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Barley PAR-TEE time


When is a game of golf not a game of golf? Is it still golf if you’re limited to two clubs, neither of which can be a putter? What about when tennis balls are used in place of golf balls? Or how about teeing off with a live band only a few feet away? This may not seem like golf but after a few flights of fine brew, does it really matter?

Past Barley PAR-TEE participants transport their tennis balls using big tires to the “Knoxville Raceway hole.”

Past Barley PAR-TEE participants transport their tennis balls using big tires to the “Knoxville Raceway hole.”

Faced with the challenge to come up with an event that would replace a pancake breakfast that’s been around longer than 50 years, Cindy Spann, event coordinator and outreach director with Link Associates, first thought of the traditional options such as golf tournaments and fun runs. It wasn’t until she dug deep into her childhood that she remembered an event held each Fourth of July involving golf in a field. The rest, as they say, is history.

This year marks the fourth anniversary of the Barley PAR-TEE event, which takes place on the pasturelands of Living History Farms. Every year a different the course has followed a different theme.

“Reality TV is this year’s theme, so each hole is based on a reality TV program like ‘Swamp People,’ ‘Duck Dynasty,’ ‘What Not to Wear,’ ‘Survivor,’ ‘Honey Boo,’ ‘Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?,’ just to mention a few,” Spann said.

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This is an event that’s not so much about golf or competition but more about having fun and supporting a good cause. It won’t take long for folks to notice just how silly pasture golf is, especially on this course. Spann is keeping tight-lipped about this year’s little surprises.

Golfers are allowed only two clubs of their choosing to tackle what the terrain has in store for them. Each hole has a unique putter adding to the absurd fun. Last year featured giant dog collars, a track shoe and a plunger all used as putters on various holes. No matter how good a person is, they’re sure to be tested on every hole.

“Participants definitely do not have to know how or be a proficient golfer to enjoy it,” Spann said. “There might even be one hole where they don’t even hit the tennis ball with a golf club.”

Along with goofy golf, the Barley PAR-TEE features flights of local beer, BBQ and live music. The grill will be firing up pork sandwiches along with a few sides. Beer samples this year will come from local breweries like Confluence, Exile, 515 Brewing and Twisted Vine. From 2-4 p.m., the duo Peas and Carrots will provide live music followed by Randy Burk and the Prisoners on stage from 5- 7. Another band will be announced to take the 7-9 p.m. timeframe.

“This is not a black tie, sit-around-a-table-for-10 event,” emphasized Spann. “This event is unique, not just because of the golf, but the combination of everything. Fun is the main emphasis.”

So when is a game of golf not a game of golf? When it’s a PAR-TEE. CV               

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.


Barley PAR-TEE
When: Saturday, Aug. 3 from 2-9 p.m.
(Walk-on golf will be available starting at 5 p.m.)
Where: Hawkeye Antique Acres (3322 Ute Ave., Waukee)
Price: $75 per golf package (includes a bag, mug, meal and golf)
Non-Golf Participation: $25 minimum donation for a sampling mug; $8 BBQ pork sandwich, beans, chips and a can of pop or bottled water.


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