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Annual Clay Dotson Open Offers Rewarding Challenge for Golfers

April 2014

The annual Clay Dotson Open golf tournament to benefit student scholarships at Young Harris College will be held on Monday, May 19, at Brasstown Valley Resort. For avid golfer and friend of the College Gene Clopton, of Young Harris, this marks his 15th year participating in the tournament. 

Clopton first met the tournament’s namesake, Emeriti Professor of History, former Academic Dean and interim President Clay Dotson, Ph.D., when Brasstown Valley Resort opened in 1995. The two began golfing together and have been close friends ever since.

“The event began as a successful alumni golf tournament to raise money for scholarships,” said Clopton, who was invited to join Dr. Dotson’s tournament foursome in 1997 and has only missed two since then. Each year, he looks forward to meeting new people and watching the excitement as players reunite with old friends and classmates.

“YHC alumni and friends recognize the administration’s commitment to students, who are always very dedicated and responsible graduates,” explained Clopton. “It’s evident that these alumni love their school and marvel at the College’s growth and success. They want to participate when any opportunity presents itself.”

According to Clopton, the dynamic of the tournament changed in 2005 when it was officially renamed the Clay Dotson Open in honor of his dear friend.

“It was incredible to see the increased participation and learn of the significant increase in scholarship funds,” said Clopton. “Clay does his part to participate in organizations that promote the College and local area. His greatest attribute is his ability to contribute without a need for personal recognition.”

He noted that winning a trophy is quite a feat, as the tournament draws talented and dedicated golfers. Despite the challenge, the ultimate goal for all participants is contributing to the success of YHC students like Kelsey Britt, a senior early childhood education major form Douglasville.

“My scholarships are allowing me to fulfill my goal of becoming a teacher,” she said. “I’ve also made wonderful friends and memories of my own in these gorgeous mountains. My experiences and the knowledge I obtained from YHC will remain with me long after graduation.” 

More than 90 percent of YHC students receive some form of financial assistance, and all proceeds from the Clay Dotson Open are used toward scholarships for YHC students. Generous support of this annual event allows a new generation of students to achieve their academic pursuits and become part of a 128-year legacy.

The tournament features the annual Alumni Team Challenge in which the team with the lowest score will win a special award. Teams of four YHC alumni will also receive a special discount rate and an invitation to a kick-off alumni reception at Brassie’s.

For player registration and sponsorship opportunities at this event, contact Director of Development Mark Dotson, ’88, at (706) 379-5355 or For more information about the Clay Dotson Open, visit