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Frostbite Open to test golfers at Presque Isle

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By Erie Times-news
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

On ice or on sand, golf balls will roll on Feb. 17 at Presque Isle State Park.

The third annual Joe Root's Frostbite Open will again offer golfers a chance to swing away in winter while raising money for a park project. Organizers hope this year's nine-hole event will be back on frozen Presque Isle Bay after a move to the beach in 2012 because of lack of ice.

“The plan is always to do it on a frozen bay provided we have a frozen bay to do it on,” said Steve McDermott, executive director of the Presque Isle Partnership.

The weather adds to the fun, said Elmer Keisel, who described the 2012 course as “the biggest sand trap ever.”

Keisel, owner of Joe Root's Grill, suggested the fundraiser, which is organized with the nonprofit partnership.

Volunteers will set up nine holes, on bay or beach, ranging from 75 to 150 yards. Golfers will check in at the Stull Interpretive Center and then head to the peninsula's bay or lake side, depending on conditions.

Teams of golfers will tee off from mats every eight minutes. Holes will be carpeted, with cups to keep balls from falling through the ice if the course is on the frozen bay.

Golfers, who will pay $260 for a foursome, can obtain a team registration form on the partnership's website at www.discoverpi.com and should take the completed form to the restaurant, 2826 W. Eighth St.

In return for the fee, participants will get to play nine holes and will receive Yaktrax to help them stay on their feet, three golf balls, a Frostbite Open gift and a free dinner that day at Joe Root's Grill, organizers said.

“We're going to have a great meal after the event,” Keisel said.

He said his restaurant donates the meal and does the golf tournament as a way to give back to the park and the community. The grill, named for a hermit who lived on the peninsula before it became a state park, gets a lot of its business from Presque Isle visitors, Keisel said.

Proceeds from the first two Frostbite Opens, which raised about $3,300 and about $8,900, respectively, helped construct a turtle observation deck overlooking the park's Graveyard Pond. McDermott said this year's fundraiser, which has a goal similar to the 2012 total, will raise money for a paved area at the deck.

“Hopefully this is going to finish it off,” he said.

McDermott said organizers would like to sign up 150 to 200 golfers this year. If too many sign up, the final few participants will be chosen in a putt-off scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the restaurant.

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