Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. and Far Hills, N.J. – Labor Day Weekend was a chance for golfers nationwide to honor our American heroes by participating in the Fourth Annual Patriot Golf Day. With the support of PGA Professionals and USGA Members hosting Patriot Golf Day Weekend events at their facilities, a record amount of more than $2.7 million has been recorded as of Oct. 29 to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation, bringing the total to more than $8 million since the event began in 2007.
Patriot Golf Day, jointly supported by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA), is the primary fundraiser for Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation. A total of 1,163 educational scholarships have been awarded by Folds of Honor since 2007, with hundreds more to be awarded in 2011.
"Since its origin in 2007, it has been extremely gratifying to witness the support that PGA Professionals have given to Patriot Golf Day," said PGA of America President Jim Remy. "The game of golf leads the way in giving back to others in so many ways, and Patriot Golf Day lies at the heart of that benevolence in serving so many deserving families of our American heroes."
Patriot Golf Day was originated by Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 pilot, PGA Professional and USGA Member from Broken Arrow, Okla., who has served three tours of duty in Iraq. During Labor Day Weekend at participating courses nationwide, golfers were asked to donate at least $1 for each round of golf. Non-golfers participated by making a donation to the foundation at its website at FoldsofHonor.com. As a proud supporter and Official Card of Patriot Golf Day, American Express supported the Folds of Honor Foundation by matching donations made using American Express® Cards¹ during Patriot Golf Day Weekend (Sept. 3-6).
President George W. Bush (43) was named honorary Chairman of 2010 Patriot Golf Day Weekend and helped "kick-off" the weekend festivities by playing a round of golf with Major Rooney, Remy, veteran double-amputee Heath Calhoun and FOX & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, Sept. 3, in Waco, Texas.
The inaugural Patriot Golf Day was held Sept. 1, 2007, and resulted in donations of more than $1.1 million. More than $2.1 million was raised in 2008 and more than $2.3 million was raised in 2009.
"Thanks to the selfless fundraising efforts of PGA Professionals, USGA Members and Clubs, and amateur golfers across the country, Patriot Golf Day has seen another record-breaking year in donations received," Rooney said. "Because of this generosity, we can truly make a difference and make sure that our national heroes and their families receive the educational support they deserve."
Individuals interested in contributing Folds of Honor, and those applying for scholarships should visit FoldsofHonor.com. The 2011 application process begins in January.
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf. Visit pga.com or PlayGolfAmerica.com to learn more.
The USGA is the national governing body of golf in the USA and Mexico. The USGA annually conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and 10 national amateur championships. It also conducts two state team championships and helps conduct the Walker Cup Match, Curtis Cup Match and World Amateur Team Championships. The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, maintains a Handicap System and celebrates the history of the game. Since 1983, the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program has awarded more than $31 million to more than 400 research projects for better turf and a better environment at universities across the country. The USGA also funds an ongoing "For the Good of the Game" grants program, which has allocated more than $65 million over 13 years to programs that bring the game’s values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities.
Folds of Honor Foundation was founded in May 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 Fighter Pilot, PGA Professional, and USGA member. A decorated military pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, Major Rooney has served three combat tours in Iraq. It was after his second tour, while a passenger on a commercial flight, that Major Rooney witnessed an event that would profoundly change his life. As the plane landed, the pilot announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have an American hero on board – Corporal Brock Bucklin. And his twin brother, Corporal Brad Bucklin, is accompanying him home from Iraq. As a sign of respect, please remain seated while Corporal Bucklin’s family receives him in his final homecoming." Major Rooney watched through the window of the plane as the flag-draped casket was lowered. He saw a family waiting for Brock, and a little four-year old boy waiting for his father. This tragic homecoming inspired Major Rooney to create the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Folds of Honor Foundation provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation. Patriot Golf Day is the flagship fundraiser for the Folds of Honor Foundation. Patriot Golf Day, jointly supported by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association, is held each Labor Day Weekend at participating facilities nationwide. Major supporters of Patriot Golf Day include American Express, Lifelock, Titleist, Bushnell, AHEAD, Golf Pride, Pima Direct, PrideSports, St. Andrews Products and Jerky John’s. Individuals and companies interested in contributing to the Folds of Honor Foundation, and those applying for scholarships should visit FoldsofHonor.com.