Family and friends of Gavin Van Zee are linking up Friday at Elmwood Golf Course to honor the eight-year-old boy who died unexpectedly at home last August. The memorial golf tournament will benefit the First Tee of South Dakota.
Gavin Van Zee, a Discovery Elementary student, was an amazing grandson who enjoyed golf according to his grandpa Bob Reierson.
“It’s been a tough spring. I miss my First Tee date with Gavin,” Reierson said. “We’d go for breakfast. We’d come out here and do First Tee. Then we’d go to lunch. Let him drive the golf cart a little bit.”
Gavin’s love for the sport and his life will be celebrated at Elmwood this Friday during a tournament from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All of the proceeds will go to the youth golf program called the First Tee of South Dakota.
“I just truly encourage everybody to enjoy their kids while you can. This tragic accident that happened that took Gavin from us, it was definitely a tragedy. Let’s take a negative and turn it into a positive and I think this is just a wonderful way to do that,” Reierson said.
160 golfers have signed up for the event right here at Elmwood Golf Course. They’re hoping to raise around $30,000 for a scholarship.
“A lot of our participants aren’t able to pay. We do give them scholarships. We don’t ask questions. We don’t turn anybody away,” Coralee Jorgensen, with First Tee South Dakota, said.
First Tee teaches kids how to succeed on the course and in the game of life.
“We’re more excited about our life skills that we teach and they’re done so seamlessly. You don’t even know. You’re learning about, maybe it’s the word ‘respect.’ It’s happening and it’s all while they’re chipping or putting or making a full swing,” Jorgensen said.
Gavin’s family says he was very respectful, a sweet soul.
“He was just an awesome young man and yes, as a grandpa, I truly do miss him,” Reierson said.
If you’d like to contribute to the scholarship, there will be a silent auction at the Crooked Pint at 6 p.m. Friday night after the tournament.