SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: ANTIGUA

Antigua is a dedicated partner and apparel sponsor for Tee It Up for the Troops. In the office or on the green, our staff, leaders, military heroes, and event participants proudly wear Antigua Sportswear that is co-branded with our logo. The Antigua Group, Inc. is a leading designer and marketer of men’s, women’s and children’s lifestyle apparel and sportswear with a 40-year history as a golf apparel provider.

Antigua has always shown strong support for military veterans. From apparel donations to their Annual Antigua Invitational Golf Tournament benefiting homeless veterans in their home state of Arizona, they believe veterans are the lifeblood of this country and will always do what they can to help.

“As a father of a veteran and the son of a World War II veteran, I am so proud that Antigua is involved in Tee It Up for the Troops great series of events,” said John Anderson, Antigua’s National Sales Manager for the Golf Division. “The most important thing is all the good that comes to military veterans through Tee It Up for the Troops and we are just so proud to be a small part of your great events.”

John’s son, Ryan Cole, was an Army Ranger assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He was deployed four times to Operation Enduring Freedom and once to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ryan has a master’s degree from Portland State University in Geology and is currently an Engineering Geologist with the U.S. Forest Service.

“The support of Antigua helps our veterans and event participants look good, splash patriotism, and stay cool and comfortable while playing golf in our fundraising events, but more importantly, Antigua supports our mission to improve veteran’s lives by enhancing their mental, social, physical and emotional well-being, said Tim Wegscheid, Tee It Up for the Troops President & Executive Director. “We are grateful to Antigua and John for their tremendous dedication to our military heroes. And a huge thank you to Ryan for his bravery and service to our country!”

Antigua works with Tee It Up for the Troops to supply many co-branded apparel items including golf polos and pullovers like those seen above. One of our most popular patriotic pride apparel items is the Antigua Patriot Golf Polo, also shown above, which has the good old red white and blue across the stars and stripes print on the shirt’s chest.

Thank you, Antigua, for all you do for our veterans! For more information about Antigua Sportswear, Shop Antigua.

EVENT SPOTLIGHT: TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS – BLACK HILLS

SECOND YEAR IS A SELL- OUT!

The second annual Tee It Up for the Troops-Black Hills, South Dakota event on July 20, 2020, at the Arrowhead Country Club was a success on the green and beyond!. The event honored U.S. military service members and benefited those who have been wounded in the defense of our freedom.
The Tee It Up for the Troops Black Hills event is led by Joey Franze, a Captain in the Air Force’s Medical Service Corps, who is currently stationed at Ellsworth AFB, SD. Joey has served 11 years in the Air Force and previously served as a medical technician who supported Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spending years in the military medical field, Joey has had the opportunity to work with all branches and has seen the need for resources that sometimes can only be provided outside the walls of a medical facility. “After working with Tee It Up for the Troops to get our first two events off the ground, I have experienced firsthand the positive impact that the game of golf and our event has had on our Black Hills veterans as well as the local community and together we are working to close the gap and make a difference,” said Joey Franze, Tee It Up For Troops-Black Hills Tournament Director.”

Due to COVID-19 limitations, the event had a few creative adjustments inspired by the tournament committee. One of those innovative modifications was the creation of an impactful virtual opening ceremony instead of a live opening ceremony to avoid a large group gathering. The virtual opening ceremony was produced by the leading sponsor, NewsCenter1 Media Group, which is the Black Hills, South Dakota local NBC station, and was sent out before the event on various platforms such as Facebook, email, and text message. Golf participants were sent a link and encouraged to download it to their smart device so that they could watch it as a team on their first tee box before the start of the event. The virtual opening ceremony was also showcased on the event’s Facebook page which allowed the ceremony to be brought to the community and followers without them physically being present. Watch the impressive virtual opening ceremony here: 2020 Tee It Up for the Troops-Black Hills-Opening Ceremony

Some of the other changes that were made included limiting the registration table to no more than one person per team, limiting the course to 25 teams or 100 players to ensure that the course was not over-run, and a box lunch that could be picked up at two locations on the course instead of having a reception after the event. The entire event was held outside including opening and closing remarks and the awards ceremony.

“In this time that we are all currently going through, finding ways to connect with our community is more important than ever,” said Franze. “At the end of the day, we wanted to ensure that everyone at our event had a great experience while remaining safe. Even with COVID-19 restrictions on how a golf event can operate, we had 100 participants which were a 40% increase from last year. We had to turn away teams. Next year though, if the restrictions are lifted, we are aiming at 144 participants!” added Franze.
In just its second year, the 2020 event nearly doubled the fundraising efforts of the first year, raising almost $7,000 for our military heroes! The top two sponsors were NewsCenter1 Media Group (presenting sponsor) and Midco (lunch sponsor). There were also 13 other team and hole sponsors from businesses in the Black Hills area. Proceeds from this year support two local non-profits; Super Dogs for Super Heroes, which matches rescue dogs with veterans, and the DTOM 22/0 Foundation, whose goal is to stop veteran suicide.

Military support was in full force with 40 veterans and active-duty members who played in the event and others who volunteered. Troy Teal, an Air Force Combat Veteran who is also a five-time World Long Drive Championship Competitor, was also on the course providing entertainment and support. The Black Hills event has quickly become one of the largest Tee It Up for the Troops events in terms of veteran participation in the nation.
Governor Kristi Noem declared Monday, July 20, 2020, as “Tee It Up for the Troops Day” in the state of South Dakota and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, who has supported the event each year, had some of his staff play in the event.

Behind every great event are dedicated volunteers. Thank you to the 2020 committee members pictured left to right: Beau Garcia – Member of American Legion Post 22 & Sons of the American Legion; Chuck Brookings – Army Veteran, OIF/OEF/OND; Joey Franze – Tee It Up for the Troops-Black Hills Tournament Director; Capt., Air Force Medical Service Corps, OEF/OIF; Tom Vallette – Current Pennington County Veterans Service Officer; Air Force Veteran, OEF; Dave Atwood – Active Duty Air Force. Not pictured is Dale Christensan, Army Veteran, Vietnam.

When asked about the Tee It Up for the Troops-Black Hills charity event and what he’s most proud about, Joey said: “How we as an entire community are rallying around our veterans and coming together to create a very unique experience that you can only find in Rapid City, SD….and we are only getting started!”

The 2021 committee is hard at work on creating an event that will be even bigger and better which will be held on Monday, July 19, 2021, at Arrowhead Country Club in Rapid City, SD. For more information on next year’s event be sure to follow them on Facebook at Tee It Up for the Troops-Black Hills. For sponsorship opportunities or inquiries on playing in next year’s event please feel free to email them at teeitupbh@gmail.com.

If anyone is interested in learning more about how this well run event operates or to get some ideas to start your own Tee It Up for the Troops event, Joey would be more than happy to set up a zoom call or other form of communication with you. You can e-mail him at teeitupbh@gmail.com.

Safe Social Distancing Charity Golf Fundraising Events

With charity golf fundraising events all over the United States, Tee It Up for the Troops events will look different in each area of the country depending on the local golf facility protocols and area-specific social distancing guidelines.

In the short term, we likely will need to avoid activities where large groups gathered like at registration, or the closing program and dinner or auction areas. Instead we will pivot to some fun changes like offering a grilled meal at the turn or a virtual silent auction where you can easily outbid your competitors while remaining safe and having fun doing so! 

Here are some ways our events will be modified to be made contact-free and safe as well as some new, innovative ways to raise awareness and funds.

  • Online registration systems-a paperless registration that also allows for the sale of raffle tickets, contests, game cards, apparel, etc.  
  • Possible format changes including tee times instead of a shotgun start.
  • Online auction system and the ability to see and bid on items before the event.
  • New giving platform – “Text To Give” – that gives golfers and supporters an easy way to donate to the event and an option to tie in a “Fund A Need Campaign.”
  • Establishing a “Fund A Need Campaign” encouraging a differing option of support for an event.
  • Host a Longest Day of Golf marathon at the club. Sometimes the golf pro will challenge their members to support their golf marathon. Individuals and/or foursomes can collect donations and gather together on a chosen day to play their longest day of golf. 
  • “Holes for Heroes” – 18 hole signs with stories of combat warriors and how they are benefiting from funds raised. Signs are put on 18 holes for a period of time and include a “Text To Give” and online donation option.

While the coronavirus may prevent us from hosting large, in-person events, there are plenty of ways we can still come together to support our military community!

With diligent event team planning and modifications to ensure the health and safety of all our supporters and warriors, Tee It Up for the Troops is ready to offer some fun and meaningful charity golf fundraising events!  See you on the course!

OUR CHARITY GOLF EVENTS ARE BACK!

We are working with our charity golf event teams to ensure that our Tee It Up for the Troops events are safe events, and consistent with individual course guidelines as well as each state’s COVID-19 regulations. 

Good news! We have learned that charity golf events can be contact-free and safe while still being fun, meaningful charity events that raise funds for our military heroes. Here’s a look at the schedule for the first few events of Tee It Up for the Troops return in 2020:

Longest Day of Golf Kick-Off

We are excited for June 22nd, when Northern Bay Golf Resort in Arkdale, Wisconsin will host their 2nd annual Longest Day of Golf for the Troops Event! Derek Donovan, Head Golf Professional, will be leading the charge at Northern Bay and will “Tee It Up” at the crack of dawn and play until sundown to raise money to support America’s combat veterans. 

“We are forever indebted to those who have served in the military….their heroism sometimes gets taken for granted…but on this day on the golf course we will appreciate the freedoms our veterans have sacrificed for and offer them gratitude, says Derek Donovan.”

You can get behind this event and support our American Heroes by making a donation to Northern Bay’s Longest Day of Golf or starting your own Longest Day of Golf team here: Northern Bay Golf Resort Longest Day of Golf 2020

Other Upcoming Events

Other upcoming events kicking off summer and the golf season include the July 20th Tee It Up for the Troops – Black Hills, Arrowhead Golf Course, Rapid City, South. You can help our veterans by registering, sponsoring or donating to this military charity event at Tee It Up for the Troops-Black Hills, Arrowhead Golf Course

On July 27, we have two sensational events returning. The 13th Annual Congressional Charity Golf Classic, presented by Lockheed Martin, will be held at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA.  Current and former Members of Congress, more than 40 wounded warfighters and dozens of supporters will come together for a one-of-a-kind golf event that supports combat veterans with permanent disabilities. Congressional Charity Golf Classic

Also on July 27, the Tee It Up for the Troops – Mendakota Country Club event will take place in Mendota Heights, MN.  This event was Tee It Up for the Troop’s very first charity event sixteen years ago and with several key volunteers and sponsors, this event is exceptional each year. To sponsor, golf or participate in this event: Tee It Up for the Troops – Mendakota Country Club

We know many American’s are eager to “Tee It Up!” The real winners will be our combat veterans who have been severely affected by the emotional and financial impact of the Coronavirus. 

A Generous Gift to Honor and Remember

Story originally shared by Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace (KK&W)

A Generous Donation to Tee It Up for the Troops, a military charity organization. 

As our world struggles to recover from the devastation inflicted by COVID-19, we at KK&W wanted to share some happy news of generosity and true selflessness with our friends and colleagues.

Recently, The Amelia Island Club (AIC) in Amelia Island, Florida retained our firm to conduct a search. Circumstances changed in the very beginning and the search was cancelled.

KK&W returned the deposit and AIC made a generous donation to Tee It Up For The Troops [a military charity organization] for our gesture. Since 2005, we have been a proud corporate sponsor of TIUFTT which has donated over $11,000,000 for the families of our veterans. This generous donation was made in “Memory Of” a fallen soldier Kelly Mixon.

David Shepler, GM/COO of AIC sent the partners an email to let them know the donation to the recommended military charity organization had been made in their honor and in memory of Kelly Mixon. Along with his note, he shared the story of Specialist Kelly Mixon who would have turned 24 two weeks after his death.

The rest of the story

“When arriving at any new job there are those staff members who really stand out and at AIC, one of those was a young Sous Chef, Amy Mixon. Amy really helped me through a difficult first 6 months when both the Executive Chef and Executive Sous Chef left shortly after my arrival. Over time I got to know Amy better and while she is a private person, through others I learned Amy’s husband, Kelly Mixon was killed in action in Afghanistan December 8, 2010.”

Dave’s son, Drew, an Army soldier, who served two tours in Afghanistan and was stationed in an adjoining province of Afghanistan. Drew recounted, with his father, hearing about Kelly and another soldier who were killed by a suicide bomber while on patrol. This was the first time, Dave ever put a personal face to the ultimate sacrifice many have given, with the realization that could have been his son and it hit home!

Kelly was a graduate of Fernandina Beach High School on Amelia Island, where he was an accomplished drummer and had played briefly for the Jacksonville Jaguars drum line from 2005-2006. Prior to enlisting, Kelly had worked his way up to sous chef with plans to use the G.I. Bill to attend a 4-year culinary institute and fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an executive chef.

Prior to his death, Kelly was able to spend Thanksgiving at home with his friends and family doing his two favorite things, cooking and playing drums. He even stopped by and practiced with the current band members at his old high school, during this trip.

Even though Amy no longer works at AIC, she and Dave have remained very close, sharing a very special bond and this is why The Amelia Island Club donated to Tee It Up For The Troops in “Memory of Kelly Mixon.”

Thank you David Shepler, CCM, CCE, General Manager/COO and The Amelia Island Club -you are the best!

BRIDGESTONE GOLF CELEBRATES 15 YEARS OF SUPPORTING TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS WITH RELEASE OF NEW LIMITED EDITION E12 SOFT PATRIOT PACK

The e12 Soft Patriot Pack Delivers Unrivaled Value-Performance While Supporting America’s Veterans

COVINGTON, Ga. – (May 4, 2020) – Bridgestone Golf, the #1 Ball-Fitter in Golf, unveiled today its new Limited Edition e12 SOFT Patriot Pack supporting Tee It Up for the Troops.  The Patriot Pack features a dozen of the award-winning e12 SOFT white golf balls and a bonus sleeve of the popular e12 SOFT Matte Red, all housed in a red, white and blue themed package that any American patriot would be proud to display.  A portion of proceeds from sales will benefit Tee It Up for the Troops. 

Tee It Up for the Troops is a national non-profit organization that has donated greater than $11 million to programs that deliver critical services to help veterans from all eras heal and transition from the battlefront to the home front.  Through its REUNION Outreach Program and other partnering veteran service organizations, Tee It Up for the Troops provides support for six critical areas of need for veterans and their families: Golf and Sports Rehabilitation, Suicide Prevention, PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries, Employment, Housing/Homelessness, and Family/Caregiver Support. Hosting more than 50 charity events held in over 40 states annually, Tee It Up for the Troops considers it a privilege to honor, remember, respect, and support all those who serve(d) in the United States Armed Forces. 

“Tee It Up for the Troops and Bridgestone have a storied history together, as the organization’s founding and the Bridgestone Golf brand’s entrance into the U.S. Market coincided in 2005,” said Dan Murphy, President and CEO of Bridgestone Golf. “Over the past 15 years both of us have grown together and we are excited to honor our 15-year relationship with this new e12 SOFT Patriot Pack initiative.  Bridgestone continues to serve as a National Sponsor, providing golf balls to the organization’s more than 50 tournaments annually.”

The e12 SOFT delivers increased firepower off the tee and reduced sidespin 

 for players who need it most using a proprietary Active Acceleration Mantle layer as a key component of their 3-piece construction.  The Active Acceleration Mantle is comprised of a High-Performance Polymer material that provides increased thrust and higher initial velocity at impact, while allowing Bridgestone to soften the core for greater forgiveness and enhanced feel.  In addition, the balls utilize Bridgestone’s Delta Wing Dimple pattern for less drag and optimized aerodynamics. The e12 SOFT is designed specifically for players with less than 105 mph swing speeds who fight sidespin challenges.  

The Bridgestone e12 SOFT Limited Edition Patriot Pack hits retail this week and features a selling price of $29.99 per dozen.  For more information on the entire family of 2020 Bridgestone Golf balls, visit www.bridgestonegolf.com

 

About Bridgestone Golf

Based in Covington, GA, Bridgestone Golf USA manufactures premium golf balls, clubs and accessories under the Bridgestone and Precept brands. The company started making golf balls in 1935 and today has 800 golf ball design patents. Beginning in 2006, Bridgestone revolutionized golf ball selection with its custom ball-fitting program, identifying a golfer’s ideal golf ball based on personal swing characteristics. Today, as the #1 Ball-Fitter in Golf, Bridgestone has conducted over 2.2 million fittings via a combination of live-fitting, online selection and its new VFIT service.  The consumer data gathered from ball-fitting continues to inspire Bridgestone’s innovative new golf ball designs, yielding industry-leading performance products for the entire range of players, from recreational golfers to the best in the world. Bridgestone Golf is proudly represented on international professional tours by icons such as Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Rocco Mediate and Lexi Thompson.  Bridgestone Golf USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Sports Co. Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo. More information:  bridgestonegolf.com.

Media Contacts:

Bridgstone: Jared Kelowitz, JDPR, jaredk@jdpr.com, cell: 864.901.2957

Tee It Up for the Troops: Theresa Johnson, theresa@teeitupforthetroops.org, cell: 612.747.0047

A Message From our President Regarding our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: We’re Stronger Together!

In the video below, our President and Executive Director, Tim Wegscheid, shares how isolation impacts our combat veterans by increasing symptoms associated with PTSD, high anxiety and thoughts of suicide. 

Tim also shares that as a Veteran Service Organization, Tee It Up for the Troops is committed to “raising the ante and working even harder” to fulfill our mission and support all those who served to defend the great freedoms we have as Americans. 

Will you join us? Will you “Step Up To the Tee” and help us support all those who stood for freedom? 

A Need to Rise: Written by US Navy Warrior, Matthew Underwood

This article was published on February 20, 2020 as part of a series of articles written by Matt  and is being re-published with his permission.

Matt Underwood from Chesapeake coped with the effects of PTSD while he served in the Navy by playing golf. He was recently named as a PGA HOPE Ambassador by the nonprofit PGA of America. He will be helping other veterans through the game of golf.

So. I hit a golf shot the other day. And I didn’t even celebrate. It was because I expected to hit that shot. It really was a beautiful shot though, an 8-iron, about 130 yards to the pin. And I landed it 3 feet from the cup.

A year ago, I never would have made that shot. I wouldn’t have even gotten lucky and made it. What changed? Lots and lots of practice and drills. Over and over. And taking the advice of my father-in-law as we played together and he would point out little things and tips he’d learned.

One of the quirky things about humanity, is that as humans grow and learn, the important things that we learn, are really nothing more than what others have learned before us. We just learn them for ourselves. While the knowledge is not new to humanity, it is new to our own humanity.

Kinda like a 130 yard shot to 3 feet from the cup. Lots of other people have learned how to do that. But it’s no less meaningful to me because THEY can, it means the same to me. Cause I learned how to do that. And I’m proud of that. I can’t do it every time, but I can do it enough of the time to make the game fun.

So. A need to rise. We have a need to rise above what we are. This is the process of humanity. As new-born babies, we don’t THINK about doing this, we just do it. We learn to crawl and then toddle and then walk and then run. We don’t analyze this process, we just execute it.

But something changes as we get older. The tasks we face become harder. We start asking ourselves questions like, “Is this worth the effort?” and “Why should I be better when others around me aren’t?” and sometimes we just don’t give a hoot anymore. Even worse, sometimes we feel like we’re not capable of it anymore.

Henry David Thoreau commented, in “Life in the Woods”, on a snake he saw in cold water of winter. The snake lay still, torpid.

That’s kinda like what mental health disorders do to a person. You kinda lay there(metaphorically speaking), unable to escape the endless do-loop driving you back to the symptoms, and your state never really changes. You are, like that snake, somewhat trapped in the disorders. You can flick your tail a little bit, but the core of what drives you, the disorders, stays the same, and what you’re doing really is just chasing your tail pointlessly.

But that pesky need to rise above the status quo kicks in. And so there’s a conflict, a conflict between the person you are, and the person you want to be. And while you may know the person you are, you have no idea about what the person you want to be is. Or what it should even look like.

Back to golf now. What has golf given me? An “exo-skeleton” as it were. An exo-skeleton I can overlay on to the golfer I am, and work to slowly rise to the golfer I want to be.

See, when you’re on a golf course, the course is in control. You have to adapt to it. You can’t magicaly push the fairway 50 yards to the right to accomodate your wide right hook. You have to learn to hit the ball straight. And you can’t take a shovel and widen the hole out, you have to learn to putt straight. The course is in control.

Exo-skeleton. See, golf gave me something I can aspire to. Like a kid wearing their dad’s boots, clomping around and pretending to be grown up like their dad. The funny thing is, that as I’ve aspired to get better at golf, some of those skills have risen up in other areas in my life.

So, that’s where I’m at. Rising. And I probably always will be, and that’s ok.

Partner SPOTLIGHT: Hero Miles

When Tee It Up for the Troops hosts its REUNION program in Florida each year to reunite combat service members, over 30 veterans and caregivers need flights to attend. This REUNION program is an expensive undertaking and Tee It Up for the Troops relies on support from many different sectors to assist us in delivering the benefits of helping attendees transition from the battlefront to the homefront.

Thankfully, in 2013, Hero Miles partnered with Tee It Up for the Troops and has since provided over 350 flights to ensure invited combat veterans and their caregivers are able to attend our REUNION event with no costs for flights.

The Hero Miles program (administered by Fisher House Foundation) provides round-trip airline tickets to wounded, injured, and ill service members – and/or their families or close friends – who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center or who or who are attending an authorized event. Flights are made possible through frequent flyer mile donations made by individual airline passengers of participating airlines, or from donations by citizens. Many recovering service members cite reuniting with their fellow combat friends, like at REUNION, as a huge reason to fight hard to recover and never give up. For the Tee It Up for the Troops 2020 REUNION, 35 flights for our warriors and caregivers was made possible by Hero Miles.

“We are proud to partner with Tee It Up for the Troops by providing tickets through our Hero Miles program to help servicemembers heal,” said Dave Coker, President of Fisher House Foundation. “Tee It Up for the Troops shares our belief that a family’s love is good medicine. Their Reunion program brings combat veterans together, which for many servicemembers is an extension of their own family.”

Operation Hero Miles is a collaborative effort between individual airlines including AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Midwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways now merged with America West Airlines; air travel passengers who donate their frequent flyer miles to service members and their families; and the Fisher House Foundation which administers Operation Hero Miles and turns frequent flier mile donations into free airline tickets for military men and women injured due to service in Iraq or Afghanistan, bringing the wounded and their families together.

Hero Miles does amazing work to help veterans and their caregivers in the most challenging of times. On behalf of all of us at Tee It Up for the Troops and the military veterans themselves, we’d like to give a heartfelt thank you to Dave Coker, President, Fisher House Foundation and Tish Stropes, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Fisher House Foundation and who is responsible for the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs.