Between the gopher holes in the yard and my husband’s golf obsession, I sometimes feel like I’m living my own personal version of Caddy Shack. I figure my husband can’t be the only one who loves the game this much. So, since the Masters is this week, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to cover the golf-related organizations that are out there helping servicemembers and veterans, starting with Birdies for the Brave.
Birdies for the Brave, a PGA Tour Charities Inc. program, was started in 2005 by pro golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to raise money for servicemembers injured in combat. Phil pledged $100 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle made during the season. The money would go to help two veteran-related charities: Homes for Our Troops and Special Operations Warrior Foundation. It has since grown to include over a dozen other golfers, including Bubba Watson, son of a former Green Beret, supporting additional Department of Defense approved charities (Operation Homefront, Navy SEAL Foundation, Military Warriors Support Foundation, United Through Reading, Green Beret Foundation, K9s for Warriors, Wounded Warrior Project and Feherty’s Troops First Foundation).
The program is designed to express the PGA players’ thanks for the service and sacrifice military members and their families have endured over the years. The charity sponsors golf-related programs, such as fitting wounded warriors for special clubs or letting active duty members caddie for the big guys for a day. It also supports more lifestyle geared programs, such as providing baby showers for military moms-to-be, helping wounded warriors acquire mortgage-free homes, or contributing to scholarships for military children.
In addition to the charitable efforts mentioned above, Birdies for the Brave also offers free tickets to active duty, reserve, and retired military members and their dependents to select golfing events (PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, and Web.com Tour). Many venues also offer a “Patriot Outpost,” where military members (active duty, reserve, and retired) can receive complimentary food and beverages. Individuals wishing to take advantage of the programs will need to provide a valid military ID at the gate and the outpost entrance. You should also go on their webpage, provide your basic information, and print the voucher to take to the gate along with your ID.
Some events may also offer discounted rates to former military members who separated, but did not retire (these are generally limited to 2 tickets per day per veteran). Be prepared to provide your service information when you complete the online voucher form, so they can verify your service.
If trying to learn the difference between a “chili dip” and a “fried egg” in golf parlance really isn’t your thing, but you’d like to support the program anyway, you can sign up to be a sponsor (whether that’s as a corporate sponsor to the tune of up to $50,000 or a personal sponsorship of $100 for an “In Memory Of” sign), volunteer, or purchase Birdies for the Brave apparel.
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