GAM Supports Golf Events Supporting Veterans

If you are a golfer with an affinity for veterans, there are several Michigan events on the links this season that help to support those causes in a number of ways.

The Michigan Armed Forces Hospitality Centers will host the Tee it Up for Freedom golf outing on Friday, Aug. 2 at Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor. This event helps to fund the Michigan Freedom Centers which are USO-type assistance lounges for members of the military, veterans and their families. There are locations at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and military processing centers (MEPS) in Troy and Lansing.

“The Freedom Centers were born in 2011 when veterans identified a need for a place like this during very active travel times for them and their families,” said MI Freedom Center CEO Patrick Colbeck. “When I was elected to the Senate, I saw other airports were taking really good care of the military. When they came to Michigan, all we had was a banner saying ‘welcome to baggage claim.’ We want to make sure our military and our veterans are appreciated and have a place where they can relax and have a chance to collect their thoughts.”

Michigan Freedom Centers first set up a temporary facility with the cooperation of Delta Airlines which has developed into a permanent site and expansion to other terminals at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and to military processing centers in Lansing and Troy. A volunteer staff of more than 200 keeps the Centers going and Colbeck acknowledges that is an essential part of his organization’s ability to properly serve soldiers and their families.

“Our mission is pretty simple,” said Colbeck. “We are serving those who serve us.”

For more information about Michigan Freedom Centers and this year’s golf outing go to Donations are always accepted at any time.

For those lucky enough to have had a hole-in-one, there is the Detroit News/GAM Patriot Day Hole-In-One Contest to benefit Folds of Honor on Monday, Sept. 9 at Whispering Willows Golf Course in Livonia. There are divisions for men, women, seniors, juniors and professionals and prizes are awarded in each division. Participants may also make a donation to the Folds of Honor to buy themselves extra shots. To enter the contest, email the following information to [email protected]: Name, address, age, gender, phone, email, course and date of the hole-in-one and preferred tee time for the contest (morning or afternoon).

“Our main focus is to celebrate the accomplishment of hitting a hole-in-one on a regulation par 3 and the past 11 years we have also raised money for the Folds of Honor for their scholarship foundation,” said Bill Wright, who runs the tournament. “It is almost like a family Thanksgiving dinner because you see some of the same people coming year after year.”

New this year is the GAM Interclub Contest. Check out who is on your club’s hole-in-one plaque and gather up four members for a special GAM Club Closest to the Pin Best Ball Contest. All four players will compete whenever they set up their time and the best two shots from two different players will be used for the total score. Prize awarded to the winning club. For more information email [email protected]

Billy Casper Golf will host the World’s Largest Golf Outing (WLGO) for the ninth consecutive year on Monday, Aug. 5. Since its inception in 2011, more than 62,000 golfers in 34 states have played golf and raised more than $4.1 million for military charities. This year, the WLGO will benefit the Fisher House Foundation which provides a “home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Michigan’s first Fisher House is currently under construction in Ann Arbor and a second has been approved by the Veterans Administration to be built in Detroit near the John Dingell VA Hospital. Golf courses can host an event or golfers can register to play in any of the established events going on around the country. For more information go to

You can also do your own fund raiser at your club and donate directly to either Ann Arbor or Detroit. Please contact GAM Member Relations Chairperson Janina Jacobs at [email protected].

The John Dingell VA Hospital in Detroit and the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor are collaborating to broaden their visually impaired golfer program. The VA is looking for driving ranges and golf courses where up to 24 golfers and their mentors could receive instruction and assistance two or three times prior to a national competition in Iowa in September. If you can help or have a suggestion of a facility that might be able to accommodate these golfers or if you are interested in being a mentor, please contact Janina Jacobs at [email protected]. This is an annual event so if you cannot help this year, please consider it in 2020.

The Member Relations Committee has made veterans and military initiatives and support a priority, since there are over 650,000 veterans in Michigan and many of our GAM members are veterans or who have family members who are. Chair Janina Jacobs adds:

“If you know of other events or outings benefitting the many Veterans Service Organizations (VSO’s) or like causes, please let us know. We owe our veterans so much.”