It’s become a Dothan tradition.
Each year, Troy University alumni and supporters – many of whom have no ties to the University – gather together at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Highland Oaks to play golf and raise scholarship money for local high school students.
Thursday marked the 16th annual Jackson Thornton TROY Alumni Invitational, which raised about $13,000 for Wiregrass-area students to attend TROY.
“This is our largest fundraiser for the Wiregrass Alumni Chapter,” said Ken Lambert, the chapter president. “We’ve calculated that we’ve raised around $175,000 in scholarships over the last 16 years. It’s vitally important. This money goes to students from the Wiregrass who go through a rigorous application process.”
While one might assume the tournament draws mostly TROY alumni, it’s become an event for the entire Dothan area.
“I took a day off just to come here and play with these guys, support this tournament and support this great cause,” said James Pinson, a University of Alabama alumnus.
Daniel Wilson, who isn’t a TROY graduate, has similar reasons for participating.
“It’s the professionalism this tournament is put on with, and just knowing it benefits a local school,” Wilson said. “That means something.”
Alex Culbreth is a current TROY student who participated in the tournament.
“We came out here for work – we bought a team this year – and for fellowship and to support a good cause,” he said. “Especially after a great win like (TROY) had last week (in football), it’s a great time to bring awareness to the school.”
TROY alumnus Justin Eaves, a 2010 graduate, views the tournament as a way to give back to his University.
“It’s about supporting TROY through the Wiregrass alumni,” he said. “Being a graduate, I always want to support the school.”
The event is a clear demonstration of just how tight-knit the Wiregrass community can be.
“It says a lot about Dothan and this community helping one another,” Lambert said. “We have a lot of friends of TROY here. And, thanks to Highland Oaks, we have a terrific course to come play golf.”