Fore!

Generally considered a warning to caddies or other golfers on a golf course, the term takes on a little different meaning in Booneville this weekend.

The Booneville Open Cow Pasture Pool, being held for the fourth time since being revived from a xx-year hiatus, could be as lost as a ball in the woods or the deep rough of a pasture if the tournament cannot attract more golfers in the April 6 and 7 field.

In an effort to help attract more players — the tournament actually has performed pretty well as a fundraiser — the entry fee has been lowered and prize money had been added. The early deadline entry fee was $150 per two man scramble team, $50 lower than a year ago.

That deadline expired Friday so the entry fee is now $175. The tiered level savings did not generate a rush.

"What a lot of people are doing I think is waiting to see what the weather will do," said Stacey McCollough, the executive director at the Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce, the organization sponsoring the tournament.

Rain has been a factor in two of the last three years for the tournament, which is held in a pasture adjacent to the GMF building on Highway 10 west of Booneville.

"One long range forecast shows a pretty good weekend — warm Friday (and) Saturday, and cooler on Sunday," McCollough said on Thursday of last week. "And another one shows a pretty buggery weekend, so?

"Regardless of the weather we’re going to (hold the tournament)."

When tee times are assigned on Friday, McCollough said he expects the number of teams entered to be in the 20s.

The initial return of the tournament in 2010 drew 30 teams. A year later it was down to 27. Last year it was just 20. Last week the numbers were not favorable.

"We’re on pace with last year and I think we’ll get more than that easily, but I don’t know that we’re going to get 30, and 30 was kind of the target I wanted," said McCollough.

Growth, McCollough has previously said, is an absolute necessity.

"That’s the reality because it takes so much effort by so many volunteers to put this on," said McCollough. "I certainly didn’t know how many hours it took and I knew a lot about it and I know that the average person out here doesn’t realize how much it takes to put this on."

"Whether you’re making money on it or not you hate to have that many people involved for so few teams. Those volunteers, part of them are in it to raise money for something, but part of them are doing it because they want to see people have a good time, so you want to see as many as people as you can out enjoying it."

The designated fundraising effort for the tournament this year is to help replace the pedestrian bridge at Marcelle Phillips City Park. That’s a little ironic since the tournament was launched initially as a fundraising effort for the park itself.

The initial Booneville Open Cow Pasture Pool, held in 1982, drew 88 teams the tournament was discontinued due to low participation after 1993 when it drew 31 teams.

Today’s BOCPP has multiple competing factors the original tournament did not face, including having a local golf course and a plethora of tournaments being held on any given weekend. McCollough, however, views that as a plus.

"What I’m trying to get across to people is this is not a course you are going to play every weekend. This is unique," he said. "More unique than about anything else you can do in golf," said McCollough. "It’s a place that you can get out and have a good time with people you don’t see very often."

Other drawbacks have been mentioned

"We’ve had people say if you allow golf carts we’ll be there. Well we’ve allowed golf carts for two years. Where’s the crowd rushing through the door?" said McCollough. "We’ve had people say if you give prize money, we’ll be there. Well, every penny we pay out in prize money reduces the amount of money we have for projects."

If the tournament doesn’t grow it’s fate for 2014 may be sealed about the time tee times are assigned this Friday, McCollough said.

"I think that we’ll do well on the fundraiser part of it because last year we did well," said McCollough. "I don’t know that we’ll do as well this year."

The entry fee for the tournament is good for a practice round on the 12-hole course Friday and both rounds of play, a dinner and dance Saturday night for players and a guest, and the "cow-cutta."