BELLA VISTA — The Bella Vista Putt Savers started 27 years ago and is bigger and better than ever.
What began with four women golfers in 1994 has turned into a group of more than 100 who play year-round, weekly rounds of golf to have fun and raise money for local organizations in the process.
“It started out being the Southern Ladies playing on Thursdays and the Winter Ladies playing on Mondays,” said Kaye Pedziwater, one of two facilitators for the group. “We then combined the groups into the Putt Savers.”
So, what exactly is a Putt Saver?
“Our rules are very simple,” Pedziwater said. “You play your own game until you get to the green.”
That’s when the fun — and money-raising — begins.
“If it takes you one or two putts, then great,” she said. “If it takes you three putts, then you owe a dime. Four or more putts and you owe a quarter. You also get one free mulligan and can pay a dollar for another.”
All money collected each week is saved throughout the year and then donated to local organizations. The group raised $600 in 2020 and equally divided it between the Bella Vista Animal Shelter, the Bella Vista Library, the Bella Vista Historical Museum and the Courtesy Van program.
Throughout the years, the group has raised and donated “well over” $6,000, Pedziwater said,
“Every time we give the money, we get a great response, lovely letters and thank yous,” she said. “It’s really nice.”
Ann Clark and Sue Kelly have helped the group grow over the years since its inception. Pedziwater, who is currently a co-facilitator with Mary Henning, took a leadership role with the group in 2010.
Each week an email gets sent out to the golfers, seeing who is going to play for that particular week. Some golfers play nine holes, others play 18.
“The [POA] golf office gives us a schedule for the season, telling us which course and what time for each week,” Pedziwater said. “We play all the courses.
“We have some ladies who go away for the winter, some go away for the summer so our lists will fluctuate.”
While covid-19 has forced the group to be cautious when it comes to interacting; it hasn’t affected participation. In fact, Pedziwater said, she thinks golfers are more eager to get out of the house and get some exercise in these days.
Freezing temperatures did force the group to cancel last week’s round at Dogwood Golf Course, but that’s unusual, she said.
“We have always kind of had an unwritten rule that if it’s under 45 degrees, we don’t play,” Pedziwater said. “This year we have a bunch of hearty souls. So, if it’s sunny, we’re usually going to play.”
Pedziwater said anyone interested in joining the group should contact the main POA golf office at Bella Vista Country Club.
“The golf courses have been fantastic during all of this,” she said. “They’ve kept everything open and we all have our own carts. We all wear a mask until we get ready to tee off; after that, we are outside so we can spread out.”
— to www.nwaonline.com