---- — Don’t put away your golf clubs for the winter just yet.
The 43rd annual Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund Hole-in-One Contest begins today at the Garrison Golf Center on Hilldale Ave. in Haverhill.
The contest starts today and runs through Saturday. The schedule, today through Friday, is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday it runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Local businesses have donated many gift certificates and prizes for the event.
To participate, golfers will pay $8 for a bucket of balls and drive them as close as they can to the hole, which is 130 yards away. Each day there will be prizes awarded.
All money raised will go to The Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund, which distributes money through the Salvation Army and Haverhill Community Action.
Money goes to families who otherwise could not afford to buy Christmas gifts for their children.
“In this economy, the holiday season is going to be tough on people,” said Mary Murphy, owner of Garrison Golf Center. “There will be a lot of cutting back, so we just want everyone to get a little something.”
Besides helping needy families, participants will have a chance to win golf equipment and other prizes, based on those that are closest to the hole. Men have to get within three feet of the pin, while women and children have to get within four feet to be eligible for a prize.
Last year there were no aces made, but Ara Aznavoorian was the closest to the pin, coming within 4 inches. Jane Dichard led all women as she hit a shot that came within 16 inches of the hole.
Murphy noted that members of the Key Clubs from Haverhill High School and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School will volunteer at the event this year, as will members of the varsity and junior varsity golf teams at Haverhill High.