By: Garrett Mitchell, Staff Writer
Legends never die, and the 11th annual W.L. Varner Memorial Golf Tournament, set to take place on Wednesday, July 15, has been a decade-long tradition in ensuring Woodruff’s legendary coach lives on with a legacy passed down to a new generation of Wolverines.
For 10 years the tournament has served to support the Woodruff high school football program that Varner, who coached the Wolverines from 1954-1996, turned into one of the state’s preeminent dynasties with 10 state championships.
Tournament director, Woodruff defensive coordinator Brian Mahan, said that first and foremost, the W.L. Varner Memorial Golf Tournament is a way to support the program that Varner not only built, but loved so dearly.
“The tournament is one of our biggest fundraisers for the program,” said Mahan. “I never had the opportunity to meet Coach Varner when I started coaching in South Carolina, but his impact for making sure the players were taken care of is still very much felt today and this tournament is one way we can keep that aspect of Coach’s impact alive.”
Even with the threat of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still at the forefront of everyone’s concern, Mahan said that planning the logistics of this year’s event have unfolded seamlessly, with a decline in sponsorship due to the current economic impacts of the pandemic being the largest hurdle to overcome.
“The logistics have been very easy to be honest,” he said. “[The tournament] is in the eleventh year so that part of getting dates at Three Pines Country Club and the meals just gets easier thanks to our supporters in that area. Getting hole sponsors and donors has been very difficult because of the economic impact of the pandemic. That part we knew was probably going to decline a bit this year but we are still hopeful more will be able to be a part of the tournament.”
Tee time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Three Pines Country Club with lunch served at 12 p.m. The tournament is a four-man, captain’s choice format with a $60 entry fee per player or $240 per team. Each package includes green and cart fees, refreshments on the course, lunch before and awards dinner after the tournament, and door prizes.
All proceeds from the tournament go directly to support the Woodruff high school football program, helping cover expenses in areas such as camps, pre-game meals, passing league tournaments and equipment needs.
“To date there have been 10 teams that have committed to play,” said Mahan. “Ideally you would like to have 20-22 teams and I believe last year we had 17. It would be great if we could have that same number again.”
Even for those not wishing to play, Mahan said there are still multiple ways to support the tournament and the Woodruff football program.
“If some are not interested in playing, we have four levels of sponsorship they could do for the tournament,” he added. “The Wolverine Donor at $1000, Maroon and Gold at $600, and both get you a team sponsorship and hole sponsorship. Then we have a team sponsorship at $400 which also gets you a hole sponsorship, and then the $125-hole sponsorship. Some just want to donate smaller amounts or maybe raffle prizes for the participants.”
For anyone interested in playing in this year’s tournament or contributing financially, Brian Mahan can be contacted at email@example.com or Woodruff head football coach Bradley Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information.