On a hot day in June 1998, June 8 to be exact, Phil Peppers and a group of regular friends were enjoying the day doing what they did almost daily, playing golf at The Creek at Hard Labor. Peppers, a retired City of Atlanta police officer, had been a fixture in Social Circle, the Lions Club and had just recently been elected on the city council.
There was nothing remarkable about the day. It was just good times with good friends. As the group made the turn on hole No. 10 (now hole No. 1), the day would become one nobody at Hard Labor Creek or in the Peppers family will ever forget. Phil Peppers suffered a massive hart attack just a short distance from the tee box. He did not survive. He was 57.
A year later, Peppers fellow Lions Club members decided to host a golf tournament in their fallen friend's honor. The proceeds would go to helping the blind and hearing impaired in the community. The Lions Club has held the tournament ever since.
Friday marked the 12 year for the tournament and as usual, people who knew Peppers were there to play in his memory. Along the way the Lions Club raised more than $12,000 again for those charities.
While the tournament is about camaraderie and helping the local community, it brought out some stiff competition. Under a four-man scramble format, the team from Georgia Municipal Association won the 18-hole tournament with a net score of 31. The group, consisting of Paul Radford, Lamar Norton, George Van Leuven and Griff Doyle shot a 56 with a 25 handicap multiplier.
Peppers daughter Pam Greer, a longtime teacher at Newton High, was onhand to aid in the festivities. Greer, who taught English for close to two decades at Newton, is now at Collins Hill. Social Circle mayor Jim Burgess was also in attendance and played in the tournament.