WEST JEFFERSON — The 39th Annual Ashe Shrine Club Golf Tournament was held Sunday, Sept. 20, at Mountain Aire Golf Course.

The tournament is held on the third weekend of September each year and is a fundraiser for Ashe Shrine Club. This was an 18 Hole Stroke Play Competition with an entry fee of $60. Players were able to arrange their own Foursomes prior to playing.

The Annual Ashe Shrine Golf Tournament has been held at Mountain Aire Golf Course since its inception, with course manager Philip Shepherd graciously providing assistance for the event.

Shriners Hospitals for Children was founded in 1922 and is a network of 22 non-profit medical facilities across North America. Children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services regardless of ability to pay.

Ashe Shrine Club President John Brown said he is wowed by the generosity of Ashe County during fundraising events. Brown said none of it would be possible without the support of the Shepherd and Hagel families, corporate sponsors and players.

Ken Blevins, who is a past president of Ashe Shrine Club and director of the tournament, said the tournament and other fundraisers are about having fun and taking care of what they need to as Shriners.

Blevins said being a Shriner it is about dedication and a great desire to take care things that need to be taken care of when it comes to children experiencing health challenges.

Blevins spoke about the inclusive nature of the tournament as both men and women, young and old come out to participate.

There were a few changes at the tournament due to COVID-19 regulations and social distancing guidelines. In previous years, two large tents were set up for people to sign in. The two shotgun starts which typically take place at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. which included a prayer and photo opportunities for players did not take place this year.

According to Brown, in previous years Lady Shriners would prepare the meal for the tournament featuring home-cooked meals or cookout items. This year, the Boondocks Brewing Craft Kitchen food truck provided food for tournament participants.

The number of participants in the tournament also increased, with nearly 160 players registered for the day.

According to Brown, the game of golf has increased in popularity worldwide during the pandemic since it is played outdoors and allows for adequate social distancing.

“I love it, I enjoy it. It’s not about me it is about the kids,” Brown said.”Worldwide, it is an amazing organization.”

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