For Sale: Golf Course, One Owner, Only $100

NEW YORK -- Many golfers dream of owning their own course. Wayne Aekin dreams of giving one away. All you need is $100 and 250 words explaining why you want to own the Evergreen Par 3, and it can be yours.

Shortly after Aekin and his wife, Cynde, decided to act on a whim in 1994 and build the course in Greenwood, Delaware -- 40 kilometers south of Dover -- Aekin was disabled by spinal arthritis.

Unable to work the course any longer, he decided to sell it. Then he got another idea -- to raffle it off.

"All you have to do is say in 250 words or less why you want to own and operate a par-3 golf course like Evergreen, and it can be yours,'' Aekin, 50, said Tuesday by telephone from the course.

The entries will be judged by a panel that includes a minister, greenskeeper and a publisher. And while that may sound like the first line of a joke -- "A minister, a greenskeeper and a publisher walk into a bar ...'' -- it is a likely assurance that the whole thing is on the up-and-up.

To get in on the action, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Evergreen Par 3 Essay Contest, P.O. Box 186, Harrington, Delaware 19952. Or send a fax to 302-349-4653.

You'll receive an entry form and a set of rules. Deadlines for entries is May 1 -- though Aekin reserves the right to extend the deadline if not enough entries are received. The winner will be announced May 15.

Aekin figures he will need slightly more than 5,200 entries to make it worthwhile. And he will throw in all the equipment for free.

"We thought this might be more rewarding from a personal standpoint, to change someone's life and offer them a second chance,'' Aekin said.

The 18-hole course has bent grass greens, rye fairways, an underground irrigation system and, according to Aekin, is well-played with various leagues and a clientele "from 6 to 84 years old.''