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Patriot Golf Day fund-raiser this weekend

By Staff | Aug 28, 2012

Coral Oaks Golf Course will again support the Patriot Golf Day campaign over Labor Day weekend, Friday, Aug. 31, to Monday, Sept. 3.

The fund-raiser benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides postsecondary educational scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving this country.

Coral Oaks golfers will join those from across the country, asked to donate $1 extra to their greens fees to fund the scholarships. The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association support the worthy cause.

“The campaign started in 2007, and to date we have given out over 3,500 scholarships,” said Tony Biata, PGA, director of Patriot Golf Day. “That’s to over 3,5000 students, think about how many families have been impacted. We believe we are giving some hope where there was despair, the least we can do for those who protect our freedom.”

“We’ve been participating every year since they started. This is the sixth annual,” said Coral Oaks Golf Professional/Manager Allen Manguson. “For all the sacrifices that our military personnel make protecting the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis, we are pleased to support the Folds of Honor Foundation by participating in the Patriot Golf Day campaign again this year.”

Everybody seems to participate, he said.

“That’s even if we don’t get the chance to ask them,” he said. “If we don’t approach them, they ask us. It is received in a very positive light. We ask for a dollar, some donate $5 or more. We’ve had people give us $10 and even $50. Cape Coral golfers are very, very supportive.”

Biata tells the interesting tale of how the campaign got its start.

“The Folds of Honor Foundation was formed in 2007 by Maj. Dan Rooney from Broken Arrow, Okla.,” he said. “After Dan got back from his second tour in Iraq, he went to see his father – both own a golf course in Grand Rapids, he’s also a PGA Pro.”

When Rooney was on the plane, the pilot announced that they had “the remains of a fallen hero,” Corp. Brock Bucklin, on board and that his twin brother Brad was aboard to be the escort in bringing the body home.

The pilot asked that all remain seated out of respect for Brad to leave first. He was seated near the back of the plane.

It didn’t happen.

“Some people got up and had left which upset Dan. Lots of things went through his mind,” said Biata. Mainly that he was frustrated they couldn’t take the time. “We have choices – freedom to choose – some chose to stay on the plane, and those represent the people that help us with the cause.”

As he watched the young man leave to join his family, Rooney saw a little boy at the gate. He later found out it was Corp. Brock Bucklin’s 4-year-old son.

Rooney told himself, “I’ve got to do something.”

He came from a family of educators, Biata said.

“His dad was a professor at Oklahoma State, and he was a golf teaching professional,” he said. “He got together with his father and they decided to try to get a scholarship for the young son.”

They decided to try it through golf, a sport they both loved.

“His son, Jacob Bucklin, received the first scholarship.”

Then Rooney got anther idea – what if they got all PGA golfers to come on board? He went to a PGA meeting and the idea was received with vigor.

“It went crazy,” he said. “Today we have 4,500 golf courses registered and have raised over $3.9 million in scholarships.”

Concerning the Cape Coral participation, he said his organization commends it.

“It’s very powerful when you add up the courses as well,” he said. “The money does add up, every single dollar counts.”

Coral Oaks Golf Course, located at 1800 N.W. 23rd Ave., Cape Coral, features an 18-hole, Arthur Hills-designed championship course built in a century-old oak hammock, TifEagle greens, one of the largest driving ranges/practice facilities in the area, a well stocked pro-shop and full service restaurant open for breakfast and lunch daily. For more information about Coral Oaks Golf Course including greens fees, membership opportunities, upcoming events and golf instruction, visit CoralOaksGolf.com or to schedule a tee-time up to five days in advance, call the Pro Shop at 573-3100. Online tee times can also be booked online at CoralOaksGolf.com.

“If anyone needs any additional information, call us at the pro shop,” Manguson said.

In other Coral Oaks Golf Course news, Manguson reported, “Ladies Night has just ended on a very successful note, and will start again next May.”

For more information about Patriot Golf Day, visit patriotgolfday.com or to reserve your tee time at Coral Oaks Golf Course (five days in advance) visit CoralOaksGolf.com or call 573-3100.