Edward Katchur is the PGA Head Professional at Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club in Sarasota, Florida.
This year, we will host our 15th annual “Armed Forces Cup,” a Patriot Golf Day / Folds of Honor fundraising individual match play event for our members. We usually plan it to take place around Veterans Day, to kick off the Florida golf season; this year it will be held on November 2. We have 1,800 golf members at our club, many of whom are military veterans who enjoy competing against players from other branches of the military. Last year, we had 32 players on each of the four teams, representing every military branch; participants ranged in age from 50-89. Players don’t have to be veterans to participate. Each team has a captain: Army, Navy / Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines. Every foursome, consisting of one player from each of the branches, plays three six-hole matches; each match is worth a point. To get the word out, our committee conducts raffles and fundraisers, and solicits sponsor tee signs. We are planning to give each player a hat again this year with a military logo (we pay a licensing fee to do this) and a custom-logoed glove. There are fireworks in the morning before play begins. We do an 8:00 a.m. shotgun, finishing around 1:00 p.m., followed by a luncheon, prizes and a guest speaker. Last year, our speaker was a Gold Star mother from Washington State, provided by Folds of Honor.
There is a lot of camaraderie, pride and competitive spirit for this event each year. Players take great pride in wearing team-colored shirts in support of their military branch. The winning team gets to keep the Armed Forces Cup for the coming year. The philanthropic element of the tournament is our priority. In 2017, we donated $12,000 to the Folds of Honor, with 60 percent coming from the hole-sign sponsorships and 40 percent from raffles and entry fees. It is a challenge for our staff to pull it off every year – we add up 180 scorecards at the end of the day. We pay out prize money to the winning branch – 1st and 2nd-place finishers receive golf shop credit, $30 a player for first and $20 a player for second; winners usually buy more than what they’ve earned as credit. At lunch, we recognize our veterans, and “top guns” – players who won all three of their matches – each receives an additional $10 credit in the shop. The club realized revenue through the entry fees that include cart fee and luncheon. The golf shop profits from tee gifts and tournament golf shop credits.