Thursday, July 18, 2024
86.0°F

Please Hit Straight golf tournament continues to grow

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | July 2, 2024 3:00 AM

WARDEN — Golfers around the Columbia Basin gathered at Sage Hills Golf Club for the third annual Please Hit Straight golf tournament Saturday, raising money for the Warden High School wrestling program. 

“It’s a fraternity, almost,” said Alan Martinez, assistant Warden wrestling coach and tournament organizer. “All of us wrestled here for so many years, and to get everybody back under the same roof and seeing each other, talking about the old times and reliving the glory days and raising money for the youth and all the other kids — it’s a pretty special thing, and it shows how every year we’ve grown.”

The tournament has grown over the past two years; in its first year, 2022, the tournament had eight four-person teams — that number raised to 17 in 2023 and 29 this past weekend.

The tournament raised over $10,000 last year. While there are still some outlying numbers relating to the cost of the tournament, Martinez said the total money raised increased by $3,000 to $5,000 this year.

“It changes everything,” Martinez said. “A lot of these guys, when we were kids, we didn’t have the luxury of going to camps. A lot of us didn’t come from families that could afford to do that stuff. So going to camps or bringing in clinicians or doing summer programs, we didn’t have that luxury. Now, to know that all of these people that paved the way for us are coming back and they’re paying it forward, we can do those things.”

Funds raised for the tournament go toward putting on Warden’s summer wrestling camp, which has been held towards the end of July the past two summers. Martinez said a date for the camp hasn’t been set yet but will feature instruction from wrestling clinicians and is free to youth wrestlers in the Warden community.

The support of the golf tournament allows the program to put the money raised into other things as well.

“What’s really nice is before, getting that camp was the only thing we were worried about,” Martinez said. “Because we’re getting so much support, there’s a million more options. There’s kids out there that don’t have the right gear or clothes or shoes, and those problems are getting eliminated now because of all the support we’ve gotten from the community.”

The Basin Bombers, comprised of Rett Watkins, Travis Mohs, Mark Schutte and Angel Garza, won this year’s Please Hit Straight tournament. They defeated Nothing Sweeter Than a Repeat, the back-to-back tournament champion team from Royal City comprised of Ray Valle, Kent Christensen, Alex Myrick and Mark Guzman. The two teams were tied following the play on the course, leading to a playoff round where spectators gathered to watch the two sides match up against one another. 

The same teams were tied at the end of last year’s tournament, with the Royal City team taking home the win after a playoff.

“Those Royal guys, they come down here and they put on a show,” Martinez said. “They support us a ton, they’re great guys and they play the bad guys for us — it kind of fuels our guys.”

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

    A team of golfers watches as one putts on the 10th green at the Sage Hills Golf Club in Warden. The Please Hit Straight golf tournament, raising money for the Warden High School wrestling program, had 29 teams sign up this year — the most in the tournament’s three-year history.
 
 


 

    Along with competition on the golf course, there were contests for closest to the pin and longest drive at Saturday’s Please Hit Straight golf tournament in Warden.
 
 
    The winners of the Please Hit Straight golf tournament received WWE-style championship belts.