GAP donates equipment to soldiers serving abroad - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Oct 19, 2007

GAP donates equipment to soldiers serving abroad

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The Golf Association of Philadelphia is doing its part to help sniff out and destroy land mines in the Middle East through the use of, what else, golf clubs and balls.

  OK, so it’s a strange way to carry out the Association’s mission of preserving, protecting and promoting the game of golf, but it is part of efforts to help our soldiers serving abroad deal with the daily stresses of defending our freedom.

  Through the generosity of the GAP’s members, clubs and local corporations, the Association has paired with Keystone Soldiers to deliver hundreds of donated clubs and thousands of golf balls to those soldiers serving oversees in an effort to keep their spirits up.

  And how do they use they use the golf balls and clubs?

  According to Kyle Lord, the founder of Keystone Soldiers, units create a make shift driving range in which golf balls are struck into a known area that contains land mines. Obviously, upon contact, the mines detonate.

  “[Golf balls] are a perfect way to search for land minds,” said one soldier serving in Iraq to Lord. “The golf clubs and balls are one of the most unique donations we have received and the soldiers are waiting anxiously to get them.”

  Founded in 2002 by Lord, a military mother whose son was deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom, Keystone Soldiers is a Pennsylvania-based support organization for our troops and military families. The organization’s mission is to support the troops through letters, cards and care packages to those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, or where ever America has stationed our defenders of freedom.

  “Our hope is that this donation of clubs will provide a distraction from the daily rigors of serving our country abroad,” said Mark Peterson, Executive Director of the Golf Association of Philadelphia. “Our members have been so generous in donating clubs, balls and bags and donating them to those serving in our armed forces gives us a chance to show our appreciation in our own way.”

  With the first shipment of clubs set to depart for Iraq and Afghanistan within the next two weeks, Lord mentioned that beyond creating a needed, albeit explosive, distraction for the troops, the clubs will also provide a source of friendly competition between the units.

  “We are sending two sets of clubs and two large boxes of balls to each unit,” she said. “This gives them a chance to compete against one another and work on their swing during downtime.”

  And although some units even have their own putting green set up, Lord admits that the main reason for the clubs and balls is to create a diversion for the troops.

  “The soldiers I have spoken to are really excited to get this shipment,” said Lord, a resident of Fleetwood, Pa., who has lived in the suburban Philadelphia area all her life. “It’s simply a distraction for them and we hope to get the bulk of the donation to the units before Christmas.”

  For more information regarding the Keystone Soldiers organization, please visit their Web site at or call them at 610-698-2122.

  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 135 Member Clubs and 60,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

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