Emeritus Rotarian William ‘Bill’ Harper, right center, is the owner of Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club and founder of the 28th annual Brandon Rotary Golf Tournament. With him are just some of the 144 players who showed up to play on January 16. To Harper’s right is Rotary Club of Brandon member Steve Moran, chair of the tournament.

By Linda Chion Kenney

The 28th annual Rotary Club of Brandon Golf Tournament, held in January at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club in Valrico, proved again the value of golfing for a cause.

Golfers paid tribute as well to the tournament’s founder, Emeritus Rotarian William ‘Bill’ Harper, who was an early golfer at Buckhorn, established in 1968. Believing in the value of friendships made through the game of golf, Harper in 2011 bought the then-troubling Buckhorn to ensure it remained a private golf course rich in tradition.

Designed by Harris Green, Buckhorn is known for its scenic views, natural springs, tough back nine, challenging finishing holes and friendly atmosphere.

“I love the game, the competitive side of it and I love the people who play the game,” Harper said. “You meet great people from all walks of life. I always had an interest in people, learning about them and what they do for a living. It’s unbelievable all the things that they do.”

Tournament Chair and Rotarian Steve Moran said a record number of golfers played at the January 16 tournament, netting more than $20,000 in donations for three charities: the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center (BSAC), Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) and the Outreach Clinic.

“This is the first year that we had 144 golfers and it’s the first year we had teams on the waiting list,” said Moran, a realtor with Keller Williams. “I have a feeling next year it will sell out even more quickly because the word has spread.”

This year’s tournament follows the 18th annual B. Lee Elam Charity Golf Classic on October 10, 2019, which also supported BSAC, ECHO and the Outreach Clinic. A week later, the 19th annual Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon Golf Tournament, also at Buckhorn, raised money to support the Terrific Kids student recognition program in area schools.

Golf tournaments “are good for us and they’re good for the community,” said Troy Perssons, Buckhorn’s head pro and general manager. “We’re glad Buckhorn can support events like this for the community.”

The Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club is located at 2721 South Miller Rd. in Valrico. Call 689-7766. Visit www.buckhornsprings.com.