I had one of the most remarkable golf outings of my life last week, and not just because my team scored a birdie on the first hole (which we did, for the record). In fact, we only got through five holes before we had to quit.
But it was a great day of golf.
I got to play in a memorial tournament with three combat wounded veterans, all of whom were invited to golf for free. The tournament was sponsored by a local family who puts on the event each year in honor of their brother who was killed in 2001. This year, they also honored combat veterans in the Wyakin Warrior program.
One of our teammates had never golfed. Learning to golf on the fly (instead of taking lessons or hitting a few buckets first) is tough. It’s even tougher when you can’t walk because of war injuries.
But that did not matter one whip. The course (Warm Springs golf course) had a specialized golf cart, specially designed for golfers who lack mobility.
What made the day perfect, though, were the other golfers who took every opportunity to thank the veterans, shake their hands, and welcome them. We were not exactly the fastest foursome on the course, but not one person complained. To the contrary, they went out of their way to tell us not to sweat it. The most common comment was, “Are you having fun?”
After five holes the cart’s battery died, so we returned to the club house. The golf pro there offered free lessons to the veterans.
It turned out to be a special day, made almost perfect by golfers with a heart. They are our heroes of the week.
(This video describes a wonderful, all veteran, all volunteer golf course at American Lake, Washington. The specialized cart we used is shown in the video.)[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpP8ZDjcqyQ[/youtube]