'World's Largest Golf Outing' a Sporting Spectacle Helping Our Wounded Warriors

Mike DudurichContributor IJuly 31, 2014

Wounded veterans can enjoy the game of golf, too.
Wounded veterans can enjoy the game of golf, too.Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

Over the years, there have been plenty of attempts to set world records.

Some have been silly, some have been noteworthy and some have been downright brilliant.

Put the "World's Largest Golf Outing" in the latter category.

If you haven't heard of it, you surely will, as this event began as an attempt to set a record for the world's largest golf outing but has now turned into something much more and much more important. The fourth edition of the event will be held Aug. 11.

Billy Casper Golf is the largest owner-operator of golf courses, country clubs and resorts in the country, that group totaling 160. The idea came from that company, which in 2011, the event's first year, had 80 facilities participate.

The concept is a simple one: Golfers at courses around the country play an outing on the same day, having fun with friends or family in an attempt to raise money for the most noble of causes, the Wounded Warrior Project.

Because of the uncertain situation that exists around the world today, chances are wounded warriors will continue to be part of our everyday existence. And that explains why the Wounded Warrior Project—the national organization whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors—exists.

Golf great Billy Casper's firm is behind the World's Largest Golf Outing.
Golf great Billy Casper's firm is behind the World's Largest Golf Outing.Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

"We raised $40,000 that first year, and what we learned was how great the sense of patriotism was among the participants," Nick Bednar, a Regional Director of Operations for Billy Casper Golf, said in a telephone interview this week. "We thought we could have been onto something special. It seemed to have a very cool patriotic theme to it."

Since that time, the effort has donated over $1.1 million to the WWP, the largest amount ever by a single-day event.

The injured servicemen and women have responded to this event in a big way, with 70 being part of the outing last year. The mode of the entire day all around the country has become patriotic, with some courses opening play with the singing of the national anthem, some arrange for tanks to be brought to the course and even a flyover.

“I was in the Navy and saw, first-hand, the effects of front-line combat,” Billy Casper, the man who the company was named after, said in a press release. Casper won the Masters and two U.S. Opens in his time as a professional golfer.

“We appeal to you to participate in the World’s Largest Golf Outing to improve the lives of injured service men and women, as well as their families.”

Host golf courses, as well as individual players, compete to raise more money with donations from others. Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, Connecticut, raised $51,449, the most of any course last year.

Celebrities, politicians and teams of father-son wounded warriors participated last year, and more are expected this year.

After raising $725,000 for WWP last year, there are plenty of indications that $1 million can be raised this year, nearly matching the total for the first four years. One hundred 120 courses under the Billy Casper umbrella in 28 states will participate this year.

"There are some courses that are going to double shotguns to accommodate the number of people who are interested in playing," Bednar said. "Courses are setting the goal of having 288 players for the day."

The World's Largest Golf Outing is open to all who wish to participate regardless of ability, and a USGA handicap is not required.

There are a myriad of of great causes to support, most of them very meaningful. The Wounded Warrior Project is at the top of many people's list because, unfortunately, many people are touched by the conflicts that make WWP necessary.

"We think with the success we've had, others are going to try to latch on to this," Bednar said. "We really want to raise $1 million this year."

Players are eligible to win a trip for four to the Nike Campus in Oregon for custom club-fitting and merchandise. The team that raises the most money gets a trip for four to Pinehurst Resort.

For more information or register: www.worldslargestgolfouting.com.