Playing golf at midnight under sunny skies with long shadows cast across the putting greens is said to be a must have experience among lovers of the links. Thus the famous world renowned Midnight Sun Golf Scramble draws duffers from around the globe according to the events originator Sam Best. The very first Midnight Sun Golf Scramble was held at Birch Ridge some 20 years ago, "We were just talking about that, it coincides with my wife and I's wedding anniversary and the golf tournament is always held on the Saturday closest to the longest day of the year, and we were married on June 22nd and that wasas I say, must be 20 some years ago," recalled Best.
In more recent years Best turned the sponsorship of the popular world famous event over to the Soldotna Rotary Club which dedicates proceeds from the tournament to scholarships and community projects. The blind draw scramble gives teams of all abilities a chance to win cash prizes. The tournament has gained a reputation for going off at night rain or shine, mosquitoes or whitesocks, "It's the experience that counts, and as I say we always have weather so our slogan is if you pay you play," added Best. The 2004 Scramble will be remembered for having perhaps the most perfect weather with sunny skies casting long shadows through the midnight hours of the tournament and just enough breeze to clear insects from the tees. "It was absolutely a perfect night for golf, I played in short sleeves the entire 18," said Darrel Jelsma.
Hole-in-one opportunities to win two cars went unclaimed this year, but the top cash prizes in the 2004 Midnight Sun Scramble went the threesome of Loren Smagge, of Kenai, Dave Llewllyn, of Soldotna, and Sig Casiano, of Kenai coming in at nine under par. Just one stroke back and receiving the runner-up award was the foursome of John and Mary Jo Davis, Mike Reeve and Keaton Andrus. Andrus also won the men's long drive, and Paula Crowley hit the longest women's drive. The coveted red lantern award went to the team of Dave and Jane Stein, and Gordon and Jo Briscoe. "When you're our age, it's just a blessing to be out enjoying a round of golf on a beautiful night," said Jane.
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