If you play golf like I do, the game can be somewhat stressful. However, for two special groups of veterans, the game can be a beautiful escape.
In September, the group Fairways for Freedom gave these veterans the opportunity of a lifetime.
Fairways for Freedom was founded just two years ago by Dr. Patricia Donneley. The purpose of the public charity is to introduce injured veterans to the game in hopes of improving recovery. Most, like Master Sergeant Brian Porter have never played golf until Fairways for Freedom stepped in.
This past September, the group arranged for 13 Special Forces veterans to head to Dublin, Ireland for a week of golf and Irish culture. The group was accompanied by ambassadors who sponsored the trip and played daily with veterans.
The trip itself sounds more like a sweepstakes than injury rehab, but I think both are just fine. Both groups played some of the finest courses planet Earth has to offer including Old Tom Morris Links and Glashedy Links. The Dublin group played courses such as the K Club and Carton House’s Montgomerie Course.
Aside from golf, veterans partook in yoga sessions daily and traveled all over Ireland. Groups enjoyed Irish dancing, luxurious accommodations and of course Irish breakfast.
Both ambassadors and veterans benefitted greatly from the week’s vacation, and not just from a golfing standpoint. Marine Sergeant Trevor Allenby had this to say about the experience:
“I told [my doctors] that I didn’t have any stress at all while in Ireland. Stress is one of the main reasons I get seizures. While I was there I didn’t have one. I think it’s because it was a stress-free trip.”
The Dublin trip was capped off with a visit from 3 time major champion Padraig Harrington, pictured below beaming at his gift from Navy Seal Juan Gonzalez.
The trip brought golf to veterans, made both vets and ambassadors friends and all around did some great things. I hope to see more of Fairways for Freedom in the future.