The inaugural FORE Ouachita golf tournament was held Oct. 19 at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock with the goal to benefit Ouachita’s public relations effort and financial support.
According to Chris Babb, development officer and alumni director for external affairs, the tournament began as a public relations idea of President Horne’s.
“He wanted a signature event in central Arkansas where we could gather alumni and give them an event to be proud of for Ouachita, and also to introduce new people to Ouachita,” Babb said.
This year the proceeds from the tournament went to athletic scholarships. According to Babb, the tournament proceeds were near the goal of $100,000.
The goal for future events is to grow the tournament into an established Ouachita event. Considering it was the tournament’s inaugural year it had an impressive attendance, with 148 participants on 37 teams.
The event was also sponsored by 26 businesses.
“We had a great group of sponsors who helped us take the lead on this and have a good day,” Babb said.
The teams participating showcased some impressive golf, with the Hoffman-Henry Insurance team winning with 10-under-par in the morning session.
The Capital Business Machine team came in 14-under-par to win the afternoon session. Putting and driving skills challenges were also a part of play.
Many alumni and former athletes participated in the tournament, including tournament co-chairs Marc and Jay Heflin, former tennis players at Ouachita.
The winners were awarded a prize that was both creative and cost-effective.
“The four guys on the winning team pick a sport they want to coach for a day,” Babb said. “They hang out with the coaching staff, get some gear and do pre-game with the team.”
The prizes were won by teams of both alumni and non-alumni.
“The morning winner was a vendor who had no connections with Ouachita,” Babb said. “They’ll come down to campus and have this experience and maybe get connected with the team that they choose. The afternoon group that won was three former basketball players. The goal was to get alumni and non-alumni plugged into the programs.”
Babb considers the tournament a success from both the financial and public relations aspects of the event.
“I think financially it’s going to help,” Babb said. “But also the public relations of having a good event with Ouachita’s name on it is just as good. You can follow up with some of those people who aren’t familiar with Ouachita. We’re getting some good feedback.”
“Any time you can have a fund-raising effort for athletics that is fueled by alumni, it’s a win for both sides,” said Sports Information Director and FORE volunteer Alan Greenwood. “Ouachita has such a great history in athletics, but it’s the relationships that are built and the lives that are changed that bring people back to help aid the university.”