhouse. Cost to register is $55 for Men’s club members, $60 RTCC members, and $80 non-members.
Call the Birchbank pro shop at 693-2255 to enter.