The Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce’s Great Balls of Fire golf tournament on Thursday met and exceeded expectations, according to development director Anna Chapelle.

“For this to be our first year hosting this tournament and putting it together in one and a half months, we’re beyond pleased with how it turned out,” Chappelle said.

Chappelle said 21 teams signed up to participate and the chamber expects a profit of about $9,000. She said the tournament would likely become an annual event.

“In addition to raising money for the chamber, it’s a good networking opportunity for our members, which aligns with our mission to provide support and opportunities to businesses,” she said.

Chappelle said she was also impressed by how to community came together to help make the event a success.

“Everyone was very generous,” she said. “We ended up with 19 hole sponsors and we’re so thankful for our title sponsor, Riverside Chevy.”

Enough contributions were made to the First Responder Sponsorship that some Wetumpka fire fighters go to play in the tourney free of charge.

The tournament took place at the Emerald Mountain Golf Club and included two shotgun starts at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Golfers had the chance to win prizes for the best team name, and a putting contest and accuracy and distance challenges took place. Players also had a chance to win a car at the Hole-In-One contest sponsored by Collier Ford.

The registration fee was $300 per team of four or $75 for individuals. The entry fee included lunch provided by Emerald Mountain Golf Club, and access to a beverage cart during the tournament.

Chappelle thanked Emerald Mountain Golf Club for being helpful throughout the process of planning the event.

“Emerald Mountain is a member of the chamber so it was an easy choice to choose their golf course,” Chapelle said. “They’re also under new management and are trying to get people out to the course. Everyone has enjoyed the course. There are people who are visiting for the first time and others who haven’t visited in a few years, so we’re glad we were able to help spread the word about this golf course.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward funding chamber programs. Chappelle said COVID-19 halted all of the chamber's programs, which were sources of income for the organization. Prior to COVID-19, the chamber hosted luncheons, new member breakfasts and offered guest speakers and networking opportunities for the business community.

For the past several months, the chamber has been trying to figure out ways to still meet its financial goals.

"We thought the best way to do it would be to have an outdoor event," Chappelle said. "People are craving community events, so this was a good way to raise money and get people together safely to just enjoy the day."

Chappelle said the chamber hopes to resume its regular programs next year.