Amid ideal weather and course conditions, more than 50 golfers—including Ladies Golf Association of Fort Belvoir and Men’s Club members, and several wounded Service members—took to the fairways and greens of the Golf Club’s Gunston Course to compete in the second annual LGAFB Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament, Aug. 6.
The event, coordinated by Susan Smith, from LGAFB; and Fritz Diekmann, Belvoir PGA pro and instructor, followed a scramble format with four-person teams to salute Wounded Warriors and promote healing and growth through athletic competition.
“Steve Greiner, who used to be the PGA pro here, started a program called ‘Links To Freedom,’ and what they do is give Wounded Warriors and their Families the opportunity to learn the game of golf, because it helps both physically and mentally,” Smith said. “Golf is a mental game, and it also gives you confidence when you learn how to play and start doing it well. The physical healing is very apparent. So, with today’s event, we take donations and, instead of giving them to the Links To Freedom program, we give them directly to Fort Belvoir so they can use it for their Wounded Warrior program right here.”
Smith added that the LGAFB invited golfers from other organizations on post to participate in the competition and to help spread awareness of the Wounded Warriors and their recoveries. The ladies’ group also found a way to honor veterans going all the way back to the Great War.
“This year, we invited the men’s group to join us, so we have the men and the ladies competing together, and we also have a number of Wounded Warriors,” she said. “Last year was so successful with just the ladies’ group that we invited the guys to come play. It’s really fun. Another thing we’re doing today is recognizing veterans from other conflicts. I made signs and with a $5 donation, I put the names and branches of Service members to be recognized, and even the campaigns they fought in, and then placed those signs all over the golf course. We recognized someone as far back as World War I, as well as World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the present day. We call it ‘Honor A Vet.’”
The tournament included several special holes, including a closest-to-the-pin contest on holes 7 (high handicappers—20 and above) and 13 (lower handicaps—19 and below), and on hole 5, competitors could pay a small fee to “hire” a Golf Club pro to hit the ball over the water hazard, and players could use one mulligan anywhere on the course during the tournament.
When competition wrapped up for the day, three teams returned to the clubhouse in a three-way tie. According to Smith, final placement in the rankings was determined by each team’s scores on the back nine
1st place | Chris Nugent, Rudy Cohen , R.J. Thorman, Sun Wahler | 64
2nd place | Yong Merritt, Lewis Sprivey, Rodney Bramer, Barbara Dionne | 64
3rd place | Terry Boynton, Marlea Moriarty, Bea Burdick, Ed Sawyer | 64