June 12, 2009
Despite the challenging economic conditions facing the Cape Region and the rest of the state, on May 29 a boisterous group of nearly ninety golfers came out to support a new college scholarship fund that also honors Steve Lett, the outgoing president of Kings Creek Country Club.
Lett and his wife Karen bought a house in Bethany Beach in 1996, and moved to the Cape Region on a full-time basis about seven years ago. The business consultant for the mail-order industry soon became active in club affairs at Kings Creek Country Club. He agreed to finish off the remaining term of a board member in 2002, and a year later was elected club president.
Lett remained in that frequently thankless position for six years, earning a significant amount of goodwill for his extensive and successful efforts to improve the club during that long tenure. The improvements included a new par 3, a major rebuild of the clubhouse, and other enhancements.
As board member Tom Fermoile said, “He’s done so much for the club, that we decided to do something to thank him. He has a passion for youth golf, so we thought that a college scholarship fund would be a good idea.”
Kings Creek’s membership tends to include folks who are accustomed to meeting their goals, and so the Lett’s Play Golf tournament was soon underway.
The tournament format began with a two-best-balls of the foursome, but with a few twists. For example, for any hole any team could also use the scores shot by Lett during the round.
In addition, head golf pro Kevin Wiest carefully measured how close to the hole Lett reached on a longish par 3 (36 feet, as it turned out). Players could then wager on whether they could beat Lett’s performance. If they did, the Men’s Golf Association would match the wager, but if they didn’t the player would pony up.
This one little scam raised over $1,300.
A startling net 107 won the day for the foursome of David Spilman, Drew Romans, Jimmy Fakler, and Keith Engle.
All told, the Tournament raised over $3,350. During the coming year, the club will develop standards for awarding $2,500 to a high school senior going on to college, nominated by a club member. The student must have some connection to golf, but there’s no intent to limit the potential recipients otherwise.
Fermoile said the club intends to continue its fundraising efforts over the rest of the golf season. The eventual goal is to provide a $2,500 scholarship each year for each recipient for four years, which means that the club wants to award a total of $10,000 annually.
During the post-tournament award ceremony, the compliments continued. Wiest expressed his appreciation for Lett, saying “This guys loves this club more than anyone.” Dorrie Spilman, a board vice-president and incoming club president, said, “This is really nice. He’s so dedicated. He had the vision for this place.”
Men’s Golf Association head Chase Brockstedt said that Lett was blessed with “great vision,” and also noted Lett’s “behind the scenes skills” in finding ways to make the club an enjoyable place for its membership. Brockstedt told the crowd that Lett found a way to “change the culture” of the club to make it a welcoming atmosphere for all its members.
In his own remarks to the club, Lett said, “It’s been a privilege. The members have been great. We had some tough times, but people stuck by us.” He noted that 25 different members served on the board during his tenure, and said that the club’s changes had come from “a real team effort. I was just happy to have been part of it,” he said.
Judging from the standing ovation and applause, many of the Kings Creek membership agreed with him.