Creator of the Internationally famous Midnight Sun Golf Tournament Sam Best leans on the prize for a hole in one.
While much of the lower 48 suffered the summer solstice with triple digit temperatures, the Kenai Peninsula remained wet, cool and cloudy, just right for the world famous Midnight Sun Golf Tournament at Birch Ridge Golf Course. “This is the only place you can play golf in the middle of the night and support a great charity like Rotary,” said the creator of the classic tournament, Sam Best. According to Best, about 21 years ago at his wedding reception at Birch Ridge he decided play a round of golf, “It was so unique and different we thought that we’d celebrate our anniversary each year by sponsoring a midnight sun golf scramble and that way I never forget my anniversary,” said Best.
Darrell Jelsma tees off during Alaska's midnight sun golf tournament.
The tournament became such a success that players from all over the world started coming to play golf at night in the daylight, so Best decided to turn the event over to the Soldotna Rotary Club as a fund raiser, “They’ve been doing it ever since, and I get to drive the new cars around and check for the hole in one winners.” Last year Best almost had the opportunity of presenting the keys to a brand new Buick to a participant from Anchorage, “Our spotter came running in here to report there had been a hole in one so I got in the cart and headed over there with the keys, but shortly after we reached the team we learned that the guy had taken a mulligan shot and his second shot was the hole in one,” remembered Best.
Charlie Weimer hooks one into the trees during the internationally famous Best/Rotary Midnight Sun Golf Tournament.
This year once again the cars, complements of Glacier Pontiac Buick, were parked at Birch Ridge ready to be driven home by any midnight sun golfer who hit a hole in one, but once again Best kept the keys in his pocket. This year’s tournament champions and Midnight Sun Tour leader bragging rights went to the local team of Tom and Tanya Boedeker, Scott Kemp and Pete Sprague, coming in with a team total of 61 or nine under par. Next in at seven under was the team of Davis, Davis, Herring and Herring. At the Best/Rotary Midnight Sun Scramble participants are allowed to play with their wives. Winning the men’s long drive was George Stein and for the ladies Tanya Boedeker had the long hit. Over all eleven teams competed in this year’s classic according to Best.
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