Golf courses throughout the United States collect donations every Labor Day Weekend for the annual Patriot Golf Day, a fundraiser for Folds of Honor. This nonprofit organization provides educational scholarships and assistance to the families of lost or disabled military members. Nearly 5,200 facilities host Patriot Golf Day nationwide, including Shady Brook Golf & RV in Sumterville, FL., Sept. 2 – 4
Kindness is the root of this benevolent outreach effort. It started with Dan Rooney who is a decorated Air Force pilot and PGA professional. He was on a flight in Grand Rapids, MI, and the pilot announced that there was an American hero on board asking (as a sign of respect) that passengers remain in their seats until the casket of Cpl. Brock Bucklin was removed from the plane.
Reflecting on this event, Rooney began thinking about his own family and what they would do in a situation like this. During those 30 minutes of contemplation on the plane, Dan Rooney knew he had to do something. That “something” was the beginning of Patriot Golf Day, which supports the Folds of Honor scholarship program.
Labor Day weekend is the busiest golf time of the year. Golfers can donate a minimum of $1 to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation. A nonprofit organization, it provides post-secondary scholarships for close family of military members that were killed or disabled during service. Since 2007, Patriot Golf Day has raised more than $20 million, awarding the Foundation nearly 8,000 scholarships.
Rooney efforts also include the development of The Patriot Golf Club. This is a spectacular Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course built in the hills east of Owasso, OK. The course, with stunning views of Tulsa and carved through stone canyons, opened last spring. Rooney hopes The Patriot Golf Club will generate additional funds to support the Folds of Honor Foundation.
The Patriot measures 7,200 yards. What`s unique is it features holes with names of American patriots and heroes including George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower. It also holds a daily tribute to American service members. Rooney says that play stops every day for the ringing of a bell. At 1300 hours, it rings 13 times, during two-and-a-half minutes of silence on the course. This pays homage to the 13 folds of the American flag.
A Quote to Remember for Patriot Golf Day
William Wordsworth once wrote: “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, we will grieve not, but rather find strength in what remains behind.” The Folds of Honor emphasizes finding the strength in what remains behind.