Madison Keil is a senior at Lakeland High School who decided to take on a senior project in order to earn a Leading EDGE diploma. The Leading EDGE program requires students to go beyond basic studies by participating in career internships, community service projects, and choosing a senior project that will somehow benefit the community.

Tournament organizer Madison Keil holds a glow golf ball and driver in the dark.

Madison learned about The Farm Place and talked with Farm board member Sue Keenan. Madison is an avid golfer and a member of the Lakeland girls golf team, and decided to organize a golf tournament, with proceeds going to The Farm. To make it even more fun, she decided to make it a Glow Golf tournament at Heron Creek Golf Club in LaGrange, with tee-off starting just after dark!

The date was set for October 10th, 2020, and four-person teams paid $65 per person; high school students paid a discounted rate of $35. Hole sponsors paid $100 to have glow-in-the-dark signs at tee boxes. Admission to the tournament included pizza and a pack of glow balls.

Sponsors included Phigenics, Farmers State Bank, LaGrange Family Dentistry, Romer’s Restaurant, and Apex Golf Lab. Several families also sponsored holes including the Keils, Warreners, Stanjevich’s, and Mullens.

Thirteen teams participated, far exceeding Madison’s initial expectations. Everyone had a great time, although some found it a little disorienting trying to hit a glowing golf ball in the dark. According to Madison, her “basketball coach, Dale Gearheart, fell while swinging and broke a rib! He’s OK though.”

Golf carts and tournament participants line up for The Farm Place fundraiser golf tournament.

The tournament was a big success. Madison’s goal when she began planning the tournament was to raise $1,000, but in the end she raised $2,500! That money will go toward building the new animal companionship center for The Farm Place which will include a new barn, offices, and counseling center. Children will experience animal companionship with their counselors, case managers, and families. Madison says there’s a good chance the Glow Golf tournament will continue next year as a senior project, and maybe even continue as an annual tournament.

Each player of the winning team received a sleeve of golf balls, a package of tees, and ball markers donated by Heron Creek Golf Club. Second place received green fee discount coupons. To make things fun for the less-than-stellar golfers, the last-place team also received green fee coupons.

According to Lakeland High School teacher Sherry Severson, “Madi finished a stellar golf career at Lakeland by making it to the State finals two years in a row. The Lakeland girls golf team also won the NECC conference regular season and NECC tournament two years in a row. Madison has also earned varsity letters in girls soccer and basketball.” She went on to say, “I have had Madison as a student in two biomedical science classes – Human Body Systems and currently, Biomedical Innovation. She is a wonderful student who works very hard.”

Madison’s dad, Chris Keil, is the former owner of Herron Creek golf course and was a great help in organizing the tournament. He and his wife, Monica, must be very proud of Madison. She is a stand-out senior and currently has an internship at Parkview LaGrange Hospital. Madison was offered a golf scholarship from Valparaiso University and she will study nursing there next fall.

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