Callaway Golf joined with Birdies for the Brave this week to honor two veterans by hosting the first of 15 Callaway Warrior Club Fittings to be held in 2017. Conducted during the PGA TOUR’s CareerBuilder Challenge on Tuesday at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA WEST in La Quinta, CA, the event provided these two American heroes with 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.
Both warriors were very appreciative for the opportunity to emulate what it’s like to be a professional golfer on the PGA TOUR – including Purple Heart recipient Sergeant First Class Joseph Masseur, who joined the Arizona National Guard in 1996 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. He subsequently volunteered for a second deployment to Afghanistan in 2009 as part of the Nevada National Guard. Just one month into his deployment, Masseur was on patrol when the vehicle in which he was a passenger rolled over an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in the amputation of his left leg below the knee as well as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Masseur was medically retired from the Army in December 2011. Joining Masseur in the fitting was U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Lisa Kukula. Kukula was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as an intelligence analyst working with the Special Forces, and sustained several injuries during the course of her duties – resulting in PTSD. She currently volunteers as a veteran services officer with the VFW Post 9934 assisting other veterans, and credits golf with helping in her recovery.
In addition to the custom club fitting, lunch and a behind-the-scenes tour, Masseur and Kukula enjoyed the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with PGA TOUR Player and Birdies for the Brave Player Supporter Jerry Kelly.
“To watch him on the range, putting in the time with one leg and really swinging the club very well, was inspiring to me,” Kelly said of Masseur. “It’s great to watch, and very motivating; it challenges me to go out there and do my job and be happy with what I’m doing.”
To learn more about Birdies for the Brave and the many programs available to active duty service members, veterans and military families, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org. For information about the Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program and find a list of upcoming events, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org/callawaywarriorclubfittings. For tickets and information about the CareerBuilder Challenge January 17-22 at PGA WEST, visit www.careerbuilderchallenge.com.
Photos by Chad Coleman/Callaway Golf