For the fourth consecutive year, a group of Grand Strand club professionals and a few others in the golf business collectively known as the Myrtle Beach PGA Patriots will participate in a fundraising golf marathon for Patriot Golf Day.
At least 18 participants who are mostly area pros will attempt to play 100 holes of golf on Sunday, Sept. 3 at Rivers Edge Golf Club in Shallotte, N.C., and they are accepting donations for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which awards scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or injured during military service.
The effort was started by East Coast Golf Management pros and is spearheaded by Crow Creek Golf Club head pro Jimmy Biggs.
The golf marathon has raised nearly $90,000 in the past three years, including $40,000 last year. Donations have already reached $60,000 for this year's event. The group has a goal of $70,000 for Folds of Honor this year.
"The golf community has run with it," said participating pro Mike Benson of The Pearl. "For me personally I love that we're paying back something for the sacrifices these men and women have made for us."
The contributions and number of participating pros is increasing.
This year it includes: Biggs, Benson, Matt Biddington of Legends, Jay Smith of Prestwick, Brad Crumling of Founders Group, Jeff Diehl of Club Car, radio personality Brian Stefan of The Golf Monger with iNet golf, Wil Weldon, Chad Wiebelhaus of Thistle, Sebastian Beecroft of Rivers Edge, Mike Binder of Ahead headwear, Mike Buccerone of East Coast, Paige Cribb with the Carolinas PGA, Crow Creek and The Pearl teaching pro Jeff Davis, Mike DeLuca of Wachesaw East, Trey Ernstes of Brick Landing, Craig Kenley of Azalea Sands and Eric Morgan of Lockwood Folly.
In addition to straight donations, pros can be sponsored per hole, per birdie, etc., through the website address //bit.ly/2w4eesk.
The Myrtle Beach PGA Patriots effort is three days of events for the second straight year. A dinner with a guest speaker from the Folds of Honor will be held Friday, Sept. 1 at Crow Creek, and a scramble tournament at The Pearl on Sept. 2 is already sold out.
Benson has been part of the past three golf marathons. The group plans to tee off at 6:30 a.m. and play for approximately 12 hours. "It's a ton of fun," Benson said. "After about 36 holes your body kind of goes numb. It goes on autopilot until it wakes back up for the final 18 holes."
The Folds of Honor was created in 2007 by Maj. Dan Rooney. According to the organization, PGA pros across the country have raised more than $22 million through Patriot Golf Day over the past 10 years, including $6.1 million in 2016.
Folds of Honor donations are also being accepted through the Myrtle Beach Junior Golf Foundation by clicking on the "Warrior Fund" tab at www.mbjgf.org. The foundation's Joe Carbonell will be attending a large event Sept. 25 in Oklahoma City, where he will be giving free lessons to all veterans and their families.
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