Golfers take on cow pasture in unique charity event

STONE CABIN VALLEY — For the competitors who headed 35 miles east of Tonopah to play golf, this was not a typical golf tournament or course.

Featuring hazards such as cow manure, holes that included a cast-iron bathtub and urinal, along with a rough, tough enough to scratch ankles course, a 60-acre ranch field, was home Oct. 22 to a charitable tournament organized by the Tonopah Elks Lodge.

“This is completely different than any golf course, being it’s in a cow pasture,” said Elks member Ron Kipp, chairman of the event in the Stone Cabin Valley area off U.S. Highway 6.

“There are not too many golf courses where you tee off on a one-ton bale of hay,” Kipp said as the 6th Annual Tonopah Cow Pasture Golf Tournament, presented by the Tonopah Elks, got underway.

“There’s no real tees or greens,” he said. “It’s fun. You’re limited in the amount of clubs you can bring, no drivers. It’s just a great fundraiser.”

Organizers describe the venue as “the most unique 11-hole course in Nevada.”

The rural Nye County venue is so tough that some of the 16 competitors used all-terrain vehicles to get around the course.

“The biggest hazard here is finding your ball after you hit it,” Kipp said. “They lose a few out there every year.”

But it’s all for a great cause, raising funds for all the Elks charitable contributions throughout the year. Those include Project Safe Haven to assist abused and neglected children, a hardship fund, school breakfast snacks, an angel tree program, scholarship funds, student fundraisers and more.

“This allows us to have working funds to do our benefits for students, children, families,” Kipp said.

Ranch setting, ‘cow patty golf’

The tournament featured a best ball scramble with a shotgun start for eight, two-man teams. The entry fee was listed as $100 per team.

The course sits on the ranch of Bill and Amy Dowers.

“It’s perfect,” Bill Dowers said. “It’s for a good cause.”

At least three weeks before the tournament, he placed 30-plus cows on the field as part of preparations to turn it into a golf course.

The cows were not removed from the field until the day before the tournament, leaving plenty of time for the livestock to provide course hazards — manure.

“So we have fresh cow patties,” Bill Dowers said jokingly. “This is cow patty golf.”

He also pointed to another hazard: ruts in the field. He calls the deep muddy grooves “pivot tracks” — the result of irrigation machinery. “That is what it leaves,” he said, pointing the ground.

Despite the challenges, none of the golfers complained.

“Everything we (Elks) do is usually for kids and the needy,” Tonopah resident Jeff Witten said.

Cow pasture golf is “nothing like” normal golf, Witten said, “other than your swinging clubs and the ball.”

“As you can tell, it’s not manicured. It’s cow turds and big clumps of dirt.”


■ Multiple sponsors donated funds for the charitable tournament. They include Navarro, the John Friel family, Rockwood Lithium, Round Mountain Gold, JT3, H&R Block, Safetee Connections, businessman Jim Marsh, North Tonopah Development and M&K Enterprises.

■ See more photos of the action on the Facebook page of the Tonopah Times-Bonanza & Goldfield News.

Contact reporter David Jacobs at

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