'We are simply following in dad's footsteps'
In only its sixth year, The Oliphant Community Golf Tournament has become a staple of both the golf and charity communities in Lake Oswego.
On June 29, I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in this great event which raises money for local organizations like LO Meals on Wheels, the LO Transition Shelter Ministry and the Mobility Impaired Golf Association.
Each year, founder and organizer Beth Hoover — daughter of the late Doug Oliphant whose legacy and namesake the tournament carries forward — finds ways to make the event bigger and better than the year before.
"For over 45 years, my dad brought positive qualities and attitudes to his community service and the FORES golfing group. As a nonprofit, our mission is to share and shine those positive attributes in The Oliphant charity tournament, Lake Oswego charities we benefit and community at large," Hoover said. "I believe that The Oliphant is growing because of dad's legacy of joy, hospitality and embrace of the total community. We are simply following in dad's footsteps and making sure that everyone, including sponsors, golfers and volunteers, feel welcome and sincerely appreciated."
This year 96 golfers took to the LO Public Golf Course on a beautiful summer morning for an 18-hole round that serves more as a community-building event than you're typical stuffy golf tournament. The Oliphant is all about having a good time, as well as connecting friends both old and new. It's a testament to the impact that Doug Oliphant had on the Lake Oswego community, as a former president of the LO Chamber of Commerce, businessman, activist and community organizer. It was Oliphant who pushed for the Village Flower Basket Program to come to Lake Oswego, a tradition that carries on to this day.
Around 8 a.m. — as the trees cast long, angular shadows across the perfectly manicured grass melting away the morning dew — golfers clambered out of their vehicles, laced up their cleats and readied their golf bags in anticipation of the days fun.
I was lucky enough to be able to recruit two friends, Mitch Mellen and Anthony Garbarino, to play in the tournament with me. My strategy was to find two solid golfers in order to mask my inadequacies from the tee box... and short game and on the green. Okay, so I'm not a good golfer, but what I lack in skill I make up for in bad golf jokes and enthusiasm.
As we settled in, grabbed a quick beer and hit a few balls at the range, we gathered with the rest of the crowd near the clubhouse to hear a quick presentation from Hoover and course professional Tom Mueller who outlined the rules and introduced us to those who the tournament's proceeds would benefit.
It was here that we got to meet two of the athletes from the Mobility Impaired Golf Association (MIGA), and their families spoke about how the game of golf not only provided an outlet for physical activity, but also a bridge to building self-confidence and connecting with others over a shared passion for the game.
It's organizations like MIGA, LO Transitional Shelter Ministry, LO Meals on Wheels that are out in the community doing work that makes the world a better place and brings together people from a variety of different backgrounds. Hearing about their missions and how The Oliphant is able to support them set an appreciative tone that lasted throughout the day, no matter how bad my golf swing was.
I look forward to coming back next year, and the year after, to participate in this glorious celebration of a beloved community member whom although I never had the chance to meet him, I feel like I've seen his legacy and been a part of remembering what he and his family continue to give to Lake Oswego.
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