What a day! On behalf of No Laying Up, I was honored to take part in the Birdies for the Brave charity golf tournament out at TPC Stonebrae just East of Hayward, CA. The course is unreal but the people are what make this event and organization amazing. It was not a bad way to spend a Friday. Below is a bit of background and a few musings about a day spent some of the USA’s bravest citizens.
Founded by Phil and Amy Mickelson in 2006 (Phil really is the People’s Champ…love that guy), Birdies for the Brave is a PGA Tour outreach program dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. It supports a network of charities that assist combat-wounded veterans, and several of these non-profits were onsite at TPC Stonebrae to lend support and build awareness, including:
- Operation Homefront – provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.
- United Through Reading – Awesome program that unites U.S. military families who face physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.
- Homes for our troops – mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post-9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives.
These organizations and their spokesmen and women were inspiring. The USA has been in ongoing conflict for over 13 years, and that conflict has been waged by brave men and women, who volunteered to defend this country. For many, scars of combat run deep and are irreversible. It’s simply not enough to just thank these veterans for their service in passing or re-tweet a sappy Budweiser Ad during the Superbowl. This type of shallow gratitude is something I and too many Americans deem ‘enough.’ The conflict rages far from home, and though I haven’t served, events like today’s tournament remind me that there is much to be done here at home for these veterans and their families through the donation of time and money.
I was moved by the missions of the charities above, and the stories of the wounded veterans they are supporting as they try to adjust to life after combat. As the event’s keynote speaker DJ Skelton said, it does no good to wait for the government to plug the gaps in care that veterans receive when so much can be done by private organizations, caring communities, and assertive individuals. That’s what I witnessed today, and if you’ve read this far, I hope you consider donating to one of the charities above. Or, check out this schedule for upcoming Birdies for the Brave tournaments in your area and see for yourself!
As for the golf, TPC Stonebrae is quite a track up in the hills East of San Francisco Bay. The undulating fairways and mound infested greens weave there way around rocky outcroppings and golden California tumbleweed with sweeping views of the South Bay from almost every hole. The course is phenomenally maintained by superintendant Dave Davies and his team as they prepare for the upcoming Web.com tournament, The Stonebrae Classic, July 16th-19th (sidenote: Tony Finau won the Stonebrae Classic in 2014 and is T5 heading into the weekend at Chamber Bay…this guy is a Bomb Threat people: he’s a 6’4,” American Samoan and Jabari Parker’s cousin, consider yourself warned about his YOTTO potential). As part of the TPC family, the course reserves two days a year where it can utilize the golf course for charity events free of charge (meaning just about every dime went straight to veterans). The Birdies for the Brave tournament consisted of a 4 man scramble (with mulligans available for purchase, awesome wrinkle)…the winning score was 51 (lolz). My group lacked any sign of pop and shot 68, ya hate to see such a feeble performance though we did reach every par 5 in two.
The highlight of the day had to be the No Laying Up sponsored #TourSauce competition on the 1st tee. Here are a few pics: