By Bill Cantwell
---- — It’s finally here.
The time has come for local golfers to swing away in the annual Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund Hole-in-One Contest.
The 44th annual event began Wednesday and continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week at the popular Garrison Golf Center on Hilldale Avenue.
The contest will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
In its previous 43 years, the contest has raised nearly $200,000. Last year, it raised more than $5,000. The money goes to organizations such as the Salvation Army for distribution to needy families who otherwise would go without gifts for their children during the holiday season.
The contest raises money through participants paying $8 for a bucket of balls, which they drive toward a hole 125 yards away. Those landing closest to the pin win prizes donated by local businesses and individuals. The prizes include golf equipment and gift certificates to local restaurants.
Garrison Golf owners Ted and Mary Murphy and their family have been running the contest for decades. The event has many volunteers, including members of the Haverhill High Golf Team, which is coached by the Murphys’ son Kevin Murphy; and members of the Key Clubs at Haverhill High and Whittier Regional High.
Next week’s Gazette will have full coverage of the contest in stories and photos.
IF YOU GO
What: 44th annual Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund Hole-in-One Contest
Where: Garrison Golf Center, 654 Hilldale Ave.
When: Thursday and Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To participate: A bucket of balls costs $8. Proceeds go to needy local families to help them during the holidays.
Prizes: Participants hitting balls closest to the pin win prizes, including golf equipment and gift certificates to restaurants.