Originally created 04/10/98

Higher prices prompt golf tournament to move



An annual charity golf tournament honoring the late Columbia County Sheriff Otis Hensley will be moved to Lincoln County this year because of higher rates at its former venue.

The Otis L. Hensley Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament -- sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police to benefit a local lodge and the American Cancer Society -- took place at Jones Creek Golf Club in 1997.

"Last year, we didn't bid it out. We just went to Jones Creek," said sheriff's Cpl. Patrick Cullinan, a tournament organizer. "We wanted to keep it in the county."

This year, however, the May 6 tournament will be at Rocky Branch Golf Course in Lincoln County because Jones Creek -- bought in August by a new management company -- raised its prices.

"We sent bids out on it to all the local courses, and Jones Creek went up from $18 per person to about $26 per person," he said. That price would have cut into the event's proceeds, he said.

Rocky Branch Golf Course won the bid -- and the tournament.

"They had low bid and plus it was in the area," he said. "We figured right across the lake is about as close to Columbia County as you can get."

There will be 120 golfers playing at Rocky Branch -- 48 more than at Jones Creek, he said. The lower price and the additional golfers should help the tournament make more money than in 1997.

Law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges are invited to play in the tournament, Cpl. Cullinan said. Entry fees are $40 per person or $120 per team. Slots not filled before Wednesday will be open to individuals not associated with law enforcement.