Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Elkhart resident Robbie Stockman, front, retrieves his ball from Simonton Lake after sinking a putt as "groundskeeper" Brian Schinabarger, back, stands by with a shovel as they play in the annual Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Gary Wetzel takes a big swing off the tee, but misses the ball as he starts a hole during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Jimmy Hettmansperger, front, watches his tee shot in flight during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

A foursome pulling a sled with clubs and equipment walks to the next shot during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Golfers play a round of golf on Simonton Lake, which was covered in several inches of snow during the Ice Golf tourney Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Jim Troyer from Ft. Myers, Florida follows through on a drive from the tee during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. Troyer played the round in shorts. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Jim Troyer from Ft. Myers, Florida shows his enthusiasm for his tee shot during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. Troyer played the round in shorts. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Cam Snyder throws a blast of snow forward as he hits with a driver during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Gary Sieber, right, pulls an equipment sled as John Wright follows behind during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

John Wright adds his bag to the equipment sled as he plays golf with friends during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

John Wright, left, enjoys a cigar as Gary Sieber, right, stays hydrated as they play golf with friends during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

A group waits on the ice under a skull and crossbones flag to play through during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

A marker for hole 2 indicates it is a par 4 and 190 snowballs at the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

A tennis ball rests on a snow and ice covered Simonton Lake during the Ice Golf tourney at Simonton Lake Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Well over 100 golfers played in the 18-hole tournament with proceeds going to the Simonton Lake Sportsmen's Club. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)
Frozen Simonton Lake transforms into 13-hole golf course
Posted on Feb. 1, 2014 at 5:13 p.m.

ELKHART — It’s not exactly golf season out there, but 120 people grabbed their clubs this weekend and headed out into the cold, snowy weather anyway, but instead of teeing off at their favorite golf courses, they went to Simonton Lake.

For the first time in two years, the weather was cold enough for an ice golf tournament at the lake. The frozen lake north of Elkhart near the Michigan state line transformed into a 13-hole golf course Saturday, Feb. 1.

Event organizer Cam Snyder and his team created the course by drilling holes into the ice and using recycled Christmas trees to landscape the “greens.” The project took about five days to complete, he said.

“It’s a riot,” golfer Jim Vance added. “I’m a friend of Cam’s, and we started doing this and it just grew, and it’s been a success.”

The last time an ice golf tournament was held at the lake was 2011. The past two winters have been unusually warm, but last weekend, when this year’s tournament was initially scheduled, was too cold.

“We had that polar vortex freeze,” said Snyder, who owns The Flippin Cow restaurant on the lake. “It’s 30 degrees out right now, which is almost 60 degrees warmer than it was a week ago with the wind chill.”

Bundled up in puffy coats, hats, scarves and gloves, the golfers didn’t seem to mind the cold weather.

“It has been a bummer the last two years not being able to play,” said Karen Stephan, who lives along the lake. “I look forward to it every year.”

Felix Ambris and a group of his golfing buddies from Union, Mich., took to the ice for a friendly competition.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a good chance to get together with the guys and just golf.”

It addition to having a good time, the golfers helped raise money for charity, Snyder said.

“We give back to the lake association, the Simonton Lake Sportsman’s Club, and they have a little environmental project going on, so this raises money for them, and we’re able to have fun at the same time,” he said.