Golf tournament about to tee off

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MEXICO – At 9 a.m. sharp on Tuesday, 72 golfers will tee off at the Oakdale Country Club to help the charities of two local organizations.

This is the fifth anniversary of the event, said tournament chairman Rich Allen, who has put the tournament together for the Rumford/Mexico Rotary Club and River Valley Chamber of Commerce since its beginning.

Allen, a member of the Rumford/Mexico Rotary Club and an avid golfer, said money raised by the annual event – about $8,000 after expenses – has provided dozens of scholarships for local students and benefited promotion of the area.

“The first year was the hardest, but since then, about 90 percent of the golfers come back,” he said.

Eighteen teams of four people each participate in the event. He said there are a few remaining spots for anyone who wants to take part, rain or shine.

The country club, in business since 1923, has nine holes and sits on 35 acres dotted with oaks and other trees, a stream and flowers. It was once a working farm, said golfer Marshall Todd.

Todd, who has been golfing since 1960, said the original club house was located in the old farmhouse. About 30 years ago, the current club house was built.

Carol Mitchell, club manager, said the then Oxford Paper Co. played a huge role in the establishment and construction of the course, including paying its employees to build it.

Now it is member-owned and operated, she said.

Fred Shardlow, superintendent of Oakdale, said the name has remained the same for all of its 84-year history. He said two or three families were likely the major sponsors in establishing the club, including the family of former mill owner Hugh Chisholm. The course is open to the public from April until the end of October.

Allen said about 18 people volunteer their time during the tournament. Prizes are awarded to participants for golfing feats such as getting a hole-in-one at a specified hole.

Individuals pay $50 to take part in the tournament, but most teams also serve as sponsors and pay a bit more to play. The major sponsor is Franklin County Savings Bank.

The tournament takes about six hours, followed by a banquet and awards ceremony.

It is the local Rotary Club’s largest fundraiser, said Allen.

“The Oakdale Country Club is a gem. It’s a very nice nine-hole golf course,” he said.

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