Callaway Golf joined with Birdies for the Brave this week to honor two local Purple Heart recipients from Georgia by hosting the 15th Callaway Warrior Club Fitting of 2015. Conducted during the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, the event offered these two American heroes the opportunity to be fitted with their own set of custom golf clubs on the practice facility and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Callaway Equipment Truck, where TOUR players are fitted on-site during tournaments. The program is designed to aid in the rehabilitation process while expressing gratitude to the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces for their service and sacrifice.
“Golf is an extraordinary way for wounded service members to heal from the physical and psychological wounds of war, as well as a great coping mechanism as they reintegrate into civilian life,” says Jeff Austin, Callaway Golf’s regional director for North and South Carolina. “We are honored to work in partnership with the PGA TOUR and Birdies for the Brave to express our sincere appreciation and give something back to those who do so much to keep America safe and free.”
“I never thought I’d take another step,” says Marine Corps Lance Corporal Colton Carlson, who stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in May 2012 during a tour in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of both legs.
Walking for the first time with two artificial legs from physical therapy to his room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center – just a 150-yard trip – left him winded, sore, and bleeding. He describes the experience as one of the lowest points of his life.
Colton grew up in Colorado, hiking its tallest 14,000-foot peaks with his father and brother. He thought his chance to do that ever again was gone. However, the Warfighter Sports program, part of Disabled Sports USA – a Birdies for the Brave Homefront Group – gave him hope. Sports not only improved his fitness, but also helped to increase his confidence and motivation; and gave him a reason to push forward with his therapy.
A who’s who of PGA TOUR players and past and current NFL players joined corporate sponsors and local golfers in raising more than $200,000 for Birdies for the Brave through the annual fundraising event at TPC Sawgrass in November.
The event kicked off on Sunday evening with a dinner and silent auction in the clubhouse, where PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem honored the family of a local hero killed in action by presenting them with a mortgage-free home in partnership with the Military Warriors Support Foundation and Wells Fargo. The following day, golfers converged on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course for a fun-filled day of golf and philanthropy. Highlighting the tournament, each foursome was paired with a wounded hero. A variety of unique military-themed activities and contests were conducted throughout the day on the course, including golfers hitting their drives wearing a flak jacket and having hit around a large missile launcher serving as a fairway obstacle. The day concluded with an awards luncheon.