Mini golf event to raise funds, awareness for local nonprofit
You may soon be able to watch the golf drama and excitement of the Masters and cheer on your favorite golfers right here in Southaven. Did I say we were talking about the Mini Masters?
If you were not aware, part of the BankPlus Sports Center at Snowden Grove in Southaven is an 18-hole mini golf course. It’s been part of the center for many years, but maintenance of the course has lagged behind a bit. Now the course is being fixed up and is getting ready to put its best foot forward ahead of a fundraiser event for the Arc Northwest Mississippi.
Called the Mid South Mini Masters Tournament, the event on Saturday, Oct. 7 will give those individually and developmentally disabled and served by the Arc Northwest Mississippi a chance to play on the course. Twenty-four teams will enjoy the fun of playing mini golf on what is the only golf course of its kind in DeSoto County, according to Russ Lehman of The Event Benefits. He was behind bringing The Light Garden to the Olive Branch City Park last December and came up with the idea for the golf event as a fundraiser for the Arc.
“When we came across the Arc Northwest Mississippi, we thought they were a really good fit for a fundraiser because we would host their families as part of the event,” Lehman said.
The Mini Masters became a win-win as Lehman presented his idea to Southaven Parks and Recreation officials.
“I took the idea to the city and said what we wanted to do and who we wanted to benefit,” Lehman said. “They said, if you can help us in any way, fix it up, maintain it, make it more of a community asset, I said, absolutely, and as a part of that, they’re letting us use the facilities for free for the event and letting us give naming rights to the holes and we can sell that to sponsors.”
It’s the sponsorships The Event Benefits are selling that will be used to support the Arc.
“It’s our first time working with them and we knew that they have done some incredible stuff, so we really appreciated their trust in the partnership,” Lehman said. “We’re really excited about the experience we’re creating for the families, as well as the funds that we’re able to raise for them.”
The plan became a win-win-win with the addition of Michael Hatcher and Associates as the means of improving the course to more playable condition. It’s work the landscaping company is providing as their contribution to the cause, and future use of the mini golf course beyond Oct. 7.
“We’re always looking for opportunities, and it’s actually one of the things as the vision for the company, that we like to challenge every once in a while of, ‘what are we actually doing in the community?’” said Michael Hatcher and Associates Operations Manager Jeff Peterman. “This presented itself and gave us an opportunity to ‘put our money where our mouth is.’ It’s costly to get out there and to put guys out there with the labor, but at the same time, it provides us a great opportunity to become engaged in the community and give a little bit back. We were excited to be a part of it.”
Peterman added the company was excited to be involved in the Mini Masters for the Arc Northwest Mississippi.
“For us, it’s nice to be tied to it and to give a little bit back,” Peterman said. “Since it’s right up our alley of being able to clean something up and make it more presentable, and if it lends in any way to the enjoyment of the event, we’re all about it.”
Executive Director Rebecca Treadway of the Arc Northwest Mississippi said they are looking forward to the tournament.
“We are so thankful to Russ Lehman and The Event Benefits for organizing The Mid-South Mini Masters for The Arc Northwest Mississippi,” Treadway said. “It is going to be a fabulous day of fun for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In addition to the fun, a portion of the proceeds from the event will support our Job Readiness Program.”
Lehman is already looking forward to making the Mini Masters more than just a one-time event.
“We’re accepting sponsors for this year and we’re accepting sponsors for next year, as well,” he said.