Bridles & Birdies, which was held Sept. 6 at Newberry Hall, was a mash-up of horse racing and golf.

There were three rounds of a chip and putt competition, and there also was a three-hole miniature golf course.

In addition, videos of five different horse races were shown on a big screen, and Bridles & Birdies attendees could place bets on them.

Food and drinks also were served.

“The goal of the evening is to bring together the horse community and the golf community in the CSRA to support The First Tee of Aiken,” said First Tee Executive Director Heidi Hoffman. “We’re expecting about 150 folks. It should be fun.”

The First Tee is a youth sports organization that uses the game of golf to build character, encourage healthy choices and instill life-enhancing values.

Some of the youngsters who benefit from programs offered by The First Tee of Aiken helped out during the this year's eighth edition of the Bridles & Birdies fundraiser by selling raffle tickets and performing other duties.

They included Aaliyah Walker, 17, a senior at Midland Valley High School and Lindsey Greene, 15, a sophomore at South Aiken High School.

“What I like about The First Tee is that I get to meet new people and have great opportunities,” Walker said. “I enjoy going to visit different chapters in the state. One year I went to Florida. Golf is a sport I play to calm my nerves.”

Greene said she likes spending time with her friends participating in The First Tee activities and believes that what she’s learning will be of value “when I’m older.”

Established in 2009, The First Tee of Aiken is based at Houndslake Country Club.

For more information about the nonprofit, visit

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.