Young Life golf tourney in Craig raises nearly $6,000 |

Young Life golf tourney in Craig raises nearly $6,000

Aaron Knack tees off on the sixth hole Friday during the fourth annual Bear River Young Life Golf Tournament at Yampa Valley Golf Course. The tournament brought in 18 teams and raised about $6,000 to help send Young Life members to summer camps.

Heading toward the third hole Friday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, Brett Etzler and his four-member team showed no signs of fatigue.

Along with friends Scott Kitchen and John and Angela Doane, Etzler was making his third trip to the par 4 as part of a marathon team during the fourth annual Bear River Young Life Golf Tournament.

The team, along with two other marathon teams, raised money through sponsorships and playing 54 holes Friday.

Etzler, owner of Carelli's Pizzeria & Pasta and a former golf course professional, said his group wanted to support Young Life, a Christian ministry group.

"We are happy we could come out and generate a little revenue for the kids," he said. "I haven't played 54 holes of golf all summer, so I might as well get it all in on one day."

Etzler said the group started the first round at 7:30 a.m., and each round took an average of two-and-a-half hours.

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By posting sign-up sheets in his restaurant, Etzler said the group raised about $1,500 for Young Life.

While he has played golf most of his life, he said 54 holes in a day is challenging.

"It can be exhausting and you have to stay hydrated," he said. "But, it has been great and a lot of fun to be on the course all day."

The three marathon teams joined 15 other four-person teams in support of Young Life.

Area director David Pressgrove said the tournament changed from its previous Saturday slot in past years to a Friday afternoon slot this year.

"For a Friday afternoon, I think we did pretty well with the amount of teams we have," he said. "We are happy with everyone that came out to support us."

Pressgrove said the tournament raised nearly $6,000, which will help pay for Young Life members to attend summer camps.

Friday's format wasn't the usual four-person scramble, however. Several holes featured added games, from drunk goggles on the fourth hole to spinning on a club on the sixth hole and getting to pie a teammate in the face on the ninth hole.

By hitting his first putt on the ninth, Sam Marquez, of Craig, chose to pie his friend and teammate, Don Smith.

"I sank about an 8-foot putt and it felt great to pie (Smith) in the face," Marquez said. "There has been a lot of pressure all week at work, so to come out here and hit a friend with a pie felt good."

Smith, however, said it wasn't as bad as it sounded.

"It actually had my favorite kind of whipped cream," he said of the pie. "It was cool and refreshing, and tasted pretty good."

Dan Rabon, originally of Castle Rock but currently living in Craig, participated in both the drunk goggles, provided by the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, and the spinning around on a club.

Of the two, Rabon said the goggles were easier.

"I was able to drive to the green with the goggles on by pure luck, but I just didn't think about it and focused on my swing," he said. "The putting after spinning was harder because I was really dizzy and I couldn't hardly stand up straight. I had no depth perception and was confused where to hit the ball, so I just had to hope I hit it in the right direction."

Chuck Grobe, of Craig, said he has been donating money every month to Young Life since the organization was founded in 1993 in the Yampa Valley.

"My wife, Julie, and I have always been supporters of Young Life in Hayden and Craig," Grobe said. "It is a unique group that reaches out to people in schools and teaches them about Jesus Christ through activities and having fun.

"(Young Life) doesn't share the gospel in the normal way, but it works."

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