Golf is a sport with a long history of supporting United States service men and women. Golfers have maintained a strong tradition of respect for the troops since World War I, when the PGA began raising funds for a Red Cross ambulance as the war was going on. Following this initiative, golf only continued its support of the US military. The 1942 Masters Tournament, for instance, funded the installation of a driving range and putting green at Camp Gordon, also providing playing equipment for those stationed there.
Carrying on the tradition
Today, golf/military relations are as strong as ever in the US. There are a variety of benefit events and programs that carry on the tradition started by the Red Cross ambulance project. PING, for example, has implemented a military mail-in rebate program where active military members can mail in to receive clubs ranging from drivers to wedges. The company also provides clubs to military members stationed in various war zones around the world.
But these efforts are just the tip of the iceberg. This month, Billy Casper Golf will hold its 7th annual “World’s Largest Golf Outing.” The event’s name is self-explanatory; it strives to be the largest golf event held on one day — and it aims to benefit veterans and communities across the US.
Furthermore, Stetson University College of Law will hold its third annual “Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Classic Golf Tournament” this month to “benefit a scholarship for veterans and the St. Petersburg Vet Center.”
These events are just a small example of golf’s continued impact on the military community.
How to help
But how can you get involved in this growing tradition of support? Here are a few other ways you can bring golf to both former and current troops, provided by Golf Advisor:
Play a round with a veteran
Many veterans unfortunately lack the resources to play golf as much as they might want to. By offering to take a veteran on your next round, you will give them an easy opportunity to play the sport they love, all while using the experience as a chance to say “thank you.”
Donate golf equipment
As exemplified by PING, golf equipment drives are a great way to bring the sport to service members who might otherwise be unable to enjoy it. If you have no other way of contributing, perhaps you could donate a few of your spare clubs, balls, or other playing equipment. A small donation could go a long way.
Organize a fundraising event
If you are able to take the previous tip a step further, expand your ambition into a full-fledged military fundraising event. Perhaps talk to other members of your club and plan a charity tournament, or maybe organize an equipment and clothing drive and send the donations overseas. The more ambitious the idea, the larger the impact.