'You don't have to be a golfer'

TIM JEAN/Staff photoJack Lancaster, left, and Will Halloran, both 13 and of Haverhill, watch their shots during last year’s Hole-In-One Contest.

Who's thinking about Santa Claus as the final days of summer are hanging on, sometimes giving us some of our best days of the season?

Ted and Mary Murphy, that's who.

As golfers continue enjoying Murphy's Garrison Golf Center into the twilight of summer, the grand ole' couple of golf in Haverhill have their minds on the upcoming Hole-in-One Contest they host each year — and the thousands of dollars it will raise for the Gazette Santa Fund.

The popular contest, which draws golfers from far and wide, is about a month away.

Here are the the details:

Dates: Oct. 9 to 12, Wednesday through Saturday of that week.

Times: 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Where: Murphy's Garrison Golf Center, 654 Hilldale Ave.

How: Participants pay $10 for a bucket of balls and drive them toward a hole 120 yards away. Those with holes-in-one or shots closest to the hole receive prizes.

Winnings: Prizes include golf equipment and gift certificates donated by local businesses.

Putting contest: One person will have a chance to win $5,000.

Money raised: Goes to the Gazette Santa Fund, which each year makes it possible for local people who are struggling financially to enjoy the holidays.

In the nearly half-century since the Murphys began hosting the Hole-in-One Contest, it has raised more than $200,000 for the Santa Fund. This is the 49th year of the contest.

The putting contest is relatively new. In it, all participants will putt from a starting distance of 20 feet. If they sink that putt, they will go on to longer distances. The contest continues until a single participant remains.

That single participant, who either sank a putt longer than other people made or came closer to the pin than anyone else, goes on as the sole finalist to putt for the $5,000 prize. The finalist will putt from 50 feet on the final day of the Hole-in-One Contest. To win the $5,000, the finalist must sink the putt.

Anyone who sinks a 20-foot putt earlier in the event will have their name entered into a raffle, with the winners’ names to be drawn on the last day of the Hole-In-One Contest. First prize in the raffle is $150, second prize is $100 and third is $50.


Mary Murphy said the Hole-in-One Contest is a combination of a charitable event and a social occasion.

"You don't have to be a golfer,'' she said of people who participate. "You can meet up with your friends or see people you haven't seen for a while, and it's for a good cause.''

Students from Haverhill High and Whittier Regional High volunteer each year to work at the contest.


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