Boozing on the Back 9: Sour Mash Golf Fundraiser Boosts United Way
Boozing on the Back 9: Sour Mash Golf Fundraiser Boosts United Way

Look for boozing, hooking and shanking aplenty in Parkersburg, W.V. this July: The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley will partner with the Parkersburg Rotary Club in sponsoring the 51st Annual Sour Mash Golf Tournament.

The event kicks off with a performance from golf trick shot artist Josh Kelly, whose combination of acrobatics and tee skills will have participants wondering what, exactly, was in their morning margarita. Don’t take our word for it: watch this five-minute Josh Kelly montage guilt-free while at the office. If it is featured in The NonProfit Times, it’s work-related: https://bit.ly/3FMwZS1

Kelly’s display will be followed by what is listed as a “ceremonial shot” — although whether that means a symbolic drive off a tee or a quick tipple before hitting the links is unclear. It’s possibly both since participant fees include a complimentary beverage area, although as will be the case with other locations, such as the cart service, volunteers will be on hand to collect extra contributions.

After that comes the tournament, in which duffers will hook and slice their way through the course. There’s a break for a cookout lunch (and assumedly, more sour mash or the beverage of their choice) before resuming play on what will likely be a wobbly back nine.

For all of the whisky-inspired wordplay (sour mash is a mixture of previously processed grains used in brewing and distilling new batches of drink) doesn’t the term mash have another tie to the links? A “mashie” was a 19th century golf club with a wooden shaft and an iron head. It was initially used to give backspin to short approach shots, according to Liveabout.com. A few decades of modification turned it into something akin to a modern midiron (a 5 to 7 iron).

A sour mashie, one might surmise, was a club that did not adequately fulfill its duties — because, of course, in golf it is always the tool and never the user. Sour mashies are usually found at the bottom of water hazards.

There’s serious fundraising behind the fun. The tournament raises money for local nonprofits. Previous beneficiaries have included the Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg, the Circles Campaign of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Gabriel Project of the West Virginia/Northern Programs Chapter, the Parkersburg art Center, Westbrook Health Services and Wood County Senior Citizens Association. The mini-grant process that will determine this year’s beneficiaries has not yet been launched.

This year marks the second year in a row the tournament has partnered with United Way. The tournament, which in recent years had raised around $50,000 annually, was canceled in 2020 due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, partly due to the extended reach afforded by its new affiliation, it raised more than $68,000, United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley Executive Director Stacy DeCicco told The NonProfit Times.

Entry fees are $200 per player, or $750 for a foursome. The event sold out in 2021 and is well on its way to doing so again, DiCicco said. As a result, organizers expect to meet, if not exceed, last year’s total through a combination of sponsorships, participation fees, a raffle and other onsite promotions. Additional information is available here: https://www.uwamov.com/sourmash