2020 Lake Wales Golf Scramble Offers Fun Even Amidst COVID
by James Coulter
Howard Drake and his colleagues from Polk State College have been participating in the Lake Wales Golf Scramble for the past eight years. More than simply enjoying a simple game of golf, they especially love the camaraderie with each other and the support they provide to the local community.
Drake and his colleagues support the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce and many of the activities it hosts on behalf of their local community. Being able to do that while enjoying a day on the links is a bonus.
This year’s event proved smaller than in previous years, especially due to COVID-19. However, the weather was nice, and the gameplay was optimal, so a low turnout was hardly a turnoff for any of them.
“It is always important to support the community, and anytime you can have a positive impact on that, we want to be a part of that,” Drake said. “It is fun to be out, and as long as the weather is fine, we are in good shape.”
Drake and his team from Polk State College won first place during the 2020 Lake Wales Golf Scramble, hosted by the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce at the Lake Wales County Club on Friday.
Roughly 18 teams arrived at the country club to test their luck in driving a hole-in-one on the links, as well as to participate in various contests. The day started with lunch at the country club, and ended with a small awards ceremony at the end of the day.
“We were really happy about the overall turnout today,” said Rebecca Klepacki, Vice-Chair of the Chamber Board. “Even with COVID and everything going on, we are appreciative of everyone who came out and supported the chamber.”
Hosting the event during the current COVID-19 crisis proved to be quite a challenge, as this year’s turnout was low. Nevertheless, the golf links proved to be the perfect place for participants to socially-distance themselves.
Overall, the sense of community and camaraderie among board members keeps people coming back time and again, and allows the event to continue being hosted year after year, even during a pandemic.
“I am appreciative of everyone coming out and supporting us and the Chamber,” she said. “We love seeing everyone in person for the first time. Keeping everyone socially distant, but seeing everyone in person was great.”
Robbie Sheilds of Florida Natural has been in the Chamber for the past 40 years. He has been participating with the golf committee for several years. Being among fellow members and having a good time keeps him coming back every year, he said.
“So it is good to see people you have not seen in a while,” he said. “We are excited with how it came out.”
This year’s event proved challenging due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, they did their best to maintain social distancing guidelines and ensure that everyone follows them as safely as possible while having a good time.
Sheilds plans on retiring soon, but even after he retires, he plans to continue participating in this annual event. If anything, retirement will allow him to continue doing what he loves best.
“I believe in the service to our community and I think the chamber has been such a worthy cause,” he said. “It was a great fundraiser [and] a great appearance by everybody.”
1st Place A-Flight ($100 Team): Dr. Media/Polk Sun News
1st Place A-Flight ($200 Team): Polk State College
1st Place B-Flight: Dyer Auto
Putting Contest: Carson Wells
Closest to the Pin (#3): KC Gelger
Closest to the Pin (#12): Philip Daniels
Accurate Drive: Howard Drake
Long Drive: Philip Daniels