It started as an idea for a Chamber "After Hours" an event where business professionals can mingle and network after the work day.

However, Chris Tuohey with Sand Creek Station golf course wanted to take that idea to the next level, and developed a program called "Biz-Links," giving members of the community a chance to network while playing rounds of golf.

"It's about really networking yourself amongst your local constituents," Tuohey said. "... It's a non-competitive setting and just about having fun."

The program is open to both beginners and experienced golfers. It begins in April with an initial cost of $40 per person. Three clinics will help beginners learn more about the game, then the group will start meeting weekly to play a round of golf on Tuesdays. Golfers will be assigned to different small groups of about three to four people, and participants do not have to play every week if their schedule does not allow it.

Weekly cost is $15 for nine holes (includes practice balls, golf cart and one complimentary beverage). Tuohey also is planning an end of year celebration in August that will include barbecue and live music.

The setting will be relaxed, and the focus will be on building community and relationships. You don't have to be a Newton resident to participate if you simply want to learn more about the community, you're welcome to come, said Zach Frey, a golf professional with Sand Creek Station.

Sand Creek Station is serving as a "beta site" for Kemper Sports to see if the program is successful.

"It's a way that we can drive additional rounds of golf to Sand Creek Station, encouraging beginners to learn the game of golf," Tuohey said. "... We as operators are always looking for new and innovative ways to grow the game of golf. Sometimes thinking outside the box you have your greatest results."

Tuohey also is planning a free workshop teaching the basics of running a golf tournament. The class is at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and includes breakfast.

Contact 284-6161 for more information about Biz-Links or the workshop.