Santa Claus took time out from his busy schedule to hit the golf links during the annual Golf Fore Kids fundraiser that helps kids all over the local region every year. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Who makes it possible for hundreds of kids in the Virgin and Moapa valleys and Scenic, Beaver Dam, and Littlefield, AZ to have presents under the Christmas tree each year when parents can’t afford to?

The 568 Santas who tee it up on four local golf courses have come to the rescue for the last 15 years during the Golf Fore Kids golf tournament. Over that time, more than $576,000 has been donated by the golfing Santas.

All of the workers at the Falcon Ridge, Conestoga, Palms, and Canyons golf course spend weeks getting ready for the annual event. Tee time reservations open in early October with some courses totally booked out in less than 24 hours showing the popularity of the tournament.

Toys gathered at the golf courses and other places are all delivered to the CasaBlanca Event Tent by Mesquite Police and Fire Department employees for display during a lunch provided after golf. Next week the gifts will be distributed by the police, firefighters, Salvation Army and local schools.

But there’s more to it as Jesse Gardner explained. “I like the idea of gathering toys for the kids and playing with my friends to do that.” He moved from Alaska to Mesquite two years ago and began playing in the tournament his first year here.

Joanne Smith and Laurie Gable showed how to combine fun and friendship with the spirit of the day. They perhaps took home the prize for the cutest outfits as they were decked out in candy stripped leggings and bright green Christmas sweaters.

Joanne Smith, left, and Laurie Gable are just two of 568 Santas that descended on four Mesquite golf courses during the 2019 Golf Fore Kids fundraiser now in its 15th year. Toys from the golfers go to kids all over the local region ensuring they have a very Merry Christmas. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

“We are repeat offenders,” Gable said after playing in the tournament for eight years. “We do this for the kids. When we go into the tent for lunch after playing and see all the toys gathered for the kids, it makes me cry,” Smith said.

It’s not just local Mesquite residents that share in the giving spirit and golf fun. Jason Gubler brought three other golfers with him from Hurricane, UT to play in the tournament for their first time. “Someone told us the golf courses do a great job on this tournament with a great lunch at the CasaBlanca event tent afterwards. And, you can’t beat the weather,” Gubler said.

“It’s so fun to be a part of the community,” Eric Loveland said. He’s part of the ownership of the Falcon Ridge golf course and came to Mesquite from Alpine, UT. “All the golf course employees do such a great job putting this tournament together and work with each other to make it a great day. This is one of my favorite events. It’s fun to hang out with our friends for a good cause and help the kids.”