Teeing off Fore billboards
Local golfers benefit Four Corners National Monument
By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
KIRTLAND, N.M., August 8, 2013
(Times photo – Sunnie Clahchischiligi)
T he traffic along U.S. Highway 160 near Teec Nos Pos, Ariz., is bombarded with local commuters and tourists sharing the road.
It's one of the major routes crossing the Navajo Nation and a stretch of that highway includes the Four Corners National Monument, which sits west of the highway.
And while most of the locals have visited the site at least once, most tourists speed past the monument, hardly recognizing its existence.
This past weekend a group of golf enthusiasts may have fixed that problem.
Twenty-two golfers, paired into 11 teams, came together to participant in the 2nd annual Four Corners Business Alliance golf tournament fundraiser. The funds raised will be applied to the purchase of two billboards, which will help advertise the monument.
The two-person scramble tournament was held Aug. 3 at Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland, N.M.
Herb Thompson, President for the Alliance, said his organization for the last two years has been trying to raise money for a much needed cause.
"We're missing a lot of the visitors coming in," Thompson said. "The monument is almost in the middle of nowhere, so most of the time they pass the monument."
"As the vendors, we're missing business," he added. "There are really no signs for visitors to see and go there."
Thompson, an avid golfer, decided it was a good way to raise money for the billboards. He said he is looking to get two 8x32 billboards built. One will be located about three-four miles south of the monument along U.S. 160, and another on the Ute Mountain reservation where they will collaborate with the tribe on a duel billboard.
Thompson said the organization raised over $2,220, including $1,100 over the weekend, which is enough to get both billboards up.
Everett Brown, 58, and his son Eric Brown, 37, won the tournament this year. With a combined score of 64, the two decided they wanted to help.
"We decided it was for a good cause," Everett Brown said. "It's kind of nice when you have your son here."
Brown said his son lives in Albuquerque but he made the three-hour trip to team up with him.
The older Brown said they were able to win thanks to their play on the green.
"I think we did pretty good," he said. "Our short game, putting (did it for us)."
There was a $180 entry fee per team. Each team was able to purchase raffle tickets and mulligans. Of the $180 entry fee, $110 went to the pro shop to pay for the top prizes, lunch and golf cart use. The remaining $70 went to the alliance.
The vendors at the monument donated 55 prizes for the raffle tickets.
Thompson added a couple of bonus prizes throughout the course.
On hole No. 2, for instance, players were challenged to hit a hole-in-one. If they made the play they chose a piece of jewelry made by Thompson and his wife Veronica Thompson.
No one won this year's hole-in-one challenge but last year's winner Glynnis Price was looking for a second try.
Price, the only female in the tournament, teamed up with her father Dennis Price.
Glynnis said the jewelry was an incentive to return but she wanted to help out with the cause.
Price said when she has visitors in her home they ask where she gets her Navajo decor and she is quick to tell them about the artists at the monument.
"It's benefiting our people," she said. "I know a lot of the people who sell at Four Corners, so tell them (visitors) to go check it out and buy some stuff."
Price and her father had a combined score of 65, which was one shot over the winning team.
She said the two seemed to have an off day but her long game kept them in the running.
"We struggled all day. The only thing that helped us today was my drive off the tee," she said. "Everywhere I wanted to put it, it was there."
Walt Lee and Daryl James came in third with a score of 68. They were one of three teams in a three-way tie but they won in the scorecard playoff.
The top three finishers received gift certificates to the Riverview Pro Shop. First place winners each received a $55 certificate while second and third go $33 and $22 each, respectively.