ORLANDO, Fla. – Folds of Honor
, a nonprofit that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled Veterans, announces a new agreement with PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America, to bring together two important initiatives to serve military families through golf – Patriot Golf Day
and PGA HOPE
(Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), the flagship military program of PGA REACH.
Beginning this year, the two organizations will come together to expand and grow annual fundraising efforts for both Patriot Golf Day and PGA HOPE, to better serve the needs of Veterans and their families through the game of golf. The announcement was made today at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, the annual gathering of nearly 40,000 golf industry professionals.
With this partnership, Folds of Honor is excited to announce that the celebration of Patriot Golf Day—a nationwide initiative to raise awareness and scholarship funds for the families of fallen and wounded Veterans—will now take place over Memorial Day Weekend (May 22-25) to honor the sacrifice of America’s heroes. While the formal Patriot Golf Day celebration moves to Memorial Day Weekend, Folds of Honor encourages all partners, PGA Professionals and golf facilities nationwide to continue to participate in a way and time that fits their schedule.
“We are so impressed by the outpouring of support that the golf community has consistently shown for Folds of Honor over the last 13 years,” said Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, CEO and founder of Folds of Honor and a PGA Member. “Working closer with PGA REACH, we can now offer opportunities and service that benefit both our Veterans through PGA HOPE and their families through educational scholarships funded by Patriot Golf Day. I am very proud to stand with my fellow PGA Professionals and take this next step together with PGA HOPE, to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Patriot Golf Day began as a grassroots fundraising initiative over Labor Day Weekend in 2007, with golfers nationwide encouraged to add an extra dollar to their green fees to fund Folds of Honor scholarships. Over the last 13 years, the effort has grown to encompass a variety of fundraising events, tournaments and golf marathons led by PGA Professionals and golfers across America, resulting in nearly 24,500 scholarships to benefit Folds of Honor—in all 50 states and 41 PGA Sections.
PGA HOPE introduces golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. The program includes a developmental six-to-eight-week curriculum, taught by PGA Professionals trained in adaptive golf and military cultural competency. In 2019, PGA HOPE programming impacted 2,500 Veterans nationwide.
“We couldn’t be prouder of the work that PGA Professionals have done through PGA HOPE, utilizing the game of golf as a form of therapy and rehabilitation for Veterans,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “By partnering with Folds of Honor and Patriot Golf Day, we can expand our footprint within the families of those we serve through golf. This partnership is a natural extension of our long-standing mission to support our nation’s heroes.”
Among the many supporters of the Patriot Golf Day campaign is Jack Nicklaus, who has served a number of times as honorary chair of the event, and, as a PGA REACH Trustee, is also a strong supporter of PGA HOPE. Most recently, Mr. Nicklaus and the team from Nicklaus Design, have donated design services for the redesign of Grand Haven (Mich.) Golf Club. Located just a few hundred yards from Lake Michigan, Grand Haven was the site of the first Patriot Golf Day, and in an effort led by Mr. Nicklaus, Nicklaus Design and Lt. Colonel Rooney, it is being reimagined to American Dunes Golf Club. Proceeds from American Dunes will benefit Folds of Honor, and the course will also serve as a home and respite for PGA HOPE participants.
“I never had the privilege to serve our great nation, but I am passionate and committed to any initiative that allows us to recognize, assist and support the men and women of our military, who have sacrificed so much for our freedom,” said Mr. Nicklaus. “When we can use the game of golf as the vehicle to give back, it becomes even more meaningful to me. That’s why I feel blessed and honored to partner with great organizations like Folds of Honor and PGA REACH.”