Among the volunteer course raters who serve the game of golf through the Golf Association of Michigan are several veterans of the military and spouses of military veterans.
Those course raters were joined by several others to make up a group of 20 and they performed the initial course rating recently at the new American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven, which is a golf course and memorial project wholly dedicated to the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Jack Nicklaus donated his design fees to create the golf course on the site of the former Grand Haven Golf Club, and a Folds of Honor memorial is part of the plans for the course that will open to public play next May. Each payment for a round will include a donation to Folds of Honor.
The GAM course raters, headed by GAM Vice-President Mark Bultema of Grand Rapids, not only provided the GAM service for member clubs so the GAM/USGA handicapping system can be adopted, but pooled funds together to make a $4,000 donation. Funds raised through the Folds of Honor Foundation provide educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s deceased and disabled service members.
Since its inception Folds of Honor has awarded over 28,000 scholarships worth over $140 million. In 2007 Lt. Col. Dan Rooney presented the first Patriot Golf Day outing at Grand Haven Golf Club, which was owned by the Rooney family. Rooney continues to lead the Folds of Honor effort which he started following a flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids with a fallen service member aboard. His emotions and thoughts that day prompted the effort.
“What American Dunes stands for and the service they provide to the families of our veterans means so much, and we felt doing this course rating called for us to do something more,” Bultema said. “We are fortunate in the GAM to have a group of dedicated volunteers who realize that and give back in many ways, including today.”
Nine of the 20 raters who rated American Dunes were veterans or the spouse of a veteran. They included Mike and Connie Brady, Ken Greb, Duane Langeland, Robert Morrow, Barb Schmid, John Aulepp, Wayne Beehler and Geoffrey Bailey.
Chris Streng of the Michigan Chapter of Folds of Honor was among representatives of the foundation accepting the donation. He called it an example of the very real effort that makes the foundation work.
“You are helping the families of soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said. “American Dunes was created for this very reason.”
Special guests for the day included Chief Hospital Corpsman Sam McCoskey of Zeeland and Petty Officer First Class Erick Milewski of Grand Rapids.
IN THE PHOTO: GAM course raters present $4,000 in donations to four representatives from the Folds of Honor Foundation, from left, John Aulepp, Geoffrey Bailey, Bob Morrow, Wayne Beehler, Duane Langeland, Connie Brady, Mike Brady, Ken Greb, Barb Schmid, Chris Streng, Madonna Kramer, Mark Kelley, Kris Kelley.