By Kevin Heitz
And what made this one seem so unbelievable to most was that it involved a prominent company giving back to the community … and doing so without tooting its own horn.
When we think of wounded veterans coming home from war, golf rarely comes to mind. But thanks to club manufacturer PING, hundreds of war heroes have been given the gift of golf when they thought they would never swing a club again.
PING gives discounts and mail-in rebates to all active or retired military personnel, and has provided clubs to soldiers serving around the world. But for more than 130 wounded heroes (since 2008), PING has taken it a step further -- providing free instruction and a custom-fit set of clubs and, in some cases, a sense of normalcy.
PING supports and participates in the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project, which was created in 2003 and provides free sports programs for severely injured veterans. As the program's Web site says, soldiers suffering from amputations, visual impairments, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and significant damage to nerves or muscles are given "the chance to rebuild their lives through sports."
So, that e-mail about meeting a veteran named Ben Woods on the golf course and learning he is playing with clubs PING provided is true. And the tug-at-your-heartstring line in the story when Ben said he was "determined to learn to play golf well enough to deserve the gift PING had given him," that's true, too -- for Ben and dozens of other wounded veterans.
Good looking out, PING.
More Front Row:
• The Bubba Smith That Few Knew
• Nightmare Journeys: Dreams Come True
• Wounded Warriors Get Boost From PING
• 'Rhythm Boys' Recounts Sporting Struggle
• Frazier's Good Luck Rubs Off On Orioles
• From The Cheap Seats
Issue 164: August 2011