Friendly bets on weekend golf matches are as much a part of the game as are hooks and slices. But one Florida town is putting golfers on notice for making wagers on the course.
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Chuck Winship, general manager of Tarpon Springs Golf Course, recently told patrons to cease betting after he learned of an investigation by local police, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.
A police spokesman told the paper that officers were looking into whether Winship violated two statues -- keeping a gambling house and game promotion in connection with the sale of consumer products or services.
The investigation, which also drew the attention of the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, was sparked when a former employee of the course sent a letter to the police department. The letter reportedly mentioned the gambling by local golf leagues.
Members of Tarpon Springs Golf Course who participate in leagues normally wager $20. The money is pooled together and divided among the golfers depending on their performances. About 14 leagues play at the course each week (on Saturday mornings, golf leagues bring up to 40 players to the course).
Tarpon Springs Golf Course didn’t host any leagues for two weeks after word of the investigation got to Winship.
However, leagues were recently allowed to resume play as long as no course employees or volunteers participate. A letter from Tarpon Springs city manager Mark LeCouris did warn golfers not to pool their money together. Winnings must instead be based on a predetermined amount.
Despite the agreement, Winship remained under investigation as of Wednesday.
“Every day that goes by without hearing anything gets more nerve-racking,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s just dangling over my head. It’s driving me crazy.”