Play Branson Ridge in Ozarks Water Watch Classic

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Buffalo Ridge_Panorama Bison-RETOUCH

For area golfers, it’s a chance to play at Buffalo Ridge Golf Course in Branson.

More importantly, the positive impact of the seventh annual Ozarks Water Watch Golf Classic presented by Country Mart stretches far beyond the tee box and greens.

Just ask the president and executive director of the OWW, which promotes water quality in the upper White River Basin.

Yes, David Casaletto is looking forward to the tournament on Thursday, June 16. After all, a great turnout could greatly assist the OWW, a non-profit that launched in 2001 and oversees 15 counties in southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas – an area tied around Table Rock, Taneycomo, Beaver and Bull Shoals lakes and other waters of the Ozarks.

“I actually think of the golf tournament when I look at the budget and what we can afford to do in the future,” Casaletto said.

OWW-David Casaletto

In the six prior years of the golf classic, funds raised from the tournament have helped the Ozarks Water Watch climb from only two staffers to six full-time employees, along with the recent purchase of what’s now a non-profit, sewer maintenance company.

It has led to the OWW contracting with 60 treatment plants.

The OWW also recently signed an agreement with the Department of Natural Resources to provide assistance to homeowners who must repair failing septic tanks. If the homeowners are low-income, the OWW can provide a loan and grant for 100 percent of the cost. The loan portion is zero interest for the low-income homeowners.

“We also take care of drinking water systems, and as we know from Flint, Michigan, that’s an important public health issue,” Casaletto said.

Additionally, the OWW has expanded its outreach to host two shoreline cleanups with more than 1,200 volunteers.

“The proceeds from the golf tournament are what allow us to do these types of projects,” Casaletto said. “We do a lot of public education and events.”

Thus, Ozarks Water Watch presented by Country Mart could be significant.

To sign up, call the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame at 417-889-3100.

The tournament will have a 1 p.m. shotgun start at Buffalo Ridge Golf Course.

A four-person team is $1,000 – a favorable deal considering each player receives a nice gift package, recognition in the printed program, business signage on the course during the tournament and all green fees and rentals. Prizes will be awarded to first- and second-place winners in three flights.

Even better, the tournament features a raffle with numerous prizes and grand prizes such as kayaks and a half-day guided fishing tour with Stacy King. Plus, 2014 United States Senior Long Drive champion John Cyrus will man the No. 1 tee box and tee off for players.

Numerous sponsorships also are available, such as for the raffle, greens, holes and banner.

“One thing about our organization is we’re an advocate and friend,” Casaletto said. “We go to the source and say, ‘How can we help you solve this problem?’ In my heart, that’s how man and environment can work together. How do we coexist with the environment? I believe we can.”