Only at a charity golf tournament can golfers improve their scores with a piece of string.
The 13th Annual Helping Little Hearts Charity and String Golf Tournament on Thursday at Lake of the Woods Golf Course had one big difference from other charity tournaments.
Each team was given a length of string based on the combined age of the team. The youngest team was given the shortest length and the oldest team the longest.
The string could be used to advance the ball by hand to improve the lie or into the hole without counting a stroke. A piece of string equal to the distance the ball was moved was removed from the length the team received.
“The string changes your strategy if you are playing to win,” said Gail Bank, tournament organizer. “It gives the older golfers a better chance.”
Jim Hardin and his wife, Phyllis, used their age to gain an advantage and finish first in Flight B with a 16-under 55.
“Both of us are over 65, so we got our fair share of string,” Hardin said.
Hardin said knowing when to use the string was the biggest part of their strategy.
“We used the string on only three or four holes on the front nine,” Hardin said. “Then we really used a lot of it on the back nine. We were 5-under on the front nine and 11-under on the back. On 16, we had quite a bit of string left so we used it and got a double eagle.”
Gerard Wren and his partner, Leroy Bueshcher, also found the string useful in winning Flight A with a 13-under 58.
“Me and my partner are old so we got a lot of string,” Wren said.
“I think we only had 18 inches left at the end. We had to make a putt on 18 because we didn’t have enough string.”
Bank said that most players keep coming back every year.
“It’s a fun tournament,” Bank said. “We get people who play and they tell their friends about it.”
Wren said he has played in the tournament for seven years and the Hardins played in their third tournament.
“We play in a lot of couples tournaments together,” Hardin said. “We are both retired and we like to travel and play golf.”
Hardins said he didn’t know how they had done in previous tournament because their performance was not important.
“We just go out there for fun,” Hardin said. “It’s for a good cause, we don’t really pay attention to how we do.”
Fifty two-person teams competed in the scramble tournament the Columbia Kiwanis Club’s Golden K Foundation organized.
The tournament benefited the pediatric cardiology ward of the Children’s Hospital at the University of Missouri.
“We hope to raise at least $8,000,” Bank said. “I think we’ll meet that goal.”