Golf Becomes a "Maine Priority" in Afghanistan
By Torleif Sorenson on 12/31/13
Staff Sergeant Justin Poirier of the Maine Army National Guard's 133rd Engineer Battalion is currently deployed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. When the native of Waterville, Maine is off-duty, he and several other servicemen and women have been constructing and playing golf on a makeshift 9-hole course. The problem is that when they lose a golf ball, searching for it can be rather dangerous. In fact, they've lost enough balls that they have taken to playing with rocks strewn around the area.
Sgt. Poirier sent a seemingly innocuous e-mail on December 19th to Matt Barnard of Harris Golf, which owns and/or manages nine courses around the state of Maine. In the note, Poirier supposedly only asked Barnard where he and his fellow soldiers might be able to locate and purchase used golf balls and equipment.
Barnard and the staff at Harris Golf decided to take matters into their own hands — and the response may now be snowballing.
As Douglas McIntyre of the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal reported on Monday morning, Barnard and his fellow staffers had collected four complete sets of clubs and stand-bags, including one left-handed set. The company is also preparing to send over nine custom-made flags and flagsticks, two full-size hitting mats, and over 700 golf balls.
"We're essentially shipping them a turnkey golf course. We want them to be able to play, not just to get by."In a quick telephone conversation this afternoon, Barnard told this writer that they sent this "care package" earlier today. The only "complication" was that a phalanx of television news reporters descended on the company to report on Harris Golf's efforts on behalf of the golf-crazy members of the 133rd.
As for golf enthusiasts in Maine, Harris Golf have now created a "Task Force Black Bear Pass," which will be good at one of four Harris Golf-operated courses in 2014. Golfers who purchase a pass not only get to play that course, but the company will donate an additional pass to the men and women of the 133rd when they return from Bagram. The battalion is scheduled to return to Maine in the summer of 2014.
You can read more about this effort, as well as participate in Harris Golf's Task Force Black Bear Program, at this link.
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Image via SunJournal.com
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Where there is life there is golf. Inspirational.
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