A few sprinkles and breezy conditions turned into sunshine for the 11th Annual UPS Teeing It Up for Kids to benefit United Way of North Idaho.  Community members, United Way staffers and volunteers gathered the morning of August 6 at the Coeur d’Alene Golf Club for the yearly event.  Mulligan sales at registration were brisk as the final touches were put on the course, goody bags distributed to golf carts, and continental breakfast served in the clubhouse.

During registration and practice, golfers were offered the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets to win one (or more) of 15 raffle items donated by community leaders and businesses.  And, additional mulligans were sold as a reminder that the tournament was all about raising money to prepare children for school.

Golf Professional Brent Walsh and United Way Executive Director Mark Tucker welcomed players and shared opening remarks from the practice putting green. In additional to the scramble tournament play, players have the chance to participate in games and contests offered by hole sponsors Advanced Benefits, Schedler-Mack Insurance, Blacktie-Northwest, Magnuson, McHugh & Co, Mountain West Bank, Teamsters Local 690, Wells Fargo, Architects West, P1FCU and Yonex Golf.

Coming off a successful celebration luncheon just two weeks ago, United Way of North Idaho Executive Director Mark Tucker expected a field of 90+ golfers and net tournament proceeds of $15,000. Funds raised through the tournament support United Way of North Idaho’s “Ready! for Kindergarten” program.  Only 54% of children in Kootenai County enter kindergarten ready to learn.  Nearly half start school behind and rarely have the opportunity catch up.  Low income families often lack resources to help their children keep pace with other learners.

“Ready! for Kindergarten” is a nationally recognized early childhood education program that is offered free to North Idaho families. The program helps parents and caregivers prepare children for a happy and successful school experience by focusing on language and literacy.  The Ready! for Kindergarten program was launched in 2014 and is currently presented in three Kootenai County school districts.

Play began at 8 a.m. with teams from over 20 Coeur d’Alene businesses on the course.  Hecla Mining, celebrating 125 years in business, dominated the course with four teams.  Hecla provided additional games and contests to their employees who participated in the tournament.  Players vied for prizes for first place men, first place mixed and high score.

As play continued and teams finished the first nine holes, golfers had a chance to play for prizes with a putting and chipping contest near the clubhouse.  Rory Burns sunk the winning putt – at last sighting he was on his way to the clubhouse to purchase “celebratory beverages”.

According to Keri Stark, Impact and Agency Relations Coordinator for United Way of North Idaho, the tournament would not be nearly as successful without the longtime partnership with UPS.  UPS has been involved with the tournament since its inception.  Sponsors like UPS ensure that tournament proceeds truly support those who need it most – the Education Impact Area. United Way of North Idaho wishes to thank all of the golf tournament participants, sponsors and volunteers who are helping to build a community that works together to ensure children are ready to enter and succeed in school, and graduate on time.