DETROIT – The golfers of the Michigan Section PGA with the help of the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association (DRWAA) raised $60,000 for armed service veterans in the Michigan PGA Red Wings Alumni Game on Sunday at the Belfor Training Center at Little Caesars Arena.
The Michigan PGA and Red Wing Alumni partnership presented $15,000 to PGA HOPE (Helping our Patriots Everywhere), $15,000 to the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and $30,000 to Folds of Honor.
Oh, and the PGA team, 27 golfers on skates, held its own for a while, and even scored the first goal of the game before falling to the Red Wings Alums 10-5.
Darren McCarty, Dino Ciccarelli, Larry Murphy, John Ogrodnick, Ed Mio and Mickey Redmond were among the former Red Wings stars who suited up and entertained.
Vladimir Konstantinov, part of the famous Russian Five that helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997, dropped the puck in the ceremonial start to the game.
The PGA players and their coaches in the game each raised funds for the veterans groups, and several sponsors were brought on board.
George Bowman, the head PGA golf professional at Oakhurst Golf & Country Club in Oakhurst, is also the secretary for the DRWAA and he and current Michigan Section PGA President Dean Kolstad, a former NHL hockey player and Red Wing, led the partnership effort for the game. Kolstad is the director of golf at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort near Kalamazoo.
“I thought it was great and some of our PGA professionals can really skate,” Kevin Helm, executive director of the Michigan Section said. “It was a great event. Golf and hockey worked together really well to help the community and our veterans.”
John Lindert, the current president of the PGA of America and the PGA director of golf at Country Club of Lansing, served as a coach for the Michigan PGA team along with Helm and Doug Bell, general manager at American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven, the celebrated golf course base for Folds of Honor.
Several members of the Michigan PGA squad have collegiate, club and even professional hockey experience like Brandon Scero of Salem Hills Golf Club and Matt Morin of Orchard Lake Country Club, and it showed.
“The Red Wings are still amazing,” said Justin Phillips, the Michigan Section’s tournament director for golf who also played in the game. “Their stick-handling, the way they move on the ice. We gave them a game, but they were just having fun with us.”
ABOUT PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere): The flagship military program of the PGA of America introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Golf Professionals across Michigan volunteer time to introduce veterans to the game of golf and the program is free for veterans. Visit pgavillage.com
ABOUT YELLOW RIBBON: The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) is a DoD-wide effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle. Visit yellowribbon.mil
ABOUT FOLDS OF HONOR: Folds of Honor provides life-changing scholarships to the spouses and children of America’s fallen or disabled military as well as America’s first responders. On our watch, those who protect our freedoms and our families know they are not forgotten. Visit foldsofhonor.org