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.”
Both of the participating warriors were very appreciative for the opportunity to emulate what it’s like to be a professional golfer on the PGA TOUR, and are very deserving of the honor. Originally from Ohio and currently stationed at Ft. Stewart, GA, U.S. Army Specialist Skyler Gill deployed to Iraq in 2010 with the 416th transportation company out of Hunter Army Air Field as part of a route clearance and convoy security team. He was wounded in action by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast that left him unconscious, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). SPC Gill has been on active duty for eight years and is married with two children.
“I am very grateful to Birdies for the Brave and Callaway Golf for the amazing experience at the RSM Classic,” said SPC Gill after the event. “I’m proud to be able to swing a golf club, because many of my brothers and sisters in the military who have been wounded in action cannot do that. Golf is great therapy for me and my injuries, and helps me escape, relax, and unwind. And to be able to tee up a ball beside the likes of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson was really incredible.
Also participating in the fitting was U.S. Army Major Thomas Crabtree from Hinesville, GA. Major Crabtree was conducting an operation with a Special Forces team to capture a local Al-Qaeda leader in the small village of Al-Alil, south of Mosul, Iraq, when his vehicle hit a pressure plate activated improvised explosive device (IED). The explosion caused the vehicle to roll onto its side as it caught fire. As a result of the blast, MAJ Crabtree was rendered unconscious and was extracted from the vehicle under enemy fire. He was evacuated to the Special Forces compound where he was diagnosed with a TBI. He has two children.
Callaway Golf looks forward to partnering with Birdies for the Brave again in 2016, when Birdies for the Brave will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. For more information, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org.