Bob Beach, the 2013 Patriot Award winner, a New England PGA Section Hall of Fame member and a GRAA Top 50 Growth of the Game Teacher, is the PGA Head Professional at Braintree (Massachusetts) Municipal Golf Course.
A couple of years ago, I decided to spend some time — two hours — on Sunday mornings with a very special group: a group of about 10 veterans, all 80-years of age or older, who fought in World War II and the Korean War. We so often focus on younger veterans who can be a valuable demographic for us for the next 20-30 years, but we can sometimes forget about our oldest golf lovers. From our sessions, they’ve gotten the message about how important some kind of physical activity is to their continuing health — even at their age — and the mere feeling of hitting golf balls satisfies them in a way that’s hard to describe. We then go into the golf shop for coffee afterwards.
I get golf equipment and golf balls donated to our veterans year-round as part of the New England PGA Section’s Clubs for Vets program. The program is free, so it’s not like the club is raking in money from having these veterans on site, but the true business impact is in the great vibes they bring to the club. These are men with amazing stories, who are so dedicated to the game and they are always trying to improve. Their dedication to the game is something we can all emulate. I feel this older group of veterans inspires other golfers to continue playing. Every round of golf is precious.