ELKHART — Temperatures are back on the rise, and Elkhart residents can emerge from their dens and go back outside again.
What better way to celebrate than a round of golf on Simonton Lake?
More than 120 people are bundling up and shuffling onto the frozen surface of Simonton Lake for an 18-hole tournament Saturday, Feb. 1.
The typically annual golf outing has been on hold since 2011 after unusually warm winters in 2012 and 2013 forced the event to be canceled. Event organizer Cam Snyder faced the opposite problem this year. The tournament was initially scheduled for last weekend but was postponed due to the frigid temperatures.
Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard Golfer Nick Sandefur uses a little body english as he putts on the frozen 8th green at the Simonton Lake ice golf tournament Saturday, January 30, 2010. Diehard golf enthusiasts who just can't wait until spring to hit the links were able to get a fix using tennis balls and shallow holes in the ice.|106343 (JENNIFER SHEPHARD)
"It's a long, cold winter in Northern Indiana and it gives us something to do, something to look forward to," Snyder said. "It's a reason to get out and enjoy the lake while it's frozen at the same time, raise a little money for the (Simonton Lake) Sportsmen's Club."
The event started as a small gathering of 60 people shooting six holes and has since grown over the past seven years to include the full 18 holes — the 19th being the post-tournament stop at The Flippin Cow burger joint, Snyder added — and 144 participants.
A group of ice golfers playing in the ice golf tournament on Simonton Lake celebrate their teammates put Saturday, January 29, 2011.(Truth Photo by Adrienne Barnett)|122555 (AP)
Snyder and other organizers make sure the surface of the lake is at least a foot thick, then drills six-inch holes into the ice, build greens and landscapes the area with recycled Christmas trees to give the event a "true golf course" feel. All proceeds for the event go to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club.
"It's all about bringing together a lot of people together on a chilly, chilly weekend in the middle of the winter," Snyder said. "Support the community and bring them together."
Interested in golfing on the ice? There's still time. The tournament will register up to 144 participants. The cost is $50 per golfer for a four-person team. Check in begins at 10 a.m., and the shotgun start begins at noon.
To sign up, email Snyder at email@example.com or contact the Flippin Cow restaurant
at 266-0606. Participants must use a PGA-regulated golf club.