Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneur: An Investment in America’s Finest

Perhaps you’ve read this heartwarming account that circulated on the Internet a few months back. The publisher was so moved he did some research and
found not only were the facts in the story correct, thanks to Snopes.com, but there was more.

On Monday, I played Disney’s Lake Buena Vista course. As usual, the starters matched me with three other players. After a few holes we began to get to know each other a bit.

One fellow was rather young and had his wife riding along in the golf cart with him. I noticed his golf bag had his name on it, and after closer inspection it also said, “WOUNDED WAR VETERANS.”

When I had my first chance to chat with him, I asked him about the bag. His response was simply that it was a gift. I then asked if he was wounded and he said, “Yes.” But when I probed further about his injury, his response was, “I’d rather not talk about it, sir.”

However, over a few holes I learned he had spent the last 15 months in an army rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio, Texas. His wife moved there to be with him and he was released from the hospital in September. He was a rather quiet fellow; however, he did say that he wanted to get better at golf.

We had a nice round and as we became a bit more familiar, I asked him about the brand-new set of Ping woods and irons he was playing with. Some looked like they had never been hit. His response was simple.

He said this round was the first full round he had played with these clubs. Later in the round he explained further. As part of the discharge process from the rehabilitation hospital, Ping comes in and provides three days of golf instruction, followed by club fitting.

“He was determined to learn to play golf well enough to deserve the gift Ping had given him.”

Upon discharge from the hospital, Ping gives each of the discharged veterans, generally about 40 soldiers, a brand new set of custom-fitted clubs along with the impressive golf bags.

The veteran I met was Ben Woods. He looked me in the eye and said being fitted for those clubs was one of the best things that ever happened to him, and he was determined to learn to play golf well enough to deserve the gift Ping had given him.

Ben is now out of the service, medically discharged just a month ago. He is as fine a young man as you would ever want to meet.

Ping, whose products are made here in America (Arizona), has the good judgment not to advertise this program.

God Bless America and the game of golf. Thank you PING!

Through programs like this, service men and women severely wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan participate in summer-long sports rehabilitation programs offered by Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA) in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project and 29 DS/USA chapters across the country. The program includes a series of more than 60 “learn-to” clinics in cycling, golf, sailing, outrigger canoeing, kayaking, scuba, rock climbing, camping, water skiing, rafting, wake boarding, track and field, fishing, equestrian, ropes courses and other sports.

The WWDSP also provides advanced level training and competitions to help wounded warriors remain active throughout their lives, with some participants going on to compete at the Paralympic level or becoming active mentors in DS/USA chapter activities when they return to civilian life. These programs are all provided free of cost for severely wounded service members and their families. This includes the cost of transportation, special adaptive sports equipment, training from qualified adaptive sports instructors, lodging, meals and other expenses.

Gold Sponsors include: Ariel Corporation; Bank of America; The Chart Group; Trijicon; Non Commissioned Officers Association; Tee It Up For The Troops; Robert Trent Jones Golf Club Charitable Foundation; PING; US Association of Former Members of Congress; The Darby Foundation. Silver Sponsors include: Battelle; HUB Financial Charities; Fournier Family Foundation; Moore Capital Management; Miami International Holdings; Phoenix Beverages; PGA of America.

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About the author

i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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