John F. Russell: Winter rules apply

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to add the cause benefiting from the golf tournament.

John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

If it happens on a golf course, local pro Tom Taylor probably has seen it.

But when golfer Mary Effinger came to Taylor a few months ago with the idea of hosting a benefit golf tournament, he admits that it was something new — even for the seasoned pro who has hosted more tournaments than the World Series of Poker.

In just a few months, Steamboat Springs will be home to a parade of golf tournaments to raise money for a number of worthy causes. It would be hard to imagine a summer in Steamboat without these tournaments.

It is clear that this tournament isn’t going to be like the rest. There still is 3 feet of snow at Haymaker Golf Course, so golfers will need snowshoes just to make it up and down the fairways, and the golfers will hit tennis balls to increase the chances of finding their tee shots no matter where they land.

Effinger admits that hosting the tournament this time of year is a crazy idea, but in a town where the summers are crowded with benefit golf tournaments, she is hoping this is a fresh idea that will get people out Saturday to support the first Cabin Fever Golf Classic. The event raises money for Holy Name Catholic Church's expansion.

This tournament will be different from other benefit tournaments in Steamboat. It will consist of two regulation holes and seven “skill challenge” holes — including a longest drive contest using a simulator inside the pro shop.

Taylor said he plans to make the two regulation holes a little shorter than normal because carts will not be an option this time around. Winter rules, you know.

But in a town where fundraisers are as common as Subaru Outbacks, this benefit is a change of pace. I’m not sure the event is going to appeal to the normal crowd, but it will be fun to see how the event unfolds and if it has what it takes to become a Steamboat Springs tradition.

The really cool thing about this golf tournament, besides the weather, is that it doesn’t have much to do with golf. It will not matter how far you can drive a golf ball down the fairway or if you can sink that 20-footer to save par. My guess is that the snow will even the playing field and remind the players that the golf season is just around the corner. This tournament is a chance to escape the winter blues and prepares us for the parade of tournaments that will arrive once the snow melts.

The Cabin Fever Golf Classic is Saturday at Haymaker. The $40 individual entry fee includes green fees, lunch and a commemorative long-sleeved T-shirt. Teams of two are $70. Players can sign up at www.cabinfever golf.com.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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