Golfers Prepare for Second Annual Tourney on Frozen Bering Sea
NOME, Alaska (AP) _ Golfers are looking forward to ″gorgeous″ weather for the ″Second Annual Bering Sea Ice Classic″ on a par-41 course consisting of two feet of sea ice and played amid 25-degree-below-zero temperatures.
″The contour of the course is shaping up nicely, as they say,″ said John Kreilkamp, one of the organizers of this historic gold mining town’s contest of skill and balance, with an emphasis on balance. ″Some of the ice hummocks are darn near 20 feet high.″
The course for the St. Patrick’s Day tournament consists of six holes about 200 feet apart, each one a coffee can sunk into two feet of ice. ″Greens″ will be sprinkled with green Jell-O and balls painted fluorescent orange.
The par 41 course ″can be challenging,″ Krielkamp said.
″A putt is liable to go 100 yards″ on the ice, and ″it’s kind of like watching a pinball make its way to the hole,″ he said. That, observers say, is why golfers generally eschew woods and stick with 7 and 9 irons.
Favored attire for the tourney, sponsored by the Bering Sea Lions Club, includes cumbersome ″bunny boots″ and bulky clothing, although some linksters last year wore baseball cleats.
The tourney attracted about 20 players last year to this town of about 3,600 people 600 miles northwest of Anchorage. Sponsors expect about 40 golfers this year who will pay $40 each to play. The winner gets $200.
Proceeds go to Lions’ projects here, said Mike McGee, another organizer.
Kreilkamp and McGee say they’re trying to attract a ″big name″ to the tourney, but aren’t even hinting at their target.
″It would be nice to get a golfer, but we’d settle for a baseball player,″ Kreilkamp said. ″We feel positive we’ll be able to land somebody.″
″We’re looking for the networks to take a close look and possibly next year to sponsor″ it, he added. McGee, who was down with the flu last year, said he’s entering this year even though the course likely will be a bit tougher than last year. ″It’s still playable and I’m ready for it,″ he said.
Kreilkamp is predicting ″gorgeous″ golfing weather - clear skies, no wind and 25 below.