Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor

Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor pictured: carts lined up for outing

Washtenaw Golf Club Outing Benefits Folds of Honor

More than a hundred players braved steady rains on Monday July 26 for Washtenaw Golf Club‘s third annual outing in support of the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Folds of Honor helps to provide scholarships to the children and spouses of our nations’ deceased or disabled service members as well as first responders, including police, fire, EMTs, and paramedics. Its founder, Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney is a USAF fighter pilot who also is a PGA professional.

Washtenaw Golf Club owner Dave Kendall was visibly moved by the support of the Washtenaw Golf Club community for the Folds of Honor charity outing.

Kendall, a PGA professional and Michigan Golf Hall of Famer said:

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support. The Folds of Honors families feel the passing of their family member three-hundred-sixty-five days a year, and I know it is not too much to ask for us to come together one day a year to support them by playing golf.

Guest of Honor: Dennis Walters

Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor pictured; Dennis Walters
World Golf Hall of Famer Dennis Walters in the Washtenaw Golf Club grill.

World Golf Hall of Famer Dennis Walters was the outing’s headliner. Walters, who was paralyzed in a golf accident in 1974 at age 24, plays from a custom swivel-seat golf cart. He was unable to perform his renowned golf show because of torrential rains, but Walters still held court and fielded questions from the outing participants.

In his usual inspirational manner, Walters challenged his audience to do something in their lives that they perhaps thought was impossible.

Walters lives by his own words. At age 73, he is soon on his way to compete in the USGA’s 2nd annual Adaptive Open at Pinehurst Golf and Country Club. He noted that until last year’s Adaptive Open, he had not played competitive golf in more than 40 years, but felt he had to participate because of its historic significance.

Community Steps Up For Folds of Honor

Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor pictured Charity poster

The Washtenaw Golf Club charity outing enjoyed strong community support. Sponsors included:

Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor pictured: Washtenaw fifth hole
Outing players on the fifth green against darkening skies at the June 16 outing.

The “Shamble”

The Washtenaw Charity Classic’s golf is a lot of fun. Each team of four is accompanied by a professional. In the outing’s “shamble” format, each player tees off and the best drive is chosen. From there, each player plays their own ball to the hole. Players got 80% of their official handicaps, and the two lowest scores on each hole counted.

To my great surprise, we actually used a couple of my tee shots!

More outings should use this format. Because each player is playing their own ball for most of the hole, it keeps everyone’s head (and heart) in the game. At the same time, the tee shots of the pros generally gave even the higher handicap players a head start on each hole.

Saline High School Golf Team Discusses American Dunes Experience

Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor pictured Saline High School Golfers
Brian Kang speaks at the Washtenaw Golf Club Folds of Honor outing as Saline Golf teammates Guiseppe Giacalone (left) and Will Winslow look on.

At the evening reception, Debbie Williams-Hoak, a Michigan Golf Hall of Famer who coaches the Saline High School golf team, introduced three team members who had recently participated in the Corporal B tournament at American Dunes Golf Club.

Brian Kang, Will Winslow and Guiseppe Giacolone each spoke for several minutes about their meaningful experience at the Corporal B.

“From the moment that we stepped out and walked through the memorial, I knew that this tournament meant more than just golf,” Kang said.

The players spoke of how — as part of the tournament — they “adopted” Saline’s Kate Melcher, a former US Army helicopter gunship pilot who now is Executive Director of Fisher House Michigan (Fisher House provides lodging for families of Veterans and service members undergoing care at the Ann Arbor VA hospital). The team also experienced American Dune’s impressive entry honoring service members, the traditional playing of Taps at 1 pm, and the laying of nickels at the cross between the 17th green and 18th tee.

American Dunes Golf Club, in Grand Haven, was built as a tribute to the military and is the birthplace of the Folds of Honor foundation. The Foundation and the course are the vision of Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney. (for more from The GolfBlogger on American Dunes, follow the link).

Washtenaw Staff Goes All Out

Washtenaw GC Outing Benefits Folds of Honor Pictured Outing registration desk

From the bag drop to the registration desk, to the golf, the luncheon and the reception, Washtenaw Golf Club’s staff made the day terrific for everyone invited.

Dave Kendall, PGA, Michigan Golf Hall of Famer and owner of Washtenaw GC.

The rain added a layer of challenge, but no one was complaining. The day was all about supporting Folds of Honor.

There was a point during a forced break due to lightning when the staff asked for a vote on whether to continue. Every hand went up in affirmation.

The entire staff at Washtenaw went out of their way to ensure the golfers were taken care of. Conspicuous in their presence were General Manager Tim Czerniawski, Director of Sales Donna Hatch, Head Golf Professional Zach Szawara and Assistant Pro Matt Okopny. But as someone who has run more than a few events, I know that for every person at the “front of the house,” there are more in the “back” who work hard without being recognized.

Kendall said he was thankful that “our staff was behind this. It doesn’t work if they aren’t. I’m very proud of Washtenaw on this day. I am every day, but I feel as though this is special. I know others do too.”

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