Having worked at golf courses for over 20 years I am always amazed at the things you hear and the people this game allows you to meet. People from all walks of life play and enjoy the game of a lifetime. Every day on golf courses around the globe business deals are being completed, contracts are being signed, and sales are being made, while other people are simultaneously using the game to enjoy time outdoors or unwind from a stressful day at work. One of the more interesting places to eavesdrop on stories of great shots (real or imagined), trash talking, or debate on the baseball game the night before is the practice area. Walking around the driving range and talking to golfers on a weekend morning is one of my favorite things to do while at work.
This is just what I was doing one morning of Labor Day weekend when a golfer stopped me and said they wanted to talk to me. A big part of the reason for spending time on the range is to answer questions about the course, offer a quick tip, or just thank players for coming out to play. Being stopped is not uncommon but this golfer called me by name and I unfortunately could not recall their name as he was not one of our regular players. He quickly told me he was in from out of town and this was his first time at Innsbrook. While he was doing some research on the internet about our golf course he learned of the junior golf program at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital and had some questions about it. Most of you who have regularly read this blog know that one thing I never have a problem talking about is Ranken Jordan and the amazing kids there. I gladly answered his questions and during our conversation he told me that prior to coming to play at Innsbrook he had never heard of Ranken Jordan. While we talked he mentioned he had read almost all of my blog posts (without falling asleep) and asked by name about Cooper, Dakota, Abbey, Catherine, Zyron, and Michael. He also commented that he looked forward to learning more about Ranken Jordan and planned to do more research on the hospital and the great work that is done there on a daily basis.
This conversation on the driving range was very indicative of how Labor Day weekend went at Innsbrook. Many but not all golfers know that Labor Day weekend is Patriot Golf Day benefiting the Folds of Honor Foundation (www.foldsofhonor.org). Started by PGA Professional Major Dan Rooney in 2007, Folds of Honor "provides scholarships and assistance to the spouses and children of those killed or disabled in service to America." The work done by Major Rooney, Major Ed Pulido, and the entire team at Folds is nothing short of inspirational and heroic. During Labor Day weekend golfers are asked to donate to Patriot Golf Day so we can provide assistance to those who have given so much for our great Country. As I mentioned, many but not all golfers know about Patriot Golf Day and Folds of Honor. Just as I had the conversation with the gentleman about Ranken Jordan, my staff and I had the privilege of raising money for Folds and explaining to whom and why the golfers were donating money. Please take a few moments to visit the Folds of Honor website by clicking the link above to learn about their Mission, Major Dan & his team, the Patriot Golf Club, becoming a Wingman, and all of the other ways you can support our military heroes.
Raising money for whatever charity is near to you is always a wonderful thing. However, quite often what is more important is raising awareness for that same charity or charities. Spreading the word and informing people about charities they likely would be interested in supporting can potentially do far more good than making a financial contribution. This is another great thing about the game of golf -- the opportunity to raise a significant amount of money and reach a huge number of potential donors in a small amount of time. Labor Day weekend allowed us the opportunity to tell in excess of 450 golfers about Folds of Honor and Ranken Jordan. Hopefully those golfers who so generously donated to Patriot Golf Day went home and told their family and friends about the charity they contributed to. Whether it is Folds of Honor, Ranken Jordan, Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation, the V Foundation, or any charity you are passionate about, talk about it. Spread the word. Let people know why it is important to support the wide array of charities that are out there. The more people who know about the charity the more contributions that charity will receive. You spreading the word and helping to bring in more financial contributions mean more people (and animals) get the help they need.