Freeland chamber golf tournament opens private course

There’s a chance to play the course at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club this month, even for non-members of the private club.

There’s a chance to play the course at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club this month, even for non-members of the private club.

The 14th annual golf tournament and auction for the Greater Freeland Chamber of Commerce is set for Sunday, Aug. 26. All it needs is golfers.

“We get a lot of return players,” said chamber president Chet Ross. “They really enjoy it.”

The day centers on golf with a handful of events for golfers to win. Mainly, the 18-hole tournament will end with one team on top. There are also closest to the pin, putting, longest drive and straightest drive contests, all sponsored by businesses on Whidbey Island like US Bank, Freeland Cafe, Island Family Hearing, Whidbey Coffee Co., Supermedia and HalfLink Bicycle Shop.

Competition on the course is mostly recreational, Ross said, although he’s too busy during the day to actually walk the greens.

“They have  a good time,” he said.

Team spots were more than half-filled by Aug. 9 with 18 teams registered. About 10 team registrations were available, though organizers said they keep the number of golfers between 80 and 100.

Prizes will be awarded during dinner. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Washington and the Pacific Northwest,” and non-golfers can enjoy a wine tasting for $20. There will also be a raffle for a wine tour to Yakima that includes lodging, wine tasting, wine and gift certificates to Yakima-area businesses (organizers value the certificates to be worth over $500).

Teams and individual golfers can register, though solo sign-ups will be placed with a team by event organizers. Registration costs $125 per person ($500 for a four-person team) and includes greens fees, lunch and dinner, and Useless Bay Golf & Country Club members get a discount. The golf tournament and auction is the only fundraiser of the year for the commerce chamber, which uses the funds to support its activities during the coming year.

“Since we’re not a city, we don’t get any funding like the incorporated places do,” Ross said. “This is one of our only ways of raising operational funds.”

The hole-in-one challenges are on the seventh and 14th holes, and were selected by the chamber’s insurance company. One of the holes rewards $1 million, and the other offers a new Audi A4. No one has ever won the hole-in-one prize.

“I wish they had,” Ross said.

The day of the event, registration will begin in the morning, followed by lunch, time at the driving range and a putting contest. The hole-in-one eliminations start at noon with a shotgun start time at 2 p.m. for the course. Forms are available at Freeland-area businesses as well as at the chamber’s office. Call 331-1980 or email for reservations and more information.