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Ballyneal Member Invites Others to Join 108-Hole Fundraiser


On June 20th Ballyneal Golf Club member Jim Colton will set out on a mission to walk 108 holes of golf in one day to raise money for the healthcare of Ben Cox, a Ballyneal caddie who was paralyzed from the chest down following a downhill skiing accident in March.

In addition to collecting lump-sum and per-hole pledges, Colton is offering the opportunity for others to take an active role in the event. Colton has pledged to pay the Ballyneal guest fees for up to 16 non-members who raise at least $500 for the cause and commit to the "half-marathon" of 54 holes or more on the 20th.

Cox, a 2006 graduate of Haxtun High School, grew up about 25 miles from Ballyneal in northeast Colorado. He attended Wayland Baptist University in Texas before transferring to Texas Tech, where he was studying civil engineering at the time of the accident. Cox hopes to return to school in January 2012 to complete the last two semesters needed for his degree. He is expected to be discharged from Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., on June 14th and hopes to be at Ballyneal six days later to greet Colton and the other golfers as they finish their rounds.

Ben's mother, Melinda Cox, doesn't know the total amount of the medical bills resulting from Ben's care, but related that just one surgical bill was $330,000. Cox is expected to have additional medical needs moving forward.

"I get real emotional talking about the support shown by Jim Colton, Haxtun residents, Wayland Baptist, Ballyneal and others," said Melinda Cox, a teacher's aide in Haxtun who has remained with her son in Denver since the accident. "I thank God each day. It's amazing how people have rallied around us."

"I've definitely had more good days than bad," Ben said. "You've got to keep a good attitude about it. It is what it is. You can either look at it that you can't do this or that, or you can figure out what you can still do."

Colton resides in Wheaton, Ill., and is known for being a golf fanatic through his blog www.wegoblogger31.com, and his 2009 book entitled, "One Divot at a Time: Diary of a Full-Fledged Golf Addict." He has received pledges of more than $20,000 and hopes the chance to play Ballyneal will raise even more money. "The Coxes are a great family with a positive attitude and tremendous faith in the face of this life-changing injury," said Colton. "As soon as I heard about the accident, I knew I had to do whatever I could to help."

Thanks to June 20 being one of the longest days of the year, Colton plans to tee off for his first round at 4:45 a.m. and golf until dusk at 8:45 p.m.

"Although the event is called 'The Ben Cox 108,' I view 108 holes as the starting point instead of the finish line," Colton said, relating that numerous contributors have creatively structured their pledges with bonuses for playing more than 108 holes. "Knowing that each extra hole will be worth hundreds of additional dollars to the cause will motivate me to keep going."

As an additional incentive to donate to the cause, Colton is collecting prizes that will be awarded by raffle to those who pledge more than $100. To date, raffle prizes include:

Two foursomes of golf at Ballyneal
One foursome of golf at Dismal River in Mullen, Neb.
One foursome of golf at The Kingsley Club in Kingsley, Mich.
One threesome of golf at Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Two nights accommodation at the Fairmont St Andrews and one round of golf at The Torrance or The Kittocks
Two pairs of TRUE Linkswear golf shoes.

To learn more, call Ballyneal at 970/854-5900 or e-mail head pro Matt Payne at mattp@ballyneal.com.

Ballyneal is a private golf club located in the sand hills of northeastern Colorado, 2.5 hours from Denver. The Ballyneal land is referred to by locals as the "chop hills," due to the unique characteristics of its dunes. Ballyneal was Travel + Leisure Golf's Best New Course of 2006 and currently is ranked No. 6 Best Modern by Golfweek, No. 48 in the U.S. by Golf Magazine, and one of Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Courses. Ballyneal includes the golf shop, a fine-dining restaurant and three lodges with private suites. For more information, visit www.ballyneal.com or call 970/854-5900.