Weird tourney pushes golfers to extremes

RAPID CITY, S.D. – One of the Black Hills’ most unique golf tournaments got under way Saturday, bringing with it contrasts just like the day’s weather.

A golfer takes on a challenging tee shot on the 10th hole at the Hart Ranch Golf Course. The 10th hole was the start of the "Hell" half of the course during the Heaven and Hell Golf Tournament Saturday. Photo Date: Oct. 27, 2018.

A golfer takes on the 10th tee – the gateway to Hell.

It was the 2018 edition of the Heaven ‘n Hell Golf Tournament at the Hart Ranch Golf Course in Rapid City.

Fifty-three twosomes – the largest turnout in the tourney’s history –  hit the links under warm conditions and light winds Saturday morning. They were playing for prizes of pro shop credit.

For the event, the course is modified to take the players from a golfer’s paradise to their worst nightmare.

Half of the course was set up to be very easy, with hole placement in wide, flat parts of the green, and larger holes. The other half of the course was set up to bewilder and frustrate even the most skilled golfer, featuring tees behind trees and holes placed on some of the steepest grades of the greens.

Around midday, winds gusting to more than 50 mph threw another hazard at the players.

The players took it in stride, though, and golfers like Brianna Arity still had lots of fun.

A player prepares to make a tough putt on the 11th green at Hart Ranch Golf Course during the Heaven and Hell Golf Tournament Saturday. Photo Date: Oct. 27, 2018.

A player prepares for a tough putt on the 11th green.

“[I feel] frustrated,” Arity said. “It’s weird because you do well in the Heaven part, but then you think, well, it doesn’t really count because you’re not teeing off from certain places. You do bad in the Hell part and you think this isn’t real golf because everything’s all messed up, but it’s frustrating, then you get excited, and you get frustrated again.”

And the frustration was worth it. Proceeds from the tournament went to help Working Against Violence, Inc., aka WAVI.

“Our former owner who passed away this year, he likes to give to those types of organizations,” said Jerry Bussler with the Hart Ranch Golf Course. “It’s a very worthwhile cause, and he always felt it was an important cause, so that’s kind of how it started, and it has just grown from there.”

Last year, the tournament raised more than $2,000 for WAVI. Organizers hope to surpass that this year.

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