A big addition is coming to Mountain Education Foundation's annual golf tournament this year - a giant crane dropping up to 4,000 numbered golf balls onto the range. Each ball is numbered to correspond with raffle tickets available for $5 each, offering the purchaser a chance to win a total of $2,100 in prizes.
"We're trying to do something a little bit fun to keep it interesting," said MEF Executive Director Mike Taylor of the Great Golf Ball Drop. "It gives folks a chance to win some prizes and raise some money for the schools."
The ticket holder whose ball comes closest to the hole will receive $1,000, and $500 will go to the owner of the second closest ball. The ticket holder of the third closest ball will win a set of irons or drivers, and the ball that lands farthest away will garner a $100 prize for its owner, said Taylor.
This is the fourth consecutive year for the MEF golf tournament, which will be held at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club Monday, April 30.
Taylor said MEF will continue to register four-person teams while space remains. Participants have the option to sign up for either the 8 a.m. morning round or 1 p.m. afternoon round for $500 per team, which includes lunch and dinner provided by Signal Mountain restaurants.
"Afternoon is the coveted spot," he said. "If interested, call and hold a spot, because they're going fast."
Sponsor Volkswagen of Chattanooga is providing the tournament's hole-in-one prize.
"If anyone makes a hole in one, they can drive away in a brand new Volkswagen Passat," Taylor said.
Money raised at the event will help MEF reach its fundraising goal for the year, allowing the organization to continue to provide for a variety of needs at mountain schools, such as paying the computer teacher's salary at Signal Mountain Middle/High School, said Taylor.
Finger foods will be served to participants beginning at 5:30 p.m. before the Great Golf Ball Drop at 5:45, which will be followed by a reception dinner for tournament participants in either round.
Presence at the Great Golf Ball Drop is not required to win prizes. Tickets can be purchased at Accents, Cutting Corners Framing and Gifts, Signal Mountain Athletic Club and Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club, or by calling MEF at 517-0772.
One must be at least 18 years old to purchase a ticket for the Great Golf Ball Drop, a charitable gaming event for which MEF had to acquire a permit from the state of Tennessee, said Taylor. The permit allows MEF to conduct an event of this kind just once a year, and he said the organization plans to make the ball drop an annual event.
Contact MEF at 517-0772 to register for the tournament or to purchase a raffle ticket for the golf ball drop.