Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Patriot Golf Day

Last year, I played Grand Haven Golf Club, and I discovered I was at the course where Patriot Golf Day got its start. Fighter pilot and golf course owner Dan Rooney started Patriot Golf Day - which now is a weekend - two years ago to raise money for Fallen Heroes Foundation and Wounded Warriors Inc.

Here is the story from the USGA.

Rooney and his father bought Grand Haven Golf Club in 1998, and renovated it into a very nice course. Tall trees surround tight fairways, making it a bit of a shotmaker's course.

But that's not important right now. What's important is letting everyone know that this year's Patriot Golf Day is scheduled for this weekend - Friday through Sunday. At public courses across the country, $1 in all greens fees will be donated to the two military groups. And private courses are expected to add $5 from each member's monthly dues.

The first year, the nationwide event raised about $1.2 million. In 2008, it raised $2 million. In 2009, let's shoot for $3 million.

Interestly, I was watching TV the other day when a commercial aired about Patriot Golf Day. Two young boys appeared on the screen, saying they'd be playing for their father, Capt. Chris Cash, who was killed in 2004 while serving with the N.C. National Guard in Iraq.

I had done several stories on Cash and his death, and I remember talking to his two sons. I was lucky - I had my dad around for almost 40 years. They weren't even out of school when their father was killed.

I guess because I played the course where it all started, and a couple of kids who I know are playing for someone special in their lives, I feel an attachment to the event. Plus, my niece just returned from tour of duty in Iraq; and my dad served in World War II; and many of my other family members served or are serving in the military.

There are a few courses in the Rocky Mount area from which to choose, but with more than 4,000 courses participating, I'm sure you can find somewhere to play this weekend.

Here's a list:

So, what do you say? I'll be playing. Will you?

Photo is of Tim Hygh on No. 13 at Grand Haven Golf Club, a nice 153-yard par 3 with a huge waste bunker in the front and right of the green.

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