PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – More than 2,600 golf facilities nationwide have registered to participate in the inaugural Patriot Golf Day, Sept. 1, with PGA Golf Professionals blending both their creativity and public relations support to provide for the families of the country?s fallen heroes who have become disabled or lost their lives as a result of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Patriot Golf Day, begun by PGA Golf Professional and Capt. Dan Rooney of Broken Arrow, Okla., has in effect taken wing with initiatives. The program is a joint initiative of The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association. For information regarding Patriot Golf Day, visit

?What we are witnessing is a tremendous start to honor and to support the families of those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country,? said PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb. ?There is no limit to the creativity and the spirit by which our member professionals have come forward for Patriot Golf Day. It is a very proud moment for me as a PGA Golf Professional.?

The following are examples of how PGA facilities are promoting Patriot Golf Day:

? PGA of America District 7 Director Randy Hunt, the general manager at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kan., has guided a patriotic theme for the weekend to reach a $1,000 goal. American flags on each flagstick and tee marker, a local VFW Post providing veterans, who will be arriving on Harley Davidson motorcycles to greet players on the first tee; a leader board to identify contributions made by every player; a ?thermometer? goal indicator attached to a flag on the 10th tee to keep the golfers updated how close they are to the goal and present PGA Golf Professionals and members of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to help explain to golfers the mission of Patriot Golf Day and who will serve as starters on the first and 10th tees.

? The PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., also will be awash in red, white and blue for Patriot Golf Day. The American Legion Unit 318 will participate and present a check, and bring members to help collect the $1 donations. The United States Coast Guard in Fort Pierce will bring two of its members who will display a 25-foot boat that is a part of the Homeland Security program. In addition, the Color Guard Unit from Patrick AFB will make a special appearance, while U.S. flags will serve as pin flags throughout the Wanamaker and Ryder Courses. The PGA Golf Club staff will be dressed in red, white and blue and wear flag pins on their lapels.

? The Illinois PGA Section, in conjunction with the 85th Illinois PGA Championship/PGA Professional National Championship, will seek voluntary donations from competitors at registration and through all three rounds. The Section will match all donations at the conclusion of the Championship. Additionally, long-time Illinois PGA partner, Nadler Golf Cars, will match all donations made by Illinois PGA members.

? At Coffee Creek Golf Course in Edmond, Okla., local ROTC students in uniform will greet all customers, solicit donations and coordinate a silent auction. Additionally, PGA Director of Instruction Greg Warren will donate 20 percent of his lesson revenue on Sept. 1.

? All five golf shops and the Golf Learning Center at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort will join in the Patriot Golf Day initiative. The resort plans to seek donations from players, members and hotel guests through Sept. 7.

? The Links Course at Hawks Prairie in Lacey, Wash., will have military veterans staffing the golf facility and accepting donations from players. The course also will host a free golf event for active duty military personnel. Financial support is being provided by a local merchant.

? Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, Fla., will collect donations and for every $10 donated to Wounded Warriors Inc., golfers will be entered in a raffle to win items such as golf lessons with the PGA Golf Professional, spa treatments and other amenities.

? Sunkist Country Club in Biloxi, Miss., is challenging other golf courses to match all $1 donations received at their club. Sunkist will send an extra dollar for each one received.

? Del Tura Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., is offering a free golf clinic for the first 25 golfers and is accepting donations. Golfers can play 18 holes for only $15, including a golf cart. All proceeds will be donated to Wounded Warriors Inc.

? Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii, is donating $1 over every round played to Wounded Warriors Inc., in support of the Fallen Heroes Foundation. In addition to participating in the Patriot Golf Day program, the facility is offering Military Appreciation prices throughout September.

? Oak Hill Golf Club in Sutherlin, Ore., made an early start to Patriot Golf Day. Last May, the ownership donated $25 per round to their local National Guard unit. The donations reached $5,000. Those funds went to families of three area guardsmen who perished in Iraq.

? Essex Fells Country Club in Essex Fells, N.J., announced it will charge each club member $5 to support Patriot Golf Day. Players will be entered in a raffle for a new driver.

? Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island, S.C., will hold a celebrity golf tournament on Sept. 1, and will honor four soldiers returning from Iraq as well as four firefighters who were first responders during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack in New York City.

? Grand Haven Golf Club in Grand Haven, Mich., which is owned by Rooney and his father, John, have secured matching funds for Patriot Golf Day from four different local companies. On Monday, Grand Haven will make a presentation at the local Rotary Club to challenge some more companies to do the same. Additionally, an ad will be posted in the local newspaper highlighting these companies and again issuing a challenge for others to respond.

Patriot Golf Day founder Rooney is an F-16 pilot in the 125th Fighter Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, who has logged two tours of duty to Iraq and is scheduled for a third tour in 2008. Rooney spends approximately 10 days a month flying. He is also in the process of establishing The Fallen Heroes Foundation, which will pay for the education of a spouse and/or children of a fallen or wounded soldier.

Rooney, who owns Grand Haven Golf Course in Michigan with his father, John, said that he has received countless e-mails of support, including sharing with PGA NEWS the following note from First Lt. Nathan Childers, now a financial consultant based in the Washington, D.C. area.

?I just wanted to applaud what you’re doing with this foundation. I spent a year in Iraq as an Infantry PL with the Georgia ARNG’s 48th BCT in 2005 and 2006 myself,? said Childers. ?Unfortunately, we transported more than our share of fallen heroes and personally understand the sacrifice these families are making every day.

?I am previously committed on Patriot Day and unfortunately can’t get 18 in that day, but I am donating, via your Web site, $1 for each of my (expected) rounds for 2007.?

Childers said that he applauds Patriot Golf Day?s premise of continual and unconditional support of the families of fallen heroes.

?I truly believe in what you’re doing as I’ve seen what my soldiers’ families are going through after all they’ve sacrificed for our country,? said Childers. ?I know my financial contribution is not much, but if there is anything at all I can do to assist your efforts, please let me know. Thanks again for everything you’re doing with the foundation and your military service as well. As a ?ground-pounder,? we appreciate what you USAF guys do for us up there.?

Childers added his own golf story about having a moment of enjoyment hitting golf balls in Iraq.

?Did you ever have a chance to hit balls with the local kid down near the south gate at Anaconda/Balad? He had three or four old clubs (a 4, 5, 8, and 9-iron, if I remember correctly)? It was about 10 of the worst balls I’ve ever seen, and charged $2 for 5 balls. After you hit 10 balls, he personally ran down and retrieved them and brought them back. It wasn’t easy hitting off the makeshift turf (an old rug), much less swinging with body armor and a Kevlar on, but it was worth every swing.?

The PGA of America is the world’s largest working sports organization, comprised of 28,000 men and women golf Professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf while serving millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position in a $62 billion-a-year industry by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives, and award-winning golf promotions. Today’s PGA Golf Professional is the public’s link to the game, serving an essential role in the operation of golf facilities throughout the country.

Contact: Jamie Carbone
[email protected]