June 30, 2013

Golf: Kidney program will benefit from a worthy event in Bath

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Cullen Walker of Phippsburg loves golf and also needs a kidney. Having worked on charity golf tournaments in the past, Walker, 43, wanted to combine golf with helping people like himself who are suffering from kidney disease.

The Golfing Fore Kidneys Tournament will be held for the third year on July 27 at the Bath Country Club. Proceeds will support the Maine Medical Center's Kidney Transplant Family Assistance Fund.

The tournament is a scramble, with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.

Walker and his wife, Christine, said the tournament has grown each year. The first year there were 10 teams, last year 14.

"We already have 10 teams signed up and we're a month away," said Christine. "The maximum number of teams we can have is 24. We have a great time."

The deadline to enter was flexible the first two years. They even accepted teams on the day of the tournament last year. That could still happen, but the Walkers have set two days before as the unofficial deadline.

On the tournament flyer it states: "Many people in Maine have kidney disease and need dialysis and or a kidney transplant. We all need healthy kidneys to live, work and play. The cost of dialysis and transplantation are costly for patients and their families."

Walker has been waiting three years for a transplant. He has dialysis three times a week. Kidney disease runs in his family. His father just had a kidney transplant at 70, and his grandfather also had the disease.

"My health is good," said Walker. "I work full-time, spend time with my wife and 6-year-old daughter and play golf as much as possible. I've been involved in other benefit tournaments and always wanted to do something for the Kidney Transplant Program."

Walker worked as the course superintendent at Bath from 1997 to 2000. His health issues and family concerns required him to get a job with regular hours.

"Being a superintendent is not a 9 to 5 job," said Walker.

The tournament is shaping up nicely. Two car dealerships will have hole-in-one holes. There will be a silent auction of Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots merchandise.

The inaugural tournament raised $6,600. Last year, $9,010 was donated.

The Walkers' daughter, Gabrielle, will sell lemonade on one hole with a sign "I want a kidney for my dad."

Entry fee is $85 per person or $425 for a fivesome. Foursomes are also allowed.

To enter contact golfingforekidneys@gmail.com or 837-8061.

"We're hoping for good weather and a good turnout," said Cullen.

TEE TO GREEN: Paul Roy, 76, of Mechanic Falls went 40 years between his first and second holes-in-one. Playing in a Maine Seniors tournament at Augusta Country Club, Roy used a 6-iron to ace the downhill par-3 17th hole.

His first hole-in-one came in 1973 at Poland Spring Golf Course. He was also playing in a tournament that day -- a two-ball, best-ball tournament.

Roy didn't see his latest hole-in-one find the cup. "My eyes aren't that great," he said. But playing partner Larry Faiman did.

"He said 'it's in the hole' and then he looked at me," said Roy.

"I said he was crazy but he said 'I'm telling you, it's in the hole.' I walked down and there it was, in the hole."

Roy's other playing partners were Bill Clifford and Chip Larlee. The group is a regular foursome in the Maine Seniors and members of Martindale in Auburn. ...

(Continued on page 2)

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