With the 25th playing of the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Golf Tournament earlier this month at Eagle Nest Golf Club, Mike Hardee and Rick Elliott showed their commitment to a tradition that was dear to their fathers.
The late Troy Hardee, a 45-year salesman at Palmetto Chevrolet, helped start the event and Sen. Dick Elliott served as the host for the better part of two decades at the Eagle Nest course he owned.
Though they’re gone, the tournament lives on. This year 174 officers from around South Carolina participated after about 200 participated in each of the past two years.
“It’s was a tradition for my dad,” said Elliott, who owns Eagle Nest and a real estate company. “He always supported public safety – police, fire and highway patrol – and this was his way of saying ‘thank you.’ ”
The event featured a post-round barbecue dinner, on-course drinks and numerous prizes, and everything was donated as the event has several sponsors.
The tournament got its start when Mike Hardee, a retired longtime Lance Cracker Co. employee who works part-time on the maintenance staff at the Hackler Course at CCU, played a round of golf with family friend Don Blanton of the S.C. Highway Patrol, and Troy Hardee offered to cook fish for a post-round meal.
For several years, Troy Hardee would catch bass over the course of the year and freeze it for the annual post-tournament fish fry, until the event outgrew his fishing production.