By Bill Cantwell
---- — It’s time.
Next week, local golfers can take their swings at one of their favorite events of the year — the annual Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund Hole-in-One Contest.
The 44th annual event will be Oct. 9 through 12 at the popular Garrison Golf Center on Hilldale Avenue.
This year’s contest will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
In its previous 43 years, the contest has raised nearly $200,000. 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.
Last year, the contest raised more than $5,000.
It 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 for 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.
IF YOU GO
What: 44th annual Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund Hole-in-One Contest
Where: Garrison Golf Center, 654 Hilldale Ave.
When: Oct. 9, 10 and 11 from 4 to 8 p.m.; and Oct. 12 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.