RAYMOND, Maine — Golfers who think 18 holes on a midsummer day is a challenge may want to try teeing off in the Camp Agawam Golf Marathon.
The marathon is a daylong fundraiser where 25 golfers set out to play 100 holes each at Fairlawn Golf and Country Club in Poland to support funding for camperships at Agawam.
“It’s a grueling experience,” said Dave Griffiths, a volunteer at Agawam and a marathon participant. “You’re really feeling that 100 holes once you get off the course, but you feel as though you earned the donations.”
The goal for golfers is to play 100 holes and raise money in the form of per-hole pledges or donations upon arrival at the course. This year’s marathon begins at 7 a.m. Thursday, Aug 16.
The idea for the unique tournament originated from the camp’s board of directors, according to Agawam’s director of development and programs Mike Bensen.
“This is a way for us to reach out to a broader community,” said Bensen. “Being golfers, the board thought that playing 100 holes would be a great hook and spread the word about the great things we are doing.”
Over the last 15 years, the fundraiser has been able to raise approximately $650,000 from the marathon, an average of $60,000 each year, which supports six camperships for boys who are unable to afford the camp.
“The whole thing has been very successful with people returning year after year,” said Bensen. “There’s just a lot of good energy and support produced from the tournament.”
The variety of participants is another factor in the success of the event, as the players’ skill level has no meaning in raising money for the camp.
“It certainly doesn’t require any golf skill, otherwise I wouldn’t be there,” quipped Griffiths. “Nobody is really keeping score and we just go out there and hit the ball for a great cause.”
“There are a full range of abilities out here playing for one great cause and watching it all unfold is quite the sight,” added Bensen, who will be participating in his sixth marathon.
While the tournament may seem like a difficult task, Bensen says the cause is what makes it bearable.
“It’s an easy thing for me to sell to the community,” he said. “Playing to support these boys and knowing the impact we can have is just a thrill.”
“I’ve heard about golf tournaments raising $10,000-$15,000 for a cause, but this is huge,” added Griffiths. “It’s gotten to be quite the tradition and I can see it being around for a long time.”
An awards ceremony and pig roast are held at the end of the marathon. Players registration, donations and per-hole pledges can be done online at h ttp://golfmarathon.campagawam.org/agawam.