Originally created 12/26/05

Goshen chips in for local charities



Most area golf courses were closed Christmas Day. Not Goshen Plantation Golf Club, which gave the area a generous present.

As a token of appreciation, golfers gladly helped the course support two worthwhile causes.

There was free golf, with carts, on the second annual Barney Adams Family Golf Day at the south Augusta course.

Golfers could make donations to the CASA Child Advocacy Group and Young Life.

A total of 101 golfers took advantage of the golf giveaway on a Sunday when normal green and cart fees would have been $39.

A jar for donations on the counter in the pro shop was overflowing by the end of the day. It totaled $1,230, which will be split by the two charities.

"It's nothing special; it's what you're supposed to do," said Goshen head pro and co-owner Spike Kelley, who came up with the "free golf on Christmas" idea.

"One thing I'm not interested in is (personal) accolades," said Kelley, who also worked Sunday. "No one wants a pat on the back. You should never get a pat on the back for doing something your supposed to do.

"I'm interested in seeing that abused children have a better Christmas," Kelley said. "It's not just me, but all the volunteers."

Kelley said all of his regular Sunday employees - 12 in all - worked Christmas Day without pay.

Even the tips received in the snack bar were donated to the two charities.

Augusta golfer John McCormick donated $30 in the pro shop before he teed off Sunday.

"Anytime people can get together and donate to a good cause, it's great for the community and golf," McCormick said. "Golf has proven that over the years. The guys who play golf are generally the most generous when it comes to other people.

"I think it's a great thing, especially on Christmas," McCormick said. "A lot of people don't have what we have. It's a worthwhile cause. I saw the ad in the paper and I said 'let's go play.' "

On Christmas morning, Mark Oland of Evans remembered seeing the newspaper ad for free golf at Goshen and decided to call the course.

"The kids had opened all the presents, it was a nice day so I said, 'I'm going to call and see.'"

Oland was told to come out, and his group was worked in.

"I liked the idea that it was open," Oland said. "The fact is was free for a small donation was kind of a bonus."

When Kelley came up with the idea of the free Christmas Day golf, donations were not part of the plan.

Adele Reddell, who is Kelley's fiance, changed his mind.

"It was her inspiration," Kelley said. "She said golfers would want to donate, so give them a way to do it. She said nobody expects to play for free."

"When I was living in Texas, I did a lot of volunteer work for child advocacy," Reddell said. "So we sat there and we were talking about opening for Christmas Day and I mentioned that we should take in some donations."

Reddell did her part, working in the snack bar all day Sunday.

"It's not a sacrifice at all," Reddell said. "If you've ever gone in there and just visited the child enrichment center, you would probably walk out of there and leave a check yourself."

Reddell's daughter, Jill, who is a sophomore at Rutgers, helped her mother behind the snack bar counter.

"When I told my friends at school what I was doing on Christmas, they were like, 'Why are you doing that?' and then they thought it was really generous," Jill Reddell said. "I love doing charity work. It makes you feel good."

After last year's inaugural free golf day on Christmas at Goshen, an article about it appeared in a national trade magazine.

"I had six pros call me from New Jersey, California, North Carolina and Michigan, Florida and Texas," Kelley said. "They asked me how we did it and said they were going to do it this year. There are probably 10 others that didn't call that are doing it. I bet there were 500 to 2,000 rounds affected by this."

Kelley is committed to doing this every year.

"In five or 10 years, this will be a big deal," he said.

"We hope for it to grow so we can give more money to the charities," Adele Reddell said. "They need all the funds they can get."

Kelley named the free golf day in honor of Adams, the founder/president of Adams Golf, and the man who designed the popular Tight Lies fairway woods that hit the market in 1996.

Kelley has known Adams since 1969, when they were regular playing partners at Shawnee Country Club in Shawnee, Okla.

"He always said a golf course should be open all the time to avoid confusion," Kelley said. "He said you need to come early and stay late. You need to always be there so your customer never has to worry about you being open. He loves that work ethic."

Goshen has been open 365 days a year since Kelley and his partner, Richard Finley, bought it in 2001.

"That's the reason we're open on Christmas Day and we call it the Barney Adams Family Golf Day ... because he's making me work on Christmas Day," Kelley joked.

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.