Aiken Lions Club holds charity golf tournament to support its mission

·2 min read

Jun. 8—Eye care remains a focal point for the Aiken Lions Club, and the long-established group has also focused on golf at least once a year for decades with help from several golf courses.

Dozens of Lions boosters were on hand June 6 at Houndslake Country Club for the 32nd annual Dick Flynt Golf Outing Lions for Sight — a tournament named for a Lion who decided that local Lions should organize a fundraiser to help neighbors in need of eyeglasses and hearing aids.

This year's tournament winners, in the low gross category, were Bobby Powers, Pat Brennan, Teri Holt and Dale Holt, while Ronnie Salmon, Danny Blair, Billy Widener and Joe Anderson were best in the low net category.

The event drew 28 players and was rescheduled to the June date due to rough weather; the tournament was originally planned for May 23. The 2023 tournament may be held in the fall, with the hope of having more golf-appropriate weather and possibly less conflicts with other local golf fundraisers.

Pat Friday said her organization currently has 29 members, with Susan Selden as president and Friday as her successor (to be installed July 1). The local club dates back to 1935.

"At one time, it was the largest service organization in Aiken County, and then it aged out," Friday said. "They, at one time, had their own clubhouse, up in the north side of town, and then they sold it to a church group."

Meetings are currently held at St. John's United Methodist Church, and there are plenty of like-minded neighbors as Aiken County has four other Lions clubs — Aiken Mid-Day, Jackson, North Augusta and Midland Valley — supporting the ongoing effort to "improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally, and encourage peace and international understanding, as described in the international organization's website.

The club, in keeping with Lions' traditional emphasis on reducing blindness, helps provide new eyeglasses for local residents and "recycled" eyeglasses for foreign outreach throughout the year. Outreach in schools in Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties is also part of the package, and a Leo Club (Lions outreach for teenagers) is in the formative stages at Strom Thurmond High School in Edgefield County. Broom sales (as a fundraiser) are also part of the tradition, and local initiatives also include picking up roadside trash.

The Aiken Lions Club also has at least one offshoot: Aiken Mid-Day Lions Club, established in 1995. That organization is currently led by co-presidents Karen Olsen Edwards and Vicki Burke. Bill Finley, still an active member of the Aiken Lions Club, was the "new" club's sponsor.

This year's golf tournament was bankrolled by such boosters as Aiken Ophthalmology, Bridgestone-Firestone's "big tire" facility, Hibbits Land Excavating, J.E. Stewart Builders and (offering a four-wheeled prize for a hole-in-one) Master Chevrolet.