The veteran benefit scramble heads to Stoatin Brae on October 19, 2018.
By Greg Johnson
The Battle Creek, Michigan branch of the PGA HOPE, otherwise known as the PGA Helping Our Patriots Everywhere program, announced it will host its HOPE for Veterans Pro-Am event on Friday, Oct. 19 at Stoatin Brae Golf Club at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in Augusta, Michigan.
The event, which features a modified scramble format with a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. on the 19th, will allocate funds raised to benefit the Veterans at the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek by improving Custer Greens Golf Course on the grounds of the VAMC.
Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m., with a lunch from noon to 1:00p.m. before the event. Each team will comprise one professional and four amateurs, and be joined by a veteran from the Battle Creek PGA HOPE Program. Snacks, awards, and prizes will follow the event and the cost is $600 per team.
Bob Bales, PGA professional and event organizer, has been a Project HOPE volunteer since 2012. Throughout the years, he has brought golf, lessons, equipment, and support to the residents and veterans at the VA Medical Center.
“I do it because I like to see the smiles when some of these gentlemen find out they can play golf; even adaptive golf in some cases—when they might not otherwise have the chance,” Bales said.
Equipment such as clubs and balls, and even hats and t-shirts are donated by the PGA and other supporters of the cause.
PGA HOPE is a therapeutic program designed to aid in the rehabilitative process for disabled and injured veterans. As the flagship military program of PGA REACH, which is the charitable foundation of PGA of America, PGA HOPE is led by PGA professionals certified in golf instruction and is a six-to-eight week program leveraging the social interaction golf often provides for community assimilation. It is offered at no cost for military veterans and as a non-profit, PGA HOPE accepts contributions through the Michigan PGA Foundation.
“We rely on donations to continue to offer this program to the Veterans in our area,” Bales said. “Currently our goal is to do some much-needed work on the Custer Greens course since that’s their home course located at the VAMC.”
Sgt. Jason Fuller, a PGA HOPE participant, stated he was introduced to the PGA Project Hope at the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek after his third combat tour, and ultimately taken him to placed he never could have dreamed of.
“Throughout the eight weeks of instruction and playing on Custer Greens at the VA in Battle Creek, I was able to deal with problems and ailments that I had endured during my three combat tours in support of The War on Terror in the Middle East. The seven PGA Professionals that were our instructors and coaches were able—in some amazing way—to link our combat experiences to the Old-World game of Golf,” Sgt. Fuller stated.
The upcoming PGA Hope for Veterans Pro-Am event at Gull Lake View, will highlight its newest addition to its course portfolio: Stoatin Brae. It is one of six golf courses at the popular resort owned by the Scott family, who support the veterans and host and support fundraisers for many other charitable groups in Western Michigan.
Stoatin Brae, which means grand hill in Scottish Gaelic, is an open, windswept, fast, and firm layout on a grassland bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River Valley. Designed by the Renaissance Golf Design of Traverse City, Michigan team of Eric Iverson, Don Placek, Brian Schneider, and Brian Slawnik, in collaboration with the Scott family, Stoatin Brae is a departure from the tree-lined, parkland style norm at the resort. Stoatin Brae plays to 6,800 yards and is a par-71 on one of the highest spots in Kalamazoo County.