FORT WORTH, Texas – For many people, golf is an opportunity to relax and socialize. For PGA TOUR players, it’s a career. But for thousands of veterans who have returned home from combat with serious injuries, golf is salvation – a distraction from the memories of war, and an invaluable tool in the rehabilitation process. And thanks to Callaway Golf, wounded service members across the U.S. are having an opportunity to benefit from golf’s healing properties.
As part of Birdies for the Brave, a national military outreach initiative proudly supported by the PGA TOUR, Callaway Golf is providing wounded veterans at 15 TOUR events in 2016 with an opportunity to be fitted with their own customized set of brand new clubs through the company’s unique Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program. Participating veterans also enjoy private golf instruction; an exclusive inside-the-ropes tournament experience, including the opportunity to visit the Callaway Golf Equipment Truck and see how the clubs are made and fitted on-site for TOUR players; and for some, one-on-one time with some of the top players in the field.
“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 Callaway Golf Director of Strategic Partnerships, Randy Rubin. “We are honored to work in partnership with Birdies for the Brave to express our sincere gratitude and give something back to these courageous American heroes, who have sacrificed so much to help keep America safe and free.”
During this week’s DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, Purple Heart recipient and former U.S. Army Combat Engineer Jeremy Balmonte from Burleson, Texas, who was seriously injured during his tour of duty in Iraq, had the opportunity to interact with PGA TOUR player Kevin Chappell and be fitted for his own set of custom Callaway clubs.
Balmonte was injured in 2005 during a deployment to Iraq where his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. The blast from the bomb rendered Jeremy with brain trauma along with rods and pins in his legs and feet. He is a recipient of the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained in combat and resides with his wife and two children in Burleson, Texas.
Joining Balmonte at the fitting was wounded hero U.S. Military Police Officer Christopher Nunnery from Fort Worth, Texas, who was serving as the squad leader during a routine patrol in the city of Samarra, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom when a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) went right over the top of his vehicle. Christopher returned fire and within seconds a second RPG struck the vehicle, causing shrapnel to fly into his right hand and right side of his face. Christopher used his fingers to stop the bleeding in his face, which the doctors claim to have saved his life. Christopher has undertaken more than 20 surgeries and received the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained in combat.
The Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program is just one of many military outreach initiatives that are part of Birdies for the Brave, a program dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Named in 2012 by the White House one of the top 20 charities that support military families, Birdies for the Brave was originally created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to support combat-wounded veterans. Since then, Birdies for the Brave has joined with TOUR players, Tournament Players Clubs (TPCs) and corporate sponsors to raise more than $15 million for military homefront charities that are supported by TOUR players and conducts outreach and appreciation activities during more than 60 tournaments annually.
For more information, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook. For more information on the Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program and to view a list of upcoming events, please visit https://birdiesforthebrave.org/callawaywarriorclubfittings/.