The 34th annual Confidence Learning Center Golf Classic will be the 28th event that Bruce Buxton has played in.
The East Gull Lake resident makes the golf tournament an annual event to help a good cause.
"I refer to myself as a goofer, not a golfer," said Buxton.
The chairman of the board at Widseth Smith Nolting started golfing at age 31, one year before his first Confidence Learning Center Classic in 1979. Buxton remembers the camp, along with the Brainerd Lakes area, being a far cry from what it is today.
"Back then Brainerd was a different town, Camp Confidence was just getting started," he said.
Bruce Buxton is a regular at the Golf Classic
Founded in 1969, Camp Confidence provides more than 10,000 camper days each year. The camp offers continual training in self-help skills for campers, including independent living skills, social adaptability, work habits and lifelong leisure skills. Camp Confidence relies completely on private donations for funding.
"The camp receives no state or county funding, every nickel in that camp is done through private funding," said Pat Smith, chairperson of the Classic.
It's a hefty sack of 1.6 million nickels that Smith will have to count after this year's fundraiser. Along with the accompanying fishing tournament and Sertoma Mariucci Fiesta, the Classic brings in approximately $80,000 for Camp Confidence. It is the largest fundraiser that Camp Confidence puts on.
Buxton enjoys the opportunity to get in a round of golf while meeting and chatting with a variety of people.
"You get to meet an awful lot of people and get a chance to see and talk to people you normally wouldn't see or talk to, it's a great atmosphere," said Buxton, who tries to golf at least once a week.
It doesn't take a PGA tour card to golf the tournament.
"I have some good shots and some bad shots," said Buxton. "I've got a good friend that gives me a lot of drivers and I asked him, 'What are you doing that for?' He said, 'You're helping my game by hitting your ball farther out in the woods.'"
Confidence Learning Center Golf Classic
When: Shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. Friday
Where: The Legacy Courses at Cragun's in East Gull Lake.
Format: Teams of five compete in an 18-hole scramble open to men and women.
The highlight for Buxton's teams the past 28 years was the time their name was announced at the awards presentation.
"One year we actually got to participate in the awards ceremony, our team was voted the best-dressed," said the trendy 60-year-old, who also enjoys fishing and cruising on Gull Lake.
Pro boxer Tony Bonsante will return to the Classic for his fourth year as master of ceremonies.
Following the golf tournament is the Sertoma Mariucci Fiesta from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Mariucci Lodge at the Confidence Learning Center. The fiesta is Camp Confidence's way for participants in the golf and fishing tournaments, along with Camp Confidence supporters, more than 1,000 people, to come together for a prepared dinner with live and silent auctions.
"This is not only great for the camp but great for the community," said Smith.
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