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Every year, Turnhouse Golf Club hosts a special event to raise money for Breast Cancer Now - and it's always a smashing success!
The ladies at Turnhouse Golf Club traditionally held small competition every July in aid of a breast cancer charity. Following the death of a lady called Midge McCrone, whose husband, sons and daughter-in-law were all staunch Turnhouse members, the ladies section thought they should try to up the profile of the competition. So, they opened it to the whole club to see if we could raise more money than the modest amounts we had done in the past.
The family presented the club with the 'Midge McCrone Trophy', and I was one of those instrumental in getting this more ambitious undertaking off the ground. That was many years ago now, and this germ of an idea gradually grew. It became bigger and better every year, and has long been established as one of the highlights on our Turnhouse calendar. When the booking sheet opens there is a mega scramble to get a tee time!
We hold the competition every July at Turnhouse Golf Club in Edinburgh. This is our home club, and I have to say it is a club with a fantastic camaderie and willingness to participate wholeheartedly in anything of this nature.
We play in pairs: any combination of men, ladies and juniors. Our competition is a Greensomes. We charge a minimum of £5 per person, but most people give a lot more.
Everybody has to wear pink and we always see some wonderful outfits, especially from the men! If you turn up with nothing pink on, you are fined! Our slogan has become 'Turn Turnhouse into a Sea of Pink,' and this really happens in many ingenious ways. All raffle tickets, advertising posters in the clubhouse, programmes etc are printed on pink paper, too.
We have also been in the habit of giving (not selling) a Breast Cancer Now golf pin to each player - so everyone is on brand!
The ways we raise money are quite simple. Attached to everyone's team score card is a Penalty Score Card (pink of course) where you are fined 50p every time you lose a ball, fail to get out of a bunker first time, take three putts on a green, or fail to get on the green at a short par three. We put a maximun penalty of £5 per team on this and an awful lot of folk just hand in the fiver before they start.
During the event, all the staff wear Breast Cancer Now t-shirts, we decorate the clubhouse with balloons and posters, and we ensure there are plenty of collection cans around the place.
Thanks to the generosity of some members, we have special pink and white flag sticks and beautiful crested flags on all the greens. These only come out on that one day in the year.
We have a big raffle and tickets are available not just on the day but also in the couple of weeks leading up to the competition. If we are donated really big, valuable things for the raffle we run a silent auction which continues for at least a week after the event. This means other club members can participate, even those not playing on the day.
Some years we ask members who have their own businesses, or groups within the club, to sponsor holes: we don’t really go looking for money out with our own membership. If we are asking for sponsors like this, we print a small programme showing their names, and every participant gets one of these on the day.
Our winning couple get the Trophy, and the McCrone family add to this a voucher to play a round of golf on one of Scotland’s most prestigious courses. The family have always been there to present the trophy, except last year because of all the restrictions.
The turnout for the competition is fantastic. Even last year, with all the social distancing, we had a great day and raised a considerable sum of money. Of course, when the clubhouse is open and people can stay on to eat, drink and be merry, we raise a lot more! A sunny day helps, too!
I still do a fair bit of the running of this myself, and try to be around all day. In the past I pretty much did all the organising, with a few pals helping, but it is now almost completely in the hands of the club general manager and his staff. I just stick my oar in now and then! They do all the score cards, the printing, the handicapping, looking after the money etc. The greens staff look after the special flag poles.
The best bit for me is the sheer exuberance of the club on the day: so many people out there, all in pink and all dipping their hands deep into their pockets for this cause.
We always get the support we ask for from Breast Cancer Now. Mainly supplying t-shirts, balloons, collecting cans, golf pins etc. We have not tried to sell merchandise on the day as we feel there is enough generosity around without this. Leaflets are available for people to pick up.
I suppose it is a fun golf day with a purpose rather than a day about educating people about breast cancer, though many of the participants have been involved through loved ones in this wicked disease. We always have a ceremony once all the sums are done to present a cheque to a representative of Breast Cancer Now.
If any other golf club wants to try something like this, it is not difficult! You could make it as big or as internal (our way) as you like. And you can be assured that Breast Cancer Now will be on hand to help out whenever you need.
Want to host a day like this at your own club? Join the Breast Cancer Now Golf Club and we'll help you get things started!